Nine Lean Concepts to Improve Project Outcomes


Good is the enemy of Great” – Jim Collins


To expect better outcomes is a poor strategy. “Good enough” stifles creativity and innovation in project delivery. Achieving better outcomes requires a persistent, proactive effort from organizations that want to gain competitive advantage by providing more value to their customers.

Lean Project Delivery (LPD) is a production management‐based approach to project delivery that is applied from concept to start‐of‐operations. It is based on Lean principles and methodologies and is configured for the construction industry.

LPD structures work to maximize value and minimize waste by focusing the delivery team on optimizing the project as a whole. It redefines “control” from a command and control hierarchy that reacts to results based on lagging indicators, to a distributed control through established LPD operating frameworks which guide organizations in optimizing work planning and execution.

Tweet: #Lean Project Delivery means more value, less waste, and never settling for 'good enough' #AEC @3DSAEC @Dassault3DS to tweet: “#Lean Project Delivery means more
value, less waste, and never settling for ‘good enough'”

Guiding Template for Lean Project Delivery

CornerCube Lean Project Delivery Graphic

From a delivery perspective, projects are unique: they are governed by multiple organizations; they need to create a high value physical asset starting from concepts; and their delivery is extremely dependent on an evolving team of participants working together. To successfully deliver a construction project, an operating Framework requires a structure that ensures integrated governance, enables the means to optimize value, and incorporates effective delivery strategies.

A Framework can be purposefully designed to drive value or it can develop ad hoc with less than desired results. An organization’s ability to successfully deliver its capital projects is of strategic importance. LPD improves the operational foundation of the delivery process by adding focus on value creation, reducing waste inherent in the construction industry, and addressing the gaps, conflicts, redundancies between conventional methodologies and production requirements.

Over the past decade, adopting the Lean Project Delivery approach has begun to transform the construction industry by proving its effectiveness in addressing the delivery challenges projects typically face and improving the manner in which the production of capital assets are managed.

Nine Lean Concepts to Improve Project Outcomes

To continuously improve outcomes, project performance, and increase value delivered, LPD embraces the Lean concepts appropriate for the construction industry. They include:

  1. Value from the perspective of the customer – The definition of the customer includes entities both internal and external to the organization. Each customer has his or her own set of requirements that must be considered.
    These customers may be ranked or have priorities and vary among end user customer, the commercial customer, the product customer, the stakeholders, construction managers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and the worker.
    They are customers because their success is intertwined with the success of others; one organization’s actions have direct or indirect consequences to others.
  2. Projects are temporary production systems – Projects are discrete events whose configurations, locations, environmental conditions, etc. are as varied as the combination of organizations, people, processes, and products that come together to deliver it.
  3. Integrate and synchronize to create continuous workflow – working collaboratively as a collective project enterprise requires the elimination of silos which is the source of much variability and waste.
  4. Use “pull” techniques to plan and advance the project – work releasing work reduces the amount of waste caused by fragmentation and re‐The rule is to not start work until constraints have been removed, the work made ready to start, and a request made to begin the work.
  5. Lean principles apply but must respect the complexity and dynamics of capital projects – Information, design, supply chain, and final assembly flows vary for each project.
  6. Optimize the whole, strive for perfection – sub‐optimization for isolated gains of individual organizations or people leads to increased time and cost with lower quality and safety performance.
  7. Collaboration and learning environments are essential – co‐creation of solutions, impeccable coordination, and learning coupled with action leads to better solutions, continuous improvement, team structures, and effective communication.
  8. Projects involve humans interfacing with other humans and systems, recognize that projects are a network of commitments and require increasing relatedness – as humans we are not infallible and leveraging collective knowledge provides significant benefits and creates a supporting environment.
  9. Identify essential value streams and all delivery processes – understanding value streams and the steps in a delivery process leads to greater visibility of the production system that enables improvement to occur

This is an excerpt from the white paper “Lean Construction ‐ Advanced Project Delivery for the AEC Industry” from Dassault Systèmes’ Value Solution Business Partner CornerCube.

CornerCube is a Dassault Systèmes partner located in the San Francisco Bay area, offering Lean construction solutions, 3D technology solutions, and related technical services to the AEC industry.


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Related Resources:

Lean Construction Industry Solution Experience

Lean Construction – Advanced project Delivery for the AEC Industry White Paper

Interview with CornerCube



As head of global marketing for the AEC Industry at Dassault Systèmes, Mr. Moriwaki launches and promotes groundbreaking Industry Solution Experiences including "Optimized Construction," "Façade Design for Fabrication," and "Civil Design for Fabrication." He is a member of buildingSMART.