Constask Lean Construction Consulting and Project Management FAQ

Project Management & Lean Construction Consulting
Frequently Asked Questions


Lean Construction concepts will compliment & accelerate the capability of organizations (Client, Contractor, Sub-Contractor, Vendor or Consultant) to better deliver the Construction Projects. It brings consistency in performance and also enhances the stakeholder satisfaction.

In present scenario, performing organizations easily win projects in the shadow of Brands & Collective wisdom of people, however during the project execution many struggle to maintain client expectations. The project delivery system seems broken & lacks transformation of Promises to Action. The early warnings, initial delays and challenges to achieve initial milestones are suppressed by the optimism and overconfidence in ‘firefightings’ & ‘Jugads’. Even if the projects are completed on time; the stress on the execution people, reduced life of constructed product (building or infrastructure) due to poor execution quality, frustration among end customers because of defects (snags), cost overrun and reduced/ no profit situations remain as a concern for all.

Lean Construction tools & techniques will support organizations to analyze current situation and facilitate them to overcome the project delivery challenges. This helps organizations to improve the Performance, Productivity & Profitability.


Lean Construction is a management concept applicable for Construction Projects. Lean Construction is a “way to design production systems to minimize waste of materials, time, and effort in order to generate the maximum possible amount of value," (Koskela et al. 2002).

Lean Construction is a system, is a strategy, is a culture, is a philosophy, is an approach to manage projects, is adopting Lean thinking from concept to completion, & is a way of working together to establish & achieve Common Project Vision as a Team. It works well during all the phases of projects (Concept, Design/ Engineering, Procurement, Fabrication, Execution, Testing/ Commissioning and Handing Over), in all types of projects (Infrastructure, Real Estate, Interior etc), for all delivery models like, D-B-B, D&B, IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), PPP etc and beneficial for Clients, Consultants, Contractors or any all performing organizations.

The production characteristics of Projects are well taken care by Lean Construction concepts using various tools & techniques to ensure successful completion of projects. Lean Construction enable smooth FLOW of project activities and ensures VALUE delivery at every stage of work by eliminating wastes from Production & Project Management processes. Lean emphasizes on COLLABORATIVELY making ready the inputs required to TRANSFORM the works and achieve project outcome rather than working ‘silo ways’ to achieve independent outputs & goals. Effective engagement of stakeholders in the early stages of project results effective utilization of ‘collective wisdom of people’ & CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVES the work by eliminating ‘repeating mistakes’ which we usually encounter during the course of projects. Lean Construction facilitate to bring reliable & transparent information to all stakeholders.

Last Planner System ®, Value Stream Mapping, 5S, eliminating 7+ 1 Wastes, Target Value Design, Big Room, A3 Reporting, Choose by Advantage etc are some approaches, tools & techniques applied while implementing Lean construction concepts in Construction projects.


Management concepts are simple in nature, highly effective but extremely difficult to 'maintain the traction' without a long-term strategy in place.

Following are the hurdles that hinder the organization’s strategic initiatives to improve the performances of construction projects implementing management concepts. Failing to overcome these hurdles will lead such implementation to be another initiative with low outcome.
  1. Lack of trust & transparency in current system
  2. Management’s intolerance to failures (early)
  3. People's reluctance to share information (fearing the loose of their command & dependability in projects)
  4. Tendency to complicate the project management processes (due to poor understanding of stakeholder expectations)
  5. Inefficient Performance Management System (Rewards & recognition are given based on “firefighting, jugads, & reactive way of solving issues”, than proactive, systematic & structured way of handling the projects.)
  6. Sarcastic involvement of people with Skepticism & Cynicism (Due to poorly implemented previous improvement attempts or no exposure to professional work environment)
  7. Blind action to replicate academic learning as it is or duplicating someone else’s successes or trying to practice case studies out of contest.
  8. Worry about others success than own failure/ success
  9. Failure to integrate strategic engagements (each initiative become a ‘silo’ within organization and people attempt to downgrade other initiatives to show results of theirs! - a cold war like situations)
  10. Fear of failure to correct the System (always inclined to a ‘workable solution’ approach)
The list can be endless. It varies from people to people, organizational environment, as well as the work culture prevailing in the country.
Timely identification of such hindrances (learning from ‘early failures’), will help organizations to redefine their strategy and overcome implementation challenges. This paves a clear road map for people to practice management concepts in a consistent way to reap benefits.

There may be several insiders & outsiders waiting to see the failure of an organisation’s initiatives, that are taken to enhance its performance & delivery of construction projects! Also, Skepticism & Cynicism grows within the team and acts as a bottleneck when the expected benefits are not produced as an outcome of such engagements. So, it’s important for organisations to adopt the right approach to overcome the ‘hurdles that hinder’ the success of any strategic initiatives.

People development, process optimisation and digitalisation of standards plays a major role to maximise the benefits of any strategic initiatives and sustain the improvements. The key aspects such as learning, handholding & mentoring should be focused to make sure that the management skills of our professionals are continuously developed as part of the strategic initiatives to ensure its success.

The approach adopted should give more importance to on-the-job application of concepts (70%), guiding & mentoring the leaders as well as employees, associates through handholding (20%) and educating people on management concepts with continuous learning (10%) for maximum effectiveness.

Adopting the following 5 approaches will ensure that the strategic engagements are successful, beneficial and provides better return on investments (ROI).
  1. Both management & team should have clarity on what to achieve, NOT to worry about what they lose! Adopt DISCUSS- AGREE- DEFINE- MONITOR- REDEFINE approach to set the course of Strategic Initiatives.
    • Have common understanding on ‘problems to solve’& ‘opportunity to improve’
    • Co-create ‘clear objectives’ and ‘detailed plan of action’ during the course of initiatives.

  2. Employees comes with different experience, exposure and level of education; we need to ensure ‘Same Page, Same Fact’ every time. Adopt BASIC -ADVANCED- CHAMPION- PROFESSIONAL levels of education for employees and associated vendors, subcontractors etc to maintain organisations ‘Body of Knowledge’.
    • Ensure all have the same understanding on concepts, processes, outcome & terminologies.
    • Follow learn, unlearn, relearn as a practice.

  3. Reducing the GAP between theory & practice is the key factor to ensure the success of strategic initiatives. Adopt PILOT-VALIDATE-INSTITUTIONALISATION approach for effective implementation of management concepts.
    • ‘Early failures’ are the opportunity to refine the approach & course direction
    • Don’t let team (especially BD& Marketing) to go HIGH on ‘Early success’ to avoid overcommitting to Clients & Management.

  4. Process standardisation yields high performance, same time flexibility & adaptability required to become more productive as well as competitive in present world. Adopt DEFINE-PRACTICE-STANDARDISE- MEASURE- MONITOR- CONTROL- IMPROVE approach while dealing with product & project management processes.
    • Ensure strict implementation of decision taken through deliberation considering the needs & concerns by all
    • Every two hands can bring some ‘insight’, utilise them wisely

  5. Last but NOT least is to ‘give a shoulder’ to those who find challenges & difficulties to get adjusted with initiatives. We need to adopt OBSERVE- EXPOSE- MONITOR approach to identify bottlenecks and resolve root causes of failures.
    • Establish a suitable platform to express & resolve the hurdles that hinder the success
    • Unresolved issues and repeating mistakes dilute the interest of people and demotivate them from performing.
These approaches will increase the success rates of the strategic initiatives adopted to improve performance, productivity & profitability of construction projects.
Strategic initiatives such as implementation of management concepts like Lean Construction, Project Management, Requirement Management, Collaborative Partnering etc will significantly improve the success rate of Construction Projects.