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How to Make and Secure Reliable Promises
This article is the first of three where I will examine Lean Construction – in particular, one of its fundamental building blocks: making promises.
How to Get Good Promises from Your Team and How to Promise Brilliantly
Hal Macomber, one of the pioneers of the Lean Construction movement, proposed that we rethink construction projects as networks of promises. Why? Hal argued that a project is more powerfully seen as promises between people who care.
How to Recover Promises that are at Risk
I think most of us can spot a bad promise when it's already on its way to failing. For example we listen to our managers reporting hopefully, but with a large number of caveats, and we are alarmed.
The Lean Leadership Pattern Puts People at the Center of a Challenge
Leading is about WE rather than ME. It comes from a recognition that I can take care of myself while we take care of each other, the customers, and the company.
Leaders Start by Aligning and Committing to a Challenge
Lean leaders keep attention to what is good for customers, stakeholders (supply chain, partners, the community, etc.), team members, and the company. Aligning the interests of all is ideal.
Using Study-Adjust-Plan-Do for Experimental Learning
Experimental learning follows Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s cycle of improvement which turns everyone who uses it into a scientific thinker. People typically call it PDCA for Plan > Do > Check > Act.
Leaders Take a Systems Thinking Perspective for Making Change
Thinking in systems has been part of the Toyota Way since the 1950s. We just didn’t know it, or did we? Like many other Japanese manufacturers, they learned about quality and production at the feet of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, one of the people after WWII who helped them get back on their feet.
Leaders Make Learning the Ongoing Payoff for the Team and Themselves
The Toyota Way principles #9 Grow Leaders and #10 Develop People and Teams are key responsibilities of people who are leaders. It starts by developing oneself as a leader. This is accomplished with ongoing study and more importantly by leading for learning.
Multi-lean Systems: How to Use Them for Complex Construction Projects
Why is a large construction project handled differently than a small project such as a family home? The answer is simple: it is much more complex.
Lean Construction: A comprehensive vision for the development of competitiveness in the construction industry
The construction industry for many years has been considered slow and late in adopting changes and integrating with new management models.
Is COVID Construction’s Uber Moment?
In 2011 Uber launched in San Francisco, allowing users to hail a luxury car for 1.5 times the price of a taxi. It now has annual revenues in excess of $10Bn and has decimated the traditional taxi industry in many cities around the world.
Lean Tools During Design & Preconstruction – IPD or Not
I wanted to start this blog post with the most important message I have for all those who read this – you don’t need to have an IPD project in order to successfully use lean tools during design and preconstruction!
A New Lens: Bringing Your Challenges Into Focus
Raise your hand if you have ever been in this position: You have been trying to get your team or company to start practicing Lean Construction. But, after months, there are only a few people who have even tried to utilize the new ways of working.
8 Misconceptions about Lean Construction
What are some misconceptions about Lean Construction that you would like to clear up? This is a question that I get a lot and knowing some of these misconceptions can save you years on your Lean Journey.
Lean Processes that Drive Results
People commit to Lean because it promises results; organizations sustain that commitment. There is no Lean without Lean results: reduced waste; focused value, and streamlined flow. For those designing and constructing capital projects – there is no Lean without Project Delivery results.
Lean.... let’s do life better!
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.
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”.
5 Key Ideas to Make Your Lean Implementation More Successful
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.
Enhancing A3 Problem Solving with Technology
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.
How does Toyota do it?
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.
Building the “A” Team: Creating a Personal Connection with Onboarding in LPD
Two central tenets of Lean are “Respect for People” and “Removal of Waste“ wherever . By not investing in learning about how each individual works on a project, we give up the opportunity for the project to go from ordinary to extraordinary.
Navigating Transformational Change
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.
Building the “A” Team: Steps for an Effective Onboarding Process in LPD
“How teams work matters more than who is on them. There’s a myth we all carry inside our heads, we think we need superstars. Our research showed you can take a team of average performers and if you teach them to interact the right way they'll do things no superstar could ever accomplish.” Laszlo Boch.
The Matter of Metrics
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.
10 Easy Ways to Run a Lean Meeting
I try to apply “lean thinking” into all aspects of life, not just to work and certainly not just to construction projects (if you ever meet me in person, ask me to tell you how I manage my family’s weekly grocery list). When trying to inspire lean thinking in others, I encourage them to pick something that bugs them.
