Beyond Last Planner

Many A/E/C industry companies begin their lean journey by implementing the Last Planner® System on projects. That is a good start, as properly implemented the Last Planner can stabilize workflow, both in the design office and in the field.

And it is only a start. If all a company is doing is using Last Planner, then it is missing an opportunity to leverage a full range of lean practices.

Some of these practices are well known to the industry and utilized in corners of the lean and design world. Example practices include are Target Value Delivery, integrated forms of agreement, small batch balanced work design, 5-Why root cause analysis, and Choosing by Advantages decision-making.

Other practices are common in the broader lean community and yet relatively rare in design and construction. Examples include standardized work, statistical process control, tiered huddles, daily coaching, A3 problem solving, and enterprise policy deployment.

Beyond the practices, vital to a thriving, lasting lean enterprise at both the organization and project level is strong sense of purpose connected to the identity and values of the people in the enterprise. We’re starting to learn now how vitally important this connection is. If you are struggling with buy-in and acceptance of lean, you need to address this concern.

So if you have started your lean transformation with Last Planner, congratulations. You have started an exciting journey. Don’t stop before the excitement really begins.


I agree with you but with one exception. You do not mention beginning the Lean management of a project with Conditions of Satisfaction(CoS) . I am finding that many teams do not recognize who comprise ALL the stakeholders and thus fail to address their concerns and expectations for a good project outcome. Then later the project encounters constraints which should have been addressed much sooner.RESULT: unanticpated delays and costs, bruised feelings,quality issues,etc etc..

Let’s talk if you want to discuss some of my personal experiences with CoS failures.

Hi Blase, great to hear from you. Agreeing the Conditions of Satisfaction are an important element of the coordination of work, I didn’t address it specifically as when working with clients we explain and coach Conditions of Satisfaction and the and the Language-Action Workflow Loop as an integral part of the Last Planner conversations. The Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL) Process Benchmark for the Last Planner System does a good job of explaining this relationship.

To your point, many people do overlook the importance of the entire Workflow Loop and the role Conditions of Satisfaction plays within for understanding commitments at all levels – project goals, milestone targets, weekly commitments and daily adjustments.

Yes, let’s talk. It’s been too long, and will be great to catch up.

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