Lean Construction Journal, Volume 1, issue 1 (October 2004).

Glenn Ballard and Gregory A. Howell 1

1 Glenn Ballard is Research Director and Gregory A. Howell is Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Project and Production Management (dba Lean Construction Institute), gballard@leanconstruction.org, ghowell@leanconstruction.org

The Lean Construction Institute's (LCI) goal is to develop and deploy a new way of thinking about and practicing project management. Projects are conceived as temporary production systems, to be designed in light of the relevant "physics" of the task to be accomplished. It is claimed that complex, quick, and uncertain projects cannot be managed in traditional ways. Detailed CPM schedules, after-the-fact tracking, earned value analysis, and competitive bidding are inadequate to the challenge of today's dynamic projects. There are four roots of this Lean Construction approach: success of the Toyota Production System, dissatisfaction with project performance, efforts to establish project management on a theoretical foundation, and the discovery of facts anomalous (impossible to explain) from the perspective of traditional thinking and practice. The last of these four is explored in this paper, which presents the current state of construction management thinking as one of conflict between competing paradigms.


Construction management, flow, lean construction, paradigm, production system, project management, theory, value, variability, work flow, work flow variability, work structuring.

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