Reforming Project Management: The Role of Lean Construction

Gregory A. Howell1 & Lauri Koskela2

1Director, Lean Construction Institute. Box 1003, Ketchum, Id, 208/726-9989, FAX 707/248-1369, ghowell@micron.net.
2Senior Research Scientist, VTT Building Technology, Concurrent Engineering, P.O.Box 1801, FIN-02044 VTT, Finland, Phone +358 9 4564556, Fax +358 9 4566251, E-mail lauri.koskela@vtt.fi

Abstract

Project management as taught by professional societies and applied in current practice must be reformed because it is inadequate today and its performance will continue to decline as projects become more uncertain, complex and pressed for speed. Project management is failing because of flawed assumptions and idealized theory: it rests on a faulty understanding of the nature or work in projects, and a deficient definition of control. It is argued that a reform of project management will be driven by theories from production management that add the management of workflow and the creation and delivery of value to the current emphasis on activities. Of all the approaches to production management, the theory and principles drawn from Lean Production seem to be best suited for project management. Promising results in this regard have been reached already in one project management area, namely in Lean Construction.

Keywords

Project Management, Lean Production, Theory, Construction

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Reference

Howell, G.A. & Koskela, L. 2000, 'Reforming Project Management: The Role of Lean Construction' In:, 8th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Brigthon, UK, 17-19 Jul 2000.

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