The Theory of Project Management: Explanation to Novel Methods

Lauri Koskela1 & Greg Howell2

1Senior Researcher, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, P.O.Box 1800, FIN-02044 VTT, Finland, Phone +358 9 4564556, Fax +358 9 4566251, E-mail [email protected]
2Director, Lean Construction Institute. Box 1003, Ketchum, Id. 83340, U.S.A., Phone 208/726-9989, Fax 707/248-1369, e-mail [email protected]


In a series of prior papers, the authors have explored the theoretical foundation of project management. In this paper, this theoretical foundation is consolidated and used for explaining the novel features of two project management methods, which radically deviate from the conventional doctrine of project management: Last Planner and Scrum. Both methods have emerged since mid-nineties as practical responses to the failure of conventional project management methods, Scrum in the field of software projects, Last Planner in the field of construction projects. It is shown that both methods reject the underlying theoretical foundation of conventional project management and instead subscribe, implicitly or explicitly, to alternative theories, which better match the situation in question.


Project management, lean construction, agile programming, theory



Koskela, L. & Howell, G. 2002. The Theory of Project Management: Explanation to Novel Methods, 10th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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