Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness


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How Continuous Improvement Can Benefit Your Business | Kanbanize Blog

I had reached a plateau. As both a PM and Superintendent on the Big Dig, I had struggled to figure out why some actions improved project performance and others made no dent in the chaos. All of a sudden, to get better results on any project, I had a lever I could focus on moving. In an office, organizing the available resources and securing reliable commitments in the daily business is important. Especially in companies with different projects, an easy understandable overview of the resources allocation of the weekly work plan and the lookahead is very important.

In our office we had a hard time organizing the team members that work on different projects away from the office. In some cases a team member becomes unavailable at short notice or there are changes in the projects which affect the allocation of staff. Before I retired from Intel Corporation, I was often asked what data we used to select our contracting methodology or our project delivery approach. Like many large companies, too often we used a poor recent project as a reason to try yet another approach versus having a set of objective data from which to draw upon.

When I first joined the Lean Construction Institute board, I heard that same question asked time and time again with little real hard evidence. There was many good subjective stories and projects that were utilizing lean construction practices, and many had very encouraging results. But again, almost all owners I spent time with needed some hard data to prove to their companies that they were following best practices. Has it happened to you yet? As a consultant, I have spent many years working on a complex problem: how can we make our organizations more successful, more effective, and better places to spend the huge percentage of our time that constitutes our work life?

If three people washed up on a deserted island, the first thing they would do is collaboratively build a shelter. Then, they would have to wait for two lawyers to wash up on the beach so that they could proceed with the project. The challenge is how to get the most value in the shortest time during a pull planning session. The authors of this blog have led and coached over pull planning sessions in the last few years, co-authored a book on the subject, and led dozens of training sessions and webinars. People commit to Lean because it promises results; organizations sustain that commitment.

There is no Lean without Lean results: reduced waste; focused value, and streamlined flow.

From Lean Production to the Lean Enterprise

For those designing and constructing capital projects — there is no Lean without Project Delivery results: increased profit, increased client satisfaction, and increased speed. Events that in some way influenced the thinking behind the Last Planner include the collaborative leadership style of a military officer in southeast Asia, the priorities of a chicken rancher, and the influence of the Total Quality Management movement.

How To Get Lean Without Tracking Macros or "Dieting" (Science Explained)

This post is the 2nd of a 3 part series looking at Integrated Project Delivery. To maximize the value of the contract structure, teams require a new work philosophy focused on efficiency and reliability. A Lean Operating System delivers customer value, through streamlined processes practicing continuous improvement.

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My point to the folks was that only as an integrated team could we achieve the aggressive objectives set for this project. I used the example of the USA Olympic basketball team for what could happen if we didn't integrate. At the heart of most lean processes is the drive to reduce waste and increase reliability. The Last Planner System is no different. Over the last few years, construction teams have been able to utilize the The Last Planner System to reduce waste in terms of scheduling, production, and quality control, with a relatively high level of success.

In many parts of the World, contracting can seem like the modern-day equivalent of a Roman gladiatorial battle, where a single project cost blow-out can end a promising political career or bankrupt a once profitable company. Properly executing the look ahead planning portion of The Last Planner System can ensure your project team is set up for success. The goal is for the team to identify constraints, assign responsibility, and commit to resolving them prior to the constraint impacting the activity.

This article will offer helpful tips to get the most out of your look ahead planning sessions. The 5 Whys is a management concept that has been popularized by Toyota [1]. The concept is simple - when you encounter a problem, ask why at least 5 times until you understand the root cause. Only by addressing the root cause can you truly resolve the issue and ensure that it will never occur again.

The Three Needs

Integrated Project Delivery IPD is gaining popularity among owners, contractors, and design teams as a means to unlock creativity, drive reliability, and successfully deliver complex capital projects. This series will explore Integrated Project Delivery as a contract form, a lean operating system and as a transformational culture.

Lean project delivery has entered the mainstream of construction, yet Lean adoption lags among design professionals. Architects and engineers who transformed the industry by first pioneering sustainable design and later the use of Building Information Modeling BIM remain spectators while trade partners, construction managers, and some owners embrace Lean. As more owners expect and demand Lean, the hearts and minds of design professionals will soon follow.

Change is difficult.

I always start the training of new Lean Practitioners with a general warning. They risk to be constantly frustrated after being trained as Lean Practitioners.


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If they do not think they can handle it they should leave the training immediately. This is partly a gimmick to get their attention but it is also true that if you are working as a Lean Practitioners you risk being constantly frustrated. To clarify this I divide the personal development as a new lean practitioner into four general development phases: 1 Scepticism, 2 Excitement, 3 Frustration and 4 Optimism. Maintenance is defined as a combination of technical, administrative, and management activities throughout the product life cycle [1].

This is done to ensure that the product keeps functioning smoothly and achieves its full life cycle. Corrective maintenance happens after a breakdown or failure while preventive maintenance also known as regular maintenance is designed to be proactive. In simplistic terms, Lean Maintenance is doing the maintenance in the most effective and efficient manner which creates the greatest value for the end asset user. However, especially in a design phase with several participants who are located far away from each other, analog systems can be uneconomical.

This was the biggest challenge during the implementation of a Lean Project Delivery System for the design phase of a residential home with about apartments. The design team consisted of four organizations, two located in Germany, one in Austria, and another in Poland.

Due to a tight budget, co-location was not an option. Takt time planning is a great tool for aligning crews and creating flow on site. One of the reasons for using takt time is not only to create flow, but also help pinpoint where the bottleneck is on site. There's a revolution happening. Great projects are Lean — yet the majority of Lean initiatives fail. Lean is generally misunderstood to be about the tools we use rather than the people at the place where they work. Many Lean initiatives fail not because of the accessibility to Lean tools, but because leadership is unavailable when it is needed most.

The leadership required to bring about and maintain such a tectonic shift seems scarce and difficult to develop. By using the following tips, a team is more likely to efficiently and effectively use the 5 levels of the LPS. Slipping back to old behaviours and routines regularly happens. Have you ever thought about adding to your perspective on Lean and your Lean practices in design and construction?

Most of what we understand about Lean is based on observations made by people with an engineering and scientific perspective on work. This way of looking at work has been extremely valuable, and still there is a sense that Lean may be missing something if it is to become more fully practiced. A recent workshop exploring the arts perspective of Lean was a first step in expanding our understanding of Lean and how to best help others see the value in the Lean approach to work.

Although I have been studying and introducing Lean Construction for some years, even now people who know the term "Lean Construction" seem to be less than 50 in number inside Japan. Outside Japan there is not so much information about the Japanese state of Lean Construction, which this contribution is aimed at presenting. In the first post of this series I argued that when stakeholders do not agree on the problem, they probably will not agree on the solution.

In this second post suggestions to address the three root causes are offered. As a trainer and consultant of Lean Construction, I have always been passionate about the human side of Lean. I have been observing the behaviour of people in a lot of companies regarding the cultural changes that comes with implementing Lean.

Based on my own experiences, I have compiled 5 key ideas that make companies be more successful in implementing Lean. The system was designed and developed through action research by Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell in the early s 2.


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  6. Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness
    Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness
    Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness
    Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness
    Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness
    Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness Becoming Lean: Practical Steps to Build Competitiveness

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