The six tenets of lean

By embracing these six tenets, LEAN construction transforms traditional construction practices into a more efficient, collaborative, and value-driven approach, leading to improved project outcomes, increased customer satisfaction, and enhanced industry performance.

The tenets defined

The Lean construction tenet of “Finding Value from the Customer’s Perspective” is a crucial principle that guides the approach and decision-making process in construction projects. It emphasizes the importance of understanding and aligning with the needs, preferences, and expectations of the customer or end-user.

In Lean construction, value is defined by the customer and is determined by what they perceive as beneficial. This tenet encourages construction teams to actively engage with customers, involve them in the planning and decision-making processes, and prioritize their requirements throughout the project lifecycle.

By focusing on finding value from the customer’s perspective, Lean construction enables teams to deliver outcomes that truly meet the customer’s needs. It involves identifying and prioritizing the aspects of a project that directly contribute to the customer’s satisfaction, whether it be functionality, quality, aesthetics, or any other factors that hold significance to them.

This tenet requires active listening, effective communication, and ongoing collaboration with the customer to gain a deep understanding of their expectations and desired outcomes. By integrating the customer’s perspective into the project’s goals and objectives, Lean construction ensures that the final result not only meets technical specifications but also satisfies the customer’s vision and aspirations.

Ultimately, embracing the tenet of finding value from the customer’s perspective leads to increased customer satisfaction, enhanced project success, and the creation of long-lasting relationships based on trust and understanding. By aligning the project’s goals with the customer’s values and desires, Lean construction brings a customer-centric focus that ultimately drives project excellence.

The Lean construction tenet of “Deliver the Value Stream” highlights the importance of optimizing the flow of activities and resources throughout the construction process to ensure the timely delivery of value to the customer. It focuses on eliminating waste, reducing inefficiencies, and maximizing the overall project flow.

In Lean construction, the value stream represents the sequence of activities required to transform raw materials, information, and effort into a final product or service that meets the customer’s needs. This tenet emphasizes the need to streamline this flow by identifying and eliminating any non-value-adding activities or bottlenecks that hinder the smooth progression of work.

By mapping out the value stream and analyzing the sequence of tasks, handoffs, and processes involved, Lean construction aims to identify opportunities for improvement. The goal is to reduce or eliminate any delays, rework, or unnecessary steps that do not contribute directly to value creation. This can involve optimizing the sequencing of activities, improving communication and coordination between project stakeholders, and implementing efficient work methods and technologies.

Through a collaborative approach, Lean construction encourages teams to work together to visualize and improve the flow of work, materials, and information. By promoting effective communication, setting clear expectations, and fostering a culture of accountability, the value stream can be optimized to deliver value to the customer in the most efficient and effective manner.

By embracing the tenet of delivering the value stream, Lean construction seeks to minimize waste, increase productivity, shorten project durations, and enhance overall project performance. By focusing on optimizing the flow of activities, Lean construction enables construction teams to deliver value to the customer in a timely and efficient manner, ultimately leading to greater customer satisfaction and project success.

The Lean construction tenet of “Eliminate Waste” forms a cornerstone of Lean principles and practices. It emphasizes the identification and elimination of waste in all its forms throughout the construction process. By reducing waste, Lean construction aims to optimize resources, improve efficiency, and increase value for the customer.

Waste, in the context of Lean construction, refers to any activity, process, or resource that does not add value to the final product or service. It includes elements such as excess inventory, overproduction, waiting time, transportation inefficiencies, unnecessary movement, defects, and unused talent or skills.

The goal of eliminating waste is to streamline operations, minimize costs, and enhance project outcomes. By critically evaluating each step of the construction process, Lean construction practitioners can identify and remove activities that do not contribute to the end product’s quality or customer satisfaction.

Lean construction encourages a proactive approach to waste elimination, involving the entire project team in identifying and addressing waste. It promotes a culture of continuous improvement, empowering team members to seek better ways of working and to challenge traditional practices that generate waste.

Through various Lean techniques and tools, such as value stream mapping, 5S methodology, and Kaizen events, construction teams can systematically identify waste and implement strategies to eliminate or mitigate its impact. By doing so, they can improve project schedules, reduce costs, enhance safety, and increase the overall efficiency of construction operations.

By embracing the tenet of eliminating waste, Lean construction not only strives for economic benefits but also focuses on environmental sustainability and resource optimization. It fosters a mindset of efficiency, innovation, and resourcefulness, leading to more successful projects, satisfied customers, and a healthier construction industry as a whole


The Lean construction tenet of “The Flow of Work Process” emphasizes the importance of creating a smooth and uninterrupted flow of work throughout the construction process. It focuses on eliminating bottlenecks, minimizing disruptions, and optimizing the sequence of activities to maximize efficiency and productivity.

