Thursday, August 12, 2010

AGC, Lean Project Delivery and Last Planner System

AGC recently released the white paper "Integrated Project Delivery for Public and Private Owners." Lean Project Delivery is mentioned as a related industry trend. Following is the excerpt from the white paper:

"Lean Project Delivery: Another term often used to refer to a form of Integrated Project Delivery is Lean Project Delivery System ™ (LPDS), a term developed by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). Many of the principles attributed to Lean Project Delivery are similar to those attributed to IPD. In fact, in this era of evolving terminology, many refer to IPD as ―Lean Project Delivery‖ where the application of ―lean thinking‖ and lean principles are applied throughout the project.Followers of IPD treat lean principles along with the resulting efficiencies and elimination of waste as givens. Followers of lean treat collaboration and the use of technologies as givens. In the end, lean and IPD are both striving for the same ultimate outcome, just two different paths to get to the same place: to a project that has been optimized to maximize the value. Whether the project is optimized by applying lean principles first, then IPD principles, or by applying IPD principles, then lean, does not matter. Early adopters of both have shown that the application of both lean and IPD principles is natural and will lead to more successful outcomes.The ideal application of lean begins during the design with the value stream and project schedule mapped by the team. Production of documents proceeds based on the commitments each party makes to the team. This process develops a sense of camaraderie amongst the team that should carry through the construction phase of the project. During construction, the project is scheduled throughout as a team from the milestones developed during the pre-construction phase. Each ―pull-planning session‖ results in a more detailed schedule that clearly and accurately shows all of the activities that must occur prior to or concurrently with the next activity.The key to the increased efficiency of lean is the measurement of adherence to the project schedule. Each party reports on its ability to meet the schedule commitments made the previous week. If commitments are not met, constraints are identified and removed by the team. The power of peer pressure, built on a foundation of mutual respect and understanding over the course of the project is a powerful motivating force for team members to meet commitments. Each party is incented to be the project leader rather than the project laggard in an effort to move the project forward towards successful completion as defined by the value stream."

AGC clearly mentioned the importance of commitments and collaboration resulting from "pull scheduling" and commitment planning (weekly work plans in Last Planner). In other words use of Last Planner System is highlighted as a industry trend enabling integration. I particularly pointed out Last Planner concept mention at AGC's white paper, because I wanted to point out the increasing influence of lean philosophy in the construction industry. Construction industry is talking more and more about lean construction. Leading organizations such as CURT, AGC and magazines such as ENR wrote about lean construction from last couple of years now, apart from International Group of Lean Construction (IGLC), European Group of Lean Construction, and Lean Construction Institute (LCI).