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People familiar with the Last Planner System think it’s a brilliant way to increase work production reliability on a project. However, more than a few people attempting to implement achieve less than front-page results.

What gives?

You rounded up the team. You put together a great collaborative pull plan, and you meet occasionally to talk about updates to the plan. But, the increased flow and reduced stress associated with a project that is clicking along somehow didn’t materialize.

Well, are you putting in the time in the right places?

It’s easy to focus on the glorious collaborative output that is your pull plan. Just look at it, it is pretty, isn’t it?

What if creating the pull plan was really only a small part of what makes the Last Planner System effective though? Turns out, it is! Take a look at these simple numbers. If you consider a 12 month project with four 3-month phases (meaning you have 4 phase pull plans you’ll need to create), the pull planning part of things is barely 10% of the time you need to devote to making the system work!

The work changes daily, which is why we perform a 15-minute daily huddle. Turns out that is roughly 60% of the time investment! And if you consider all the great day-of coordination that occurs among the trades to keep the work flowing every day, it totally makes sense.

The weekly work plan meetings, where we perform Make Work Ready process, makes up another 30%; which also makes sense. That’s where we take time to identify and remove all the constraints that make us want to pull out our hair. You are handling those RFIs and owner decisions before they blow up the schedule, right?

So, if you’re not getting the results you hoped for, take a look at where you’re spending your time. Spending a little time in the right places on a regular basis will make all the difference! Given the statistics of where you will be spending your time, it makes sense to focus on improving the daily huddles and weekly work plan. There are not the shiniest parts of the LPS but they are parts that can yield the best results. As you continue on your lean journey, it is important to rethink your approach and improve upon it.

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Since joining Construction Accelerator, Andy has coached dozens of different project teams in the Last Planner® System in design and construction, and helps project teams to understand and use Lean tools such as Root Cause Analysis, A3 Thinking and Decision Making, Value Stream Mapping, and Rapid Improvement (Kaizen) Events.