The Daily Huddle is an important part of the Last Planner® System, and plays an important role in supporting workflow reliability. Sometimes people are tempted to forego the Daily Huddle, believing it unnecessary. Common reactions from front line supervisors, whether design project managers or construction superintendents, include:
- “I already know what is happening.”
- “We can’t afford the time to meet every day.”
- “Not enough work happens in a day to warrant a daily huddle.”
These reactions miss the point of the Daily Huddle. The huddle is a brief meeting by groups of interdependent players. The meetings are stand-up and close to the work. The agenda is short, with each participant discussing what commitments they have completed, and what commitments they need help with or cannot deliver. Huddles are completed within fifteen minutes.
In response to the first reaction above, “I already know what is happening,” it is important to understand that the lean respect for people principle guides us to understand the importance of everyone on the project understanding what is happening, especially with work they need for them to fulfill their commitments. This understanding needs to be direct, and not filtered through a central person. The huddle format allows this communication to take place in a practical and timely way.
As for the, “We can’t afford the time to meet every day,” not meeting for fifteen minutes can result in hours of wasted work through the lack of coordination. Those hours of wasted time are what projects truly cannot afford.
While the, “Not enough work happens in a day to warrant a daily huddle,” is less frequent, it is sometimes a concern expressed on smaller projects. Smaller projects are no less susceptible to daily changes, interruptions, and surprises. Smaller projects also normally have shorter schedules and tighter budgets, meaning there is less time to adjust to changes, interruptions, and surprises.
Still not convinced? Give the huddles a chance. Most daily huddle resistors find that once they participate in huddles for a few weeks that the huddles are extremely valuable. Not only do the huddles provide information on needed plan adjustments in a timely manner – they are also important in terms of allowing a project team to become a tighter unit, focused both on performance and having fun.