Lean Construction Tips
& Best Practices

Lean projects are 3 times more likely to complete ahead of schedule and 2 times more likely to complete under budget (Dodge Data & Analytics & LCI).  

It’s hard to argue with numbers like these, so why don’t all contractors utilize Lean processes on their projects? For some, it’s implementation and adoption. While others report financial or management roadblocks.

Lean experts Colin Milberg and Ryan Popp of ASKM Associates agree Lean principles increase the reliability of the company’s project delivery services as well as improve the lives of the people who work for them.  

If you’re thinking about implementing Lean into your planning, here are some tips and best practices. You can also sign up to watch Colin and Ryan present this Lean Construction Best Practices Webinar on demand. 

Deliver Value to the Customer

The 6 guiding principles of Lean, summarized here, represent a holistic approach to the construction process. For the full description, visit LCI’s Tenets of Lean.

Respect for People: Respect and trust the people you are working with.  

Removal of Waste: Identify the types of waste that impact projects and educate on ways to work as a team to eliminate them and create value. 

Focus on Process & Flow: Focus on enhanced flow and the making and keeping of reliable promises between all people on a project. 

Optimize the Whole: Think about optimizing performance or piece of the project — and about what happens both before and after. 

Generation of Value: Identify the value proposition of a project and then make it widely available, in written form, on the job site. 

Continuous Improvement: Create a log of constraints that are limiting or blocking productivