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Case Study

Case Study – Last Planner on Small Projects

At JE Dunn Lean, we seek to maximize collaboration as early in the process as possible to deliver transformational solutions with certainty of results.

We have long used the Last Planner System® for fostering commitments and eliminating waste from the construction phases of our projects. This process determines team needs and commitments in order to deliver each milestone. JE Dunn has been intentional about growing our small projects program. While we use LPS on majority of our projects, we found challenges with our small/quick hitting projects teams finding value in LPS.

Working with an internal Lean Specialist, our teams utilized lean practices to encourage rapid improvements to improve their reliable commitments, trust and workflow on the project. In the end, our project teams have become comfortable with improvements and change, learned how to flex the system, and shared lessons learned with other teams by helping each other think through new possibilities.

Using the Last Planner System® on small projects focuses on bringing all parties together to effectively implement LPS tools in a short period of time. Our small projects teams shared many common practices, by flexing the LPS to work in their favor.

The goal remains the same as when the Last Planner System® is used for construction scheduling: make reliable commitments and eliminate waste.

  1. Understand the importance of flexing the system to provide value to the entire team.
  2. Understand LPS is about the conversations and reliable commitments that are made within the team and not about how the information is documented. Keep it Simple.
  3. Use the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle to make improvements – small improvements/changes = big wins
  4. Find a starting point and make improvements with the input from the whole team (Trade Partners, GC, Owner).
  5. Utilize a lean specialist to help the team setup the baseline and assisted them in problem solving to identify small improvements.
  6. Small projects benefit more from closer analysis of the schedule and more in depth pull planning/daily huddles.
  7. Work with trade partner project managers/supervision to instill lean behaviors at every level of the project within their rank.
  8. Use Daily Stand Ups to keep everyone accountable and ensure commitments do not slip through the cracks.
  9. Understand what your jobsite “office” will look like and get creative with solutions for visual.
  10. Focus on progress over perfection – make sure lean-related goals are right-sized for the scope and scale of the project.

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