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My first contact with Lean Construction happened back in 2008, through the implementation of the Last Planner System in one of my first projects. During this time, we went through a series of successes and failures learning how to implement LPS. Eventually, we learned that when properly implemented LPS delivers consistent structuring of the work, increased communication, transparency, and reduction of variability in construction flow.

After some years of construction work and further studies in the USA, in 2016, my professional career took me into an international manufacturing organization, a whole new business environment. Just when I started my new job, the organization was introducing the use of Agile and SCRUM into project management for the development of new products. I heard about Agile and SCRUM during my studies but I never got deeper into them, thus I decided to get formal training and obtained the official SCRUM Master Certification.

I remember the first two hours of the Scrum Master training thinking… “Is this not the same as LPS?” The concepts and principles in the SCRUM framework are quite similar to the ones we aim to introduce with LPS in the construction world. After the training, I also got hands-on experience with SCRUM since we implemented it in the design and development of new products. This allowed me to experience first-hand how they are used in real business contexts. The experiences on both sides, LPS-construction and SCRUM-manufacturing, served as the foundation for a comprehensive comparison we did with Roshan Poudel and Borja Garcia de Soto from NYUAD in a paper called “Last Planner System and SCRUM: Comparative analysis and suggestions for adjustments.”[1] We did this study because it was coincidentally highlighted as an area to explore in one of the earlier LPS benchmarks [2, page 28], thus we wanted to contribute using our experience. Most likely, if you are reading this post you are familiar with the LPS and SCRUM. Thus, I am bringing to your attention a summary of the comparative analysis organized below in different LPS/SCRUM dimensions. For further details, you can always refer to the full study.

As you can see from the comparison, LPS and Scrum share several similarities including the process of refining or breaking down large chunks of work into smaller-manageable-executable tasks which team members commit to complete in a reasonable time frame. Of course, for this purpose both systems/frameworks deploy different approaches, stages, roles, meetings, etc. In the study we also highlight several elements of SCRUM which could be used to complement and improve LPS. For example, 1) the potential use of the SCRUM increment concept, particularly in the design phase of projects, 2) improve the description of roles and responsibilities in LPS to avoid ambiguity when implementing it, 3) explore the concept of working with decentralized teams and what is called “scaled Agile.” This is particularly relevant in current times where teams work remotely, and 4) explore the use of Scrum story points to complement current LPS metrics.

Which one is better for your project? Should I use one or the other? Should I go for an hybrid LPS-Scrum approach? I do believe this should not be approached as a contest trying to define which one is better than the other. As a matter of fact, Glenn Ballard (one of the minds behind LPS) mentioned once to me that he met Ken Schaber (one of the minds behind Scrum) in a conference in Italy in late 1990’s. He revealed that by the time they were already conscious of the many similarities between LPS and Scrum. They discussed with each trying the other but unfortunately this did not get any further. Jeff Suderland, another SCRUM pioneer has also participated in one of the P2SL's Design Forum, thus we can see that the exchange and discussions about synergies between LPS and SCRUM are gaining momentum. LPS and SCRUM share several principles related to the way teams collaborate to organize the work and increase the value delivered to the customer. In my view, a critical factor for success in the implementation of either of both relies on choosing an approach that fits the project context, its challenges, and people involved In it.


[1] Roshan Poudel, Borja Garcia de Soto, Eder Martinez. Last Planner System and Scrum: Comparative analysis and suggestions for adjustments.
Available at

[2] Glenn Ballard & Iris Tommelein (2016). Current Process Benchmark for the Last Planner System.
Available at P2SL

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Eder Martinez is a Lean Construction expert with a mixed background of practice and research. He has more than 12 years of project management experience in different areas of the construction industry, including execution of infrastructure, process improvement, digitalization, and new product development. Eder complements these practical experiences with Ph.D. studies at the UC Berkeley aiming to work and research on contemporary industry topics supporting productivity improvement in the construction sector.