Towards Lean Design Management

Lauri Koskela1, Glenn Ballard2 & Veli-Pekka Tanhuanpää3

1Senior Researcher, VTT Building Technology, Espoo, Finland
2Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Berkeley
3Researcher, VTT Building Technology, Espoo, Finland


The paper forwards the following hypotheses, which are new or previously little treated, in regard to design management: (1) There is an optimal sequence of design tasks. (2) Internal and external uncertainties tend to push the design process away from the optimal sequence. (3) Out-of-sequence design process leads to low productivity, prolonged duration and decreased value of the design solution. (4) It is possible and worthwhile to enforce (through measurements and managerial control) the realization of the optimal or near optimal sequence. These hypotheses are theoretically grounded and empirically justified through results from case studies and experimentations. Associated methods, like the Design Structure Matrix and the Last Planner, are presented.


design management; design structure matrix; short term planning; concurrent engineering



Koskela, L. , Ballard, G. & Tanhuanpää, V. 1997, 'Towards Lean Design Management' In: & Tucker, S.N., 5th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Gold Coast, Australia, 16-17 Jul 1997.

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