Lean Construction Principles: 6 Key Ways of Thinking

LCI Tenets

Tenets of Lean

As the only U.S. association whose primary focus is to promote the use of Lean tools and techniques across all AEC projects, our tenets of Lean construction and Lean methods in design seek to develop and manage a project through relationships, shared knowledge and common goals. Through these tenets, traditional silos of knowledge, work and effort are broken down and reorganized for the betterment of the project rather than of individual participants.

6 Tenets of Lean

Respect for People

This is at the center of the circle because it is the bedrock concept behind Lean. In any organization or team - be it in our industry or in any aspect of daily life - if you don’t respect and trust the people you are working with, it is next to impossible to realize the true value of what you are trying to accomplish for your stakeholders. LCI helps organizations with exercises and training to encourage respect and trust amongst all team members so they are able to implement all Lean practices effectively.

Optimize the Whole

In traditional project practice, crews and teams want to get in, get their work done and move on. We encourage people to not just think about optimizing their performance or piece of the project, but about what happens both before and after. Only then can they begin to de-conflict activities and create more collaborative, effective work practices.

Eliminate Waste

If you’ve been a part of an environment that produces a lot of waste, over time you take it for granted and don’t even see it anymore. Waste greatly affects performance and is disrespectful to the owners and other key stakeholders. We help people to see waste. We have identified eight types of waste that impact projects and educate on ways to work as a team to eliminate them and create value.

Focus on Flow

Projects are made up of a variety of processes happening in tandem. When those processes are disrupted for whatever reason, teams get in each other’s way, make each other wait, or create other constraints on site. LCI teaches a relentless focus on enhanced flow and the making and keeping of reliable promises between all people on a project.

Generate Value

If workers on a project don’t understand what value means from the standpoint of the owner or other key stakeholders, they aren’t able to effectively add value. Lean thinking and processes require the mapping of the value proposition of a project and then make it widely available, in written form, on the job site. Then all team members can consistently check themselves against it to ensure they are adding, not impeding, value.

Continuous Improvement

Lean encourages teams to come together to create a log of constraints that are limiting or blocking productivity on a project. We analyze the constraints and then implement the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check and Adjust) to address them. Focusing on eliminating our constraints leads to a more productive project environment over time as well as simultaneously enabling all the other tenets of Lean.

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