The Human Factor in the Implementation of the Last Planner® System
The aim of this post is to describe, from experience in Argentina, the impact the Last Planner System (LPS) had on a group of responsible people involved in a project. Implementing the LPS raises different types of technical and human factor challenges.
Owner Criteria for Lean Provider Selection
A popularly quoted and important concept is that "Lean Transformation is a journey, not a destination". At the 2016 International Congress on Lean Construction, people at all stages of the journey were on display: beginners, in-progress implementers, advanced practitioners, etc.
Lean from the Bottom Up – A Grass Roots Journey
Almost five years ago, our formal Lean journey began when a client asked us to facilitate a Lean transformation on a large, ongoing construction project. It was considered the largest Lean implementation of its kind. Our team, more than 200 of our salaried staff, a similar number of client management and roughly 1,200 craft personnel, began our Lean journey together at the midpoint of this project.
The Business Case for Lean
Before I retired from Intel Corporation, I was often asked what data we used to select our contracting methodology or our project delivery approach. Like many large companies, too often we used a poor recent project as a reason to try yet another approach versus having a set of objective data from which to draw upon.
Construction 4.1: The case for an urgent COVID 19 reboot of the construction industry
Construction of new infrastructure will be an important tool for governments around the world seeking to rebuild economies devastated by shutdowns in response to COVID 19. Every dollar spent on construction projects has a multiplier effect.
A Practitioner’s Reflections on Lean Transformation
In 2015, and with 25 years of experience in Construction Management, I had grown increasingly frustrated with the traditional approach to construction management and project delivery, and the associated thinking and mindset that was holding the sector back.
Lean Opportunity Assessment: Improving the Supply Chain of Contractors
The delivery of construction projects often follows ‘business as usual (BAU) model. BAU has made poor project delivery pervasive in construction.
6 Tips To Implement New Management Practices And Technologies Successfully
Implementing new technologies and management practices is all the rage in companies seeking to be on the knife’s edge in operational excellence.
Is this the right time for an International Standard covering Lean Construction?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has formed an ad-hoc group to consider whether an International Standard or similar document is needed for the “Agile/adaptive management of projects, programmes, portfolios and related governance.”
The Batching Frenzy
You may be thinking that the goal should be to reduce batches to the minimum possible, meaning one unit at a time, a concept popularized by the phrase “single-piece flow”, however, this is not always economical or in many cases, not even technically doable.
Is Lean Thinking a Remedy for the Obsolete Project Management Theories? Part I
According to Koskela and Howell (2002), an explicit project management theory still lacks in prior literature. Current theories fall short of explaining issues in project management such as lack of commitment, frequent failures, and slow methodological renewal.
Is Lean Thinking a Remedy for the Obsolete Project Management Theories? Part II
Lean Construction theory was established with the aim of delivering value to the customer. Doing so in not an easy process, as value is hard to define and accomplish
The Future of Lean Construction
The ever-increasing level of digitization, automation and autonomation will change construction. And this will inevitably change the nature of Lean Construction. Ultimately, Lean Construction will result in the ultra-efficient construction site.
The future interaction of artificial intelligence and lean construction
Lean principles are increasingly supported by applying larger, more complex datasets, which is why the future of lean and big data is connected. The ability to evaluate data correctly, to derive measures, and to improve processes will be decisive for the future competitiveness of companies.
If You Want to Get Lean Right, You Must Have the Right Blend of Motivation and Understanding
Have you ever visited or worked on a project that claimed to be practicing lean, but as you walked it, you saw evidence of people just going through the motions?
Leaning in Together - A GC's and Structural Engineering Firm's Growth in Lean Together
Both of our stories begin in the early 2000s in a comparable way but on separate paths. Each of our organizations had a small group of people that had early exposure to lean concepts and tools.
The Best Foot Theory – Reinforce individual core skills to get the best team result
Nils Arne Eggen’s “Best Foot theory.” A philosophy based on the principle that you achieve the best possible team success by reinforcing individual core skills through collaboration
Innovation: The Catalyst of Continual Improvement and Lean
Companies only have two competitive advantages: their people and innovation. And people are the ones who come up with innovative ways to do things. Without that push to evolve, your lean initiative may languish.