Lean Foundations

Last Planner® System Principles and Rules

(Ballard and Tommelein: Current Process Benchmark for the Last Planner System, Lean Construction Journal 2016 pp 57-89)

What do the inventors and foremost proponents of the Last Planner System® say are the twelve Principles and Rules for using it?   Dr. Glenn Ballard (who with Greg  Howell invented LPS®) and Dr. Iris Tommelein, his academic research colleague at P2SL based at UC Berkeley, published these in the Lean Construction Journal in 2016. They are worth having handy.

  1. Keep all plans, at every level of detail, in public view at all times.

  2. Keep master schedules at milestone level of detail.

  3. Plan in greater detail as the start date approaches.

  4. Produce plans collaboratively with those who are to do the work.

  5. Re-plan as necessary to adjust to the realities of the unfolding future.

  6. Reveal and remove constraints of planned tasks as a team.

  7. Improve workflow reliability in order to improve operational performance.

  8. Don’t start tasks that you should not/cannot complete. Commit to perform only those tasks that are properly defined, sound, sequenced and sized.

  9. Make and secure reliable promises, and speak up immediately should you lose confidence that you can keep your promises (as opposed to waiting as long as possible and hoping someone else speaks up first).

  10. Learn from Breakdowns. (“5 Why?”)

  11. Underload resources to increase reliability of work release.

  12. Maintain workable backlog, a backlog of tasks ready to be executed, to fill into the plan when you hit an issue or when planned work unexpectedly stops.

Last Planner® System Best Practices – Always Keep It “Real”

  1. Hold 15-minute daily huddles. If you can’t meet every day, do as many as possible. One is the bare minimum.

  2. Perform “5 Why?” analysis when an activity is not done and find the true root cause and look for trends within your team.

  3. Keep PPC visible. Celebrate high PPC and challenge the team to find ways to improve when it’s low. PPC is your “pulse” on the team. However, high PPC is not the full picture. It doesn’t tell you how important the missed percentage is to you Milestones.

  4. Maximize the whole, not the piece: Focus on overall finish Milestones. If an interim Milestone slips, but your end Milestone doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.

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