The Last Planner system has allowed project teams everywhere to apply lean principles to construction activities.

We are often asked if there is a way to apply the Last Planner System to the work of the design team. Responsibility-based Project Delivery (RbPD) is one solution that we’ve found to be very effective.  We developed RbPD in conjunction with a progressive design firm who was looking to translate lean construction project successes to their own design operations. The approach utilizes lean concepts to plan and manage design work, which can be much different from construction activities.

In design work, the progression of steps to complete a given task is often not clear at the start of the work. Instead, each step in the process is informed and affected by previous steps. In this way, tradition pull planning can fail to account for the evolutionary nature of design.

By combining techniques from Agile project management and the Last Planner System, RbPD helps design teams plan their work while accounting for the unique nature of design activities. We develop a work register, conduct daily huddles, and assign work based on current level of priority and individuals’ capacity to complete each task. In this way the RbPD approach leverages the power of the team to effectively plan and manage their work. Teams utilizing RbPD have less rework and higher reliability in their completion dates – resulting is a more effective design phase and a better project.