Standard Work From a Lean Theory Perspective

Peter P. Feng1 & Glenn Ballard2

1PhD Candidate, Civil and Env. Engineering. Department, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, Phone +1 510/292-9786, FAX 510/278-8521, [email protected]
2Research Director, Project Production Systems Laboratory and Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, Phone +1 510/643-8678, FAX 510/643-8919, [email protected]


This paper presents a proof of concept that standard work procedures as prescribed by lean theory can be implemented within a concrete construction company. Standard work procedures and knowledge transfer utilizing the ā€œJā€ programs as prescribed by Training Within Industry and lean theory can and does reduce variability in construction processes. Variability in work processes increases the probability of breakdowns (any deviation from an expected outcome), errors and negative iteration which leads to schedule and cost overruns. Standardizing work methods reduces the probability of breakdowns, thereby improving work flow, providing a basis for learning from what breakdowns do occur, and providing a basis for experimentation with alternative work method designs. Exploratory research with work standardization in a concrete construction division is presented, including the cultural and organizational issues that were overcome to change the current paradigm. Two findings from this research are: 1) obtained a better understanding of what standard work procedures are and how they differ from preconceived notions, and 2) development of standard work procedures to create a baseline for continuous improvement. Practitioners can use this research to understand how to analyze processes, improve them and transfer critical knowledge.


rework, tfv, training within industry, standard work



Feng, P. P. & Ballard, G. 2008. Standard Work From a Lean Theory Perspective, 16th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 703-712.

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