Sensemaking of Guiding Principles in Construction Projects

John Skaar1

1 Assistant Professor/Ph.D. Student, Faculty of Engineering and Science, Department of Engineering Sciences, University of Agder, N-4846 Grimstad, Norway, [email protected], 2290-2374


Processes and operations can be supported, improved, or scrutinized as an active response to guiding principles that challenge the status quo. When it comes to the subject of complexity vs simplicity the principles can contradict each other, and even flow tends to work towards simplicity while value generation adds complexity. By addressing the importance of awareness of their counter effects they can be used with care and gain even larger value as a result. Done in ignorance their use might create chaos, project loss, or production failure. The sensemaking tool, Cynefin, is used together with some core principles of lean to illustrate and explain the intent of the paper. A fundamental difference in viewpoint of a project's nature is addressed since the right sensemaking of appropriate domain in Cynefin is important for the right use of lean principles. A discussion on a fundamentally different understanding of the phenomenon of projects adds to the ontological training urged by other IGLC members. This paper argues that projects are fundamentally unpredictable and hence should be more often sensed in the complex domain, rather than in the complicated or simple domain.


Simplicity, complexity, transformation-flow-value, continuous improvement, Cynefin.



Skaar, J. 2022. Sensemaking of Guiding Principles in Construction Projects, Proc. 30th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) , 772-783.

Download: BibTeX | RIS Format