Lean thinking principles are fundamentally just good common sense. Unfortunately, it’s an uncommon common sense.

Jim Womack and Dan Jones articulated five principles that were generalized from their study of the Toyota Production System.

Those principles are:

  • Define value from the customer’s perspective and in their language.
  • Organize just those work steps necessary to produce the customer value as a value stream.
  • Make the work flow (uninterrupted) along the value stream.
  • Do the work “at the pull” of the “customer.”
  • Pursue perfection by making today better than yesterday.

The principles apply equally to project-based companies as they do to process-based companies. The primary difference is the work in project-based companies is usually performed by temporary organizations doing one-of-a-kind production.