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We often focus on the tools and the visible elements of what makes a lean organization successful, but fundamentally the essence of lean is not about tools or projects.
Steve Jobs said “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” Often when teaching classes in Lean engagement and Lean methodologies, I post two banners on the wall.
Although many people who might read this article may be familiar with David Marquette‘s YouTube video entitled “Greatness”, please allow me to suggest that before reading further. His brief video is based on his book, Turn the Ship Around.
The concepts of lean have been applied to the design and construction of capital facilities for twenty years or more. I think it’s high time that we in the construction industry face the hard truth – lean is not going to happen in our lifetime – not really.
In the choosing, developing and managing of design and construction teams, the collaborative project delivery approach consciously seeks out teams of individuals that embrace certain core beliefs. The first core belief is that the current system is dysfunctional and doesn’t work well.
People always ask me: Paulo, what is the process that you follow to create training for Organizations? So, I decided to share with you the process I developed and that I’ve been using for more than 6 years. It has 15 steps.
Sometime in college, many of us learned that it’s better to develop a good work plan so that project execution can happen smoothly. However, I have found some project teams struggle to find the time to work on project planning.
How can 5S benefit the construction industry? It improves productivity, quality, safety and schedule. It is a core lean method to bring Lean thinking to frontline workers in the field or shop. It is simple. It costs almost nothing. And you can start doing it today. 5S is a method to keep our workplace organized, clean, safe and efficient.
Plus/Delta is a great way to improve almost any social process. Also known as Do again / Do better and Plus / Change, it is a very simple formative feedback process that only requires 5-10 minutes, a flip chart and pens.
Change in an organization is inevitable and necessary. This shouldn’t be earth-shattering to anyone. The people, processes, space and technology must constantly evolve. When we are satisfied with being on a plateau inescapably something will disrupt our steady movement and change the course.
Most of us know Lean, and the emphasis on removing waste to deliver higher value. What’s been largely missing in the translation of Lean from Japan to the US is the idea of respect for people as a foundation for that work.
Lean Construction requires a dramatic increase in collaboration – defined literally as “co-laboring”, working together. For better or worse, working together happens in meetings. As important as collaboration is to Lean Construction, one of the most common laments is, “There are too many meetings!"
For many lean leaders and coaches a primary concern is obtaining the full engagement of everyone on a project team in lean practices. Despite best efforts at directing people toward lean behaviors universal lean buy-in is hard to achieve. What people are looking for is a way to create enthusiasm for lean.
Lean Project Delivery and Last Planner System are big buzz phrases in the construction industry. Lean uses a collaborative approach to projects that eliminate waste, focus on adding value, and continuously improve.
As an engineering professional a few years into my career, I’ve focused on building my skills in a way that allows me to contribute positively to my clients, my company, and the construction industry. I quickly realized that becoming a student of Lean would allow me to do just that.
Tracey Kidder said, “Building is the quintessential act of civilization.” Think about it. If three people washed up on a deserted island, the first thing they would do is collaboratively build a shelter.
This June I will be speaking at the Canadian Lean Conference in Winnipeg Canada. My subject will be “Lean is Simple.” It is centered on how I built a Lean culture with my team at FastCap and how thousands of other organizations around the world have done the same.
The 5 Whys is a management concept that has been popularized by Toyota . The concept is simple - when you encounter a problem, ask why at least 5 times until you understand the root cause. Only by addressing the root cause can you truly resolve the issue and ensure that it will never occur again.
Lean project delivery has entered the mainstream of construction, yet Lean adoption lags among design professionals. Architects and engineers who transformed the industry by first pioneering sustainable design and later the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) remain spectators while trade partners, construction managers, and some owners embrace Lean.
There's a revolution happening. It’s called learning while doing. Great projects are Lean — yet the majority of Lean initiatives fail. Lean is generally misunderstood to be about the tools we use rather than the people at the place where they work.
Have you ever thought about adding to your perspective on Lean and your Lean practices in design and construction? Most of what we understand about Lean is based on observations made by people with an engineering and scientific perspective on work.
Many people are interested in the Japanese state of Lean Construction because Lean Construction has been born out from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Even now people who know the term "Lean Construction" seem to be less than 50.
Resistance to Lean & Integrated Project Delivery Part II: Develop “Profound Knowledge” to Address the Root Causes of Resistance
In the first post of this series I argued that when stakeholders do not agree on the problem, they probably will not agree on the solution. The “problem” for which advances in Lean Construction are “solutions”.
As a trainer and consultant of Lean Construction, I have always been passionate about the human side of Lean. I have been observing the behaviour of people in a lot of companies regarding the cultural changes that comes with implementing Lean.
In my role as an “Integrated Lean Project Delivery (ILPD) Coach”, I struggle everyday to understand and address resistance to positive change in the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry.
A3 problem solving has been popularized by the Toyota Production System . At its core an A3 is simply a standard sheet of paper that is 11” X 17”. Despite its simplicity, an A3 is a powerful tool for problem-solving and communicating complex ideas in a simple manner.
