About P2SL

About the Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL) at UC Berkeley

McLaughlin Hall, Berkeley Engineering
McLaughlin Hall, Berkeley Engineering

The Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL) at UC Berkeley is a research institute dedicated to developing and deploying knowledge and tools for project management. Professor Iris Tommelein directs P2SL and Dr. Glenn Ballard is a research associate.

We invite companies worldwide, and especially those involved in the Northern California construction industry, to team up with P2SL staff and students, and use our resources to advance the theory as well as the implementation of the lean construction philosophy, principles, and methods in the industry, its companies, and its projects. Together we are and will be exceptionally well equipped to advance and deepen understanding of how to deliver lean projects. All members of the industry are invited to become contributors and to participate in the Laboratory: owners, regulators, architects, engineers, contractors, unions, suppliers, insurers, financiers, etc.

Mission Statement

Projects are temporary production systems. P2SL is dedicated to developing and deploying knowledge and tools for the management of project production systems and the management of organizations that produce and deliver goods and services through such systems. Project production systems include for example construction, product development, software engineering, air and sea ship building, work order systems, job shops, performing arts productions, oil field development, and health care delivery.

The Laboratory is a research unit at the University of California, Berkeley, housed under the umbrella of the the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, CITRIS.

Theoretical Background


Inspired by the accomplishments of the Toyota Production System and its applications in and beyond manufacturing under the flag of ‘lean production,’ P2SL has chosen to focus on lean delivery of custom products. Custom products (goods or services) are designed, made, and delivered through projects. Even products intended for mass production are initially designed and made through projects (called new product development projects). Consequently, the project is arguably the most fundamental form of production system. However, the development of production theory was historically driven by the challenges and opportunities of repetitive manufacturing, from which perspective projects are oddball, peripheral forms of production. Further, project management has been developed in isolation from production theory altogether.

Understanding through experimentation how to effectively design, execute, and systematically improve the performance of projects is the mission of P2SL. Successful pursuit of this mission promises enormous benefits for society.

P2SL Structure

P2SL researchers conduct contract research for entities such as the National Science Foundation and the Construction Industry Institute. In addition, P2SL organizes research and education around a number of different initiatives under the umbrella of the various types of project production system.

For example, a Northern California Construction Industry initiative has been launched with a number of industry partners, with the objective of functioning as a learning laboratory as the industry embraces lean production and the challenge of adapting its concepts and techniques to the Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC) domain.

P2SL Intellectual Property Policy

P2SL does not intend to retain any rights to intellectual property produced through its research, but rather to make all research findings and products available, first to its industry members and research collaborators, then (after some time) to the general public.