Introducing a proactive and collaborative management practice

Target Value Delivery (TVD) is a management practice that views the client’s values and constraints as an input to design aiming to minimise waste and maximise value [1]. In comparison to common design practice, TVD is a proactive approach that requires the following shift in paradigm [2]:

  • Designing based on a detailed estimate instead of estimating the cost of design
  • Designing for constructibility as an alternative to evaluating the constructibility of design
  • Creating sets of solutions far into the design process instead of restraining alternatives to proceed with the design
  • Collaborating and working together to define issues, rather than designing in isolation and then coming together for group reviews

TVD views design as a social activity and designing in isolation from others a waste of countless possible contributions [2]. It bridges the communication and collaboration gap between design and construction by offering the designers the opportunity to have conversations with the contractors and trade partners [3].

In this blog I will explain how to use visual methods in TVD workshops to create a setting for collaboration, promote the right mindset and enhance communication between multidisciplinary teams of client representatives, designers and trade partners.

Finding a common language and facilitating collaboration

Studies on the power of visual communication suggest that the human brain is quicker in understanding and processing visual illustrations than writings and spoken language [4]. Visualisation supports and utilises the full potential of a team’s know-how [5]. When it comes to construction design, two different types of visual means are usually applied; visual representations and visual planning.

The former is a type of visualisation that improves communication and promotes shared understanding [7]. Some examples are 2D and 3D drawings and BIM models [8]. On the other hand, visual planning helps teams to visualise their processes, needs and deliverables, hence promotes collaborative project planning [9].

When the needs and deliverables are visualised, questions are raised early in the process enabling multidisciplinary teams to solve a problem in accordance with client’s values and constraints [10]. By using visual representations and visual planning methods, Lean facilitators can support TVD teams to create a common understanding about values and targets and collaboratively steer the design and construction towards achieving them.

Value definition workshops

Value is subjective. For some it is strictly cost. Some are interested in lowering their total cost of ownership, while others want an iconic design and a flexible open office for new generations. Moreover, there are two rather contrary views on who defines value; those of end-users’ and those of the investors.

Whatever the value may be, the aim is to ensure its common understanding amongst the project team. This can be facilitated by having workshops with the client and end-user representatives to create a dialogue about values and conditions of satisfaction (CoS). Values are aspiring goals, whereas CoS enable the teams to understand the “must have criteria” to achieve these goals. In addition, these criteria can be measured and tracked as objectively as possible. For instance, if one of the values is to construct an environmentally friendly and sustainable office building, it’s respective CoS would be a LEED Platinum certification. This can then be translated into the requirements for each building system.

The values and their respective CoS are not just defined at the beginning of the project and forgotten down the line but are always visually presented in the colocation room and used as decision-making criteria in the project (Figure 2.1.1). These values become the DNA of the project.

Multidisciplinary value engineering workshops

How can we make sure we do not sacrifice functionality, while we focus on optimising the costs? Using proactive value engineering techniques, the participants can collaboratively find ways to optimise the design. Multidisciplinary teams of designers and trade partners participate in workshops and analyse a certain building system in terms of its functions and induced costs. The functions that offer less value for the client but have high incurring costs are identified and improved. It is the responsibility of the whole team to analyse cost-reduction ideas. When a team member comes up with an idea, they might not be aware of the bigger picture, how their idea will affect other building systems. Therefore, the dialog between designers and trade partners ensures a holistic approach to improving a building system by looking at its interfaces with other systems and induced effects.

Sprint planning workshops

In TVD multidisciplinary and agile teams come together to collaboratively plan processes and deliverables. First, the product goal is defined by looking at the outcome of each design milestone. It is crucial that there is a common understanding of the product goal in terms of quality and quantity. To achieve the product goal the client representatives, designers and trade partners map the product backlog by visually planning their processes, needs and deliverables. In weekly or bi-weekly sprint planning workshops the team discuss the work done and possible bottlenecks and plan and prioritise their work for the upcoming sprint. The regular retrospective sessions enable the teams to reflect on their teamwork and continuously improve it.


TVD offers a new way of doing projects by focusing on customer value and collaborative methods to steer design and construction towards achieving those values. It is however a fairly new practice in the construction industry, especially in Germany. The industry has been long accustomed to silo thinking and optimising a piece rather than the whole. The mentioned workshops facilitate collaboration, a principle that TVD is based on, but is not yet a common practice in the industry. The mentioned methods encourage the right mindset for TVD and setting for collaboration.

Value definition workshops enable the client and end-user representatives to define and communicate their values and respective CoS with the rest of the team. The multidisciplinary value engineering workshops create a setting for the teams to brainstorm ways to optimise costs without sacrificing functionality. Finally, the sprint planning workshops provide the teams with a platform to visually communicate their needs and deliverables and promote collaborative project planning.


1. BALLARD, G. (2011). Target Value Design: Current Benchmark (1.0). Lean Construction Journal, 2011 Issue, pp. 79-84.
2. MACOMBER, H. HOWELL, G. and BARBERIO, J. (2012). Target Value Design: Nine Foundational Practices for Delivering Surprising Client Value. [online]. Available at: 14-lci-chicago-tvd-lpc.pdf.[Accessed 4th May 2016].
3. GREIF, M. (1991). The Visual Factory. New York: Productive Press.
4. NICOLINI, D. (2007). Studying Visual Practices in Construction. Building Research & Information. Building Research & Information, 35(5), pp. 576-580.
5. TJELLA, J. and BOSCH-SIJTSEMA, P. M. (2015). Visual Management in Mid-sized Construction Design Projects. 8th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and 6. Organization. Gothenburg, 28-29 May, pp. 193-200.
6. HENDERSON, K. (2007). Achieving Legitimacy: Visual Discourses in Engineering Design and Green Building Code Development. Building Research & Information, 35(1), pp. 6-17.
7. BALLARD, G. (1999). Can Pull Techniques Be Used in Design Management.Conference on Concurrent Engineering. Helsinki, 26-27 August, pp. 1-18.

add one

Mehrnoush Nayebi is a Lean expert with a background in civil engineering and project management and is also a university lecturer at the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences. She is a firm believer of “Lean Mindset” and is passionate about Lean Transformation with focus on IPD and TVD.