As an entrepreneur, manufacturer, author, speaker, and consultant I love questions? When people ask questions I know what they're thinking. And if I know what they're thinking, I have the best opportunity to help them whether it be on the shop floor in my manufacturing plant or consulting with companies around the world.
As real estate and capital investments drive the construction industry, and owners/investors are constantly looking for the right balance of programming, quality, safety and cost. They are forced to choose between “low price” or “best value,” two confusing terms whose actual implications are not understood.
In my previous post (The Matter of Metrics) I postulated that having sufficient data is not enough to launch a transformational change. So what does trigger change? Some say a burning platform is needed. Where corporate viability is at stake this may be true.
In the early 20th century, management theories were devoted to the idea of “one best way” to perform tasks, designed by the manager and implemented by direct reports. Like many things that must change with the passage of time, management styles evolved.
As the first half of the year ends, it’s a great time for a quick retrospective on your New Year’s Resolutions. If you are like me, you set some ambitious goals for the year, and your business probably did the same. Often, those resolutions are stated as goals (lag) vs. targets (lead).
When I was a kid, I used to want to win at all costs. This is what my father taught me. They don’t keep score for nothing was the mentality. As I grew up, I have grown to accept it’s not as much about the end result as it is about the journey to get there and my daughter has reinforced this more than anything.
I recently joined a large international project as a Lean Manager. To join the project team I moved to another country and left the most of my professional network behind. I was a bit nervous when I started my new job. How would they perceive lean? Where do I find support and inspiration?
My wife and I enjoy the occasional TV police drama. Now before you start to question how I spend my spare time, hear me out. One day last week one of the characters in a show we frequent stated that “perfect is the enemy of good”. That phrase stuck with me.
When company leaders are confronted with the prospect of changing to a Lean Project Delivery approach they will undoubtedly say, “Show me the data.” The implication is that if the data is there to support the implementation of Lean then they will get behind the change. However, this is rarely the case as I will address later, so hold that thought to the end of this installment.
The big buzz phrase in the construction industry is Integrated Project Delivery or IPD. Disney has a concept called ILPD or Integrated Lean Project Delivery. This uses not only a collaborative approach to projects, but also uses the Last Planner System and Lean concepts to eliminate waste.
The rise in information technology, changing market and working conditions has meant the workplace environment for some design and construction workers has evolved significantly.
This Fall marks the 4th year anniversary for the Lean Construction Blog. When we started the blog in 2015, we had one simple vision: “To take many of the wonderful lessons learned that we have experienced while being part of the LC community, attending conferences, reading research papers, etc. and make it more accessible to the rest of the world.”
It is hard to believe that I am on my fifth book "Miracle in Kazakhstan." In January 2015, I accepted an invitation to come to Kazakhstan’s largest construction company - BI Group - to speak about “2 Second Lean”. My job was simple; build a lean culture in a company through interpreters.
When you hear the term ‘Big Room’, what image does that conjure up? Are you thinking a large, open space where a big group of people can congregate? Within the realm of Lean Project Delivery, at the very basic level, you would be correct. The Big Room is a space where the project team can meet to bring the project design to life.
In Germany, there is a tendency that construction companies are the first stakeholders of the whole project process who apply lean principles or at least - lean tools. I often ask myself, how much leaner can a project/construction site become if the lean principles are only executed inside the processes of the contractor.
You’ve studied the Toyota Production System, you’ve attended webinars, you’ve read all the books. You’ve even learned a little Japanese in the process. Your team has been prepped and schooled in lean theory and seems enthusiastic about embracing something new.
Creating a workplace culture where people hold a mindset of continuous improvement, proactivity and seek better ways of doing things is of substantial interest to the lean community. This mindset is needed to enable successful implementation of lean principles.
When we are talking about Lean, we are talking about continuous improvement. Continuous improvement requires a system, process, organizational structure, and cultural change. It is necessary that involved parties understand the change process in order to initiate change.
Creating a lean culture sometimes requires participating in difficult conversations. Perhaps someone is not meeting their commitments, or maybe they're not fully present in meetings where their input is critical to the success of the project.
The current economic climate is posing real threats and challenges to many organizations’ longevity. The applicability and sustainability of organizations across the world is being questioned, resulting in many organizations wondering how to effectively respond.
Practically, the terms cooperation and collaboration are interpreted differently or used synonymously. Using the terms interchangeable to express “working together” can result in misunderstandings between project participants as the concepts behind cooperation and collaboration are different.
Construction is fascinating on all aspects – the equipment, the technology, the people – ever changing and becoming even more sophisticated. So why has the industry not increased output or efficiencies? Because it takes continuous effort and the right mindset to change. There is no easy button.
A courageous leader is one who not only takes actions that instill a foundation of trust, but cocreates a community where the wellbeing of the humans who work there are at the core of workplace excellence.
In this post we have compiled a set of good practices based on our own experiences that in general have worked when we have implemented Lean Construction at the company level. This post summarizes 10 years of experiences and both successes and difficulties have been considered.