In Lean construction, the flow of work process involves the systematic movement of materials, information, and resources from one stage to another in a coordinated manner. The goal is to create a streamlined workflow that minimizes delays, rework, and waiting time, ultimately enabling projects to be completed in a timely manner.

This tenet recognizes that interruptions or disruptions in the flow of work can lead to inefficiencies, increased costs, and project delays. It encourages construction teams to identify and address any factors that impede the smooth progression of work, such as poor communication, inefficient processes, or inadequate resource allocation.

By optimizing the flow of work, Lean construction helps to improve coordination between project stakeholders, eliminate unnecessary handoffs, and reduce waste. It promotes a collaborative approach where team members work together to ensure that work flows smoothly from one task to another, avoiding unnecessary idle time or rework.

To enhance the flow of work process, Lean construction practitioners may employ tools and techniques such as visual management, pull planning, and Last Planner System (LPS). These approaches facilitate better communication, enable real-time problem-solving, and promote proactive decision-making to maintain a steady flow of work.

By embracing the tenet of the flow of work process, Lean construction aims to increase productivity, enhance project predictability, and deliver value to the customer through efficient project execution. It underscores the importance of seamless coordination and continuous improvement to achieve better project outcomes.


The Lean construction tenet of “Pull Planning” is a collaborative approach that aims to improve project efficiency and coordination by aligning work activities based on actual demand. It emphasizes the involvement of all project stakeholders in the planning process, fostering transparency, communication, and shared responsibility.

In traditional construction planning, work activities are often pushed forward based on predetermined schedules and imposed timelines. However, pull planning flips this approach by focusing on the actual needs of the project and pulling work as it is required. This method helps to reduce waste, minimize delays, and optimize the flow of work.

Pull planning involves bringing together project team members, including owners, designers, contractors, and subcontractors, to collectively plan and sequence work activities. Through collaborative sessions and discussions, stakeholders share information, dependencies, and constraints to develop a realistic and feasible plan.

The key principle of pull planning is to work backward from the project completion date, identifying the critical milestones and the necessary activities to achieve them. This approach ensures that work is initiated based on the actual demand and readiness, rather than pushing activities without considering the constraints and dependencies.

Pull planning visualizes the workflow using tools like sticky notes or digital boards, allowing teams to see the sequence of work and identify potential clashes or bottlenecks. It enables effective communication, coordination, and problem-solving, as team members can collectively address any challenges that may arise.

By involving all stakeholders in the planning process, pull planning promotes a sense of shared ownership and accountability for project success. It encourages a collaborative mindset, fostering trust and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

By embracing the tenet of pull planning, Lean construction aims to enhance project predictability, improve coordination, and optimize resource utilization. It helps to align work activities with actual demand, resulting in improved efficiency, reduced waste, and ultimately, better project outcomes.


The Lean construction tenet of “Continuous Improvement” lies at the heart of Lean principles and practices. It emphasizes the ongoing pursuit of excellence through incremental enhancements, learning, and innovation in all aspects of construction projects.

Continuous improvement, also known as Kaizen, encourages construction teams to seek better ways of doing things, challenge the status quo, and continuously refine their processes. It involves fostering a culture of learning, adaptability, and problem-solving to drive positive change and maximize project performance.

In Lean construction, the focus is not only on completing individual projects successfully but also on continuously improving overall project delivery. This tenet acknowledges that there is always room for improvement and that small, incremental changes can lead to significant advancements in efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction.

Continuous improvement involves several key elements. It starts with collecting data and analyzing project performance to identify areas for improvement. This can include metrics such as schedule adherence, budget variance, rework rates, or customer feedback. Based on this analysis, construction teams can prioritize improvement opportunities and set specific goals.

Lean construction encourages the use of various improvement methodologies and tools, such as Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycles, value stream mapping, root cause analysis, and feedback loops. These approaches enable teams to experiment, implement changes, measure the impact, and adjust accordingly.

Moreover, continuous improvement requires a collaborative and inclusive approach. It involves engaging all project stakeholders, including owners, designers, contractors, and subcontractors, to contribute their insights and expertise. By fostering a learning environment, construction teams can leverage diverse perspectives and knowledge to drive innovation and improvement.

The tenet of continuous improvement recognizes that improvement is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey. It promotes a mindset of questioning the status quo, challenging assumptions, and encouraging experimentation. Through continuous improvement, Lean construction enables construction teams to adapt to changing project requirements, improve efficiency, and deliver better value to the customer.

By embracing the tenet of continuous improvement, construction projects can achieve higher levels of performance, foster innovation, and continually raise the bar for excellence in the industry.


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