The Last Planner Process

Production control is one of the most important components of a construction project. The Last Planner® System (LPS) is a practical way to collaboratively manage project-based production. It increases the chances of workflow and projects being completed on time by enabling issues to be identified and resolved. Ultimately, LPS is a system that engages the last planners — those responsible for getting the final work done — in the planning stages and execution of a project. LPS was developed by Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell with the intention of producing predictable workflow and management collaboration for continuous improvement. At Poli Construction, we strongly believe in the implementation of the LPS for every construction project we undertake. Here are the five stages of the system and tips on how to implement them.

Breaking Down The 5 Stages

Master Scheduling

Master scheduling refers to the process of building a schedule that covers the project from start to finish. It involves determining and planning for high-level milestones in the phases of work and their relative overlap. It’s not necessary for the master schedule to be on the same level of detail from beginning to end, but what matters is that the full project is captured and the earlier stages are clearly defined. The importance of establishing a master schedule is that it is the basis for all other planning within the project. To create an effective schedule, teams should begin getting together and identifying all the project’s key milestones. This will serve as a general outline for the remainder of the project and ensure efficiency. 

Phase Scheduling

Phase scheduling can be defined as the collaborative planning process of defining and conducting tasks. Oftentimes, a technique called “pull planning” is used in which teams work backward from a milestone, identifying in detail the necessary steps and tasks to reach that goal. Phase scheduling is effective because it allows the people involved in the project to plan the work they physically do. This also helps develop a strong sense of ownership and reliability for the plan across an entire team. It’s recommended that project teams have in-person meetings to sequence out the phase work. The process should be led by a facilitator, often the lead architect, while team members plan out their work together. However, in situations like the current pandemic, software such as Touchplan offers a virtual planning environment that makes real-time collaboration a breeze. 

Look Ahead Planning

This is a form of planning that allows us to identify and clear constraints preventing upcoming work. Look ahead planning should be discussed in weekly meetings and usually reviews work planned for the next 4 to 6 weeks to remove any potential obstacles. The purpose of this insightful technique is to ensure work is ready to start as planned. Delays are a common part of construction projects, but by recording any constraints that may arise and addressing them ahead of time, we can ensure that projects are completed as smoothly as possible.

Commitment Planning

Commitment planning (or weekly work planning) is a way for teams to regularly meet, discuss current and future work, and collectively commit to getting the following week’s work done. The best way to implement commitment planning is scheduling team meetings once a week to make work commitments. Additionally, meeting briefly in daily huddles to ensure everyone is on the same page with the day’s work can help create efficiency and speed up the process of a project. 

Learning

To constantly improve from project to project, teams must regularly review what went well and what needs to be fixed with the previous week’s plan. Construction projects could take months and not every week will operate as efficiently as others. Therefore, it’s crucial for teams to identify the root causes of plan failures and figure out how to prevent them for the remainder of the project. The general idea is to take lessons learned from one week and immediately adjust the plan to accommodate anything team members have learned and can utilize for the following weeks. In doing so, you will gradually see improvements in a job site on a weekly basis.

Last Planner® System For Construction In Orlando, FL

The best way to ensure the successful delivery of a construction project is by implementing a planning system from the very start. Project construction is complex, time consuming and varies greatly in scope depending on the job. Having a detailed and specific plan in place for every phase of the project will allow for greater control of quality measures, management of resource allocation, and ensure a smooth workflow for everyone involved. At Poli Construction, we utilize the Last Planner System for it’s tried-and-true production control measures when beginning any new project. Contact us today to learn more about our planning process and construction services in the Orlando, FL area.

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The Last Planner Process

The Last Planner® System (LPS) is a practical way to collaboratively manage project-based production. Learn more about the five stages of the system and tips on how to implement them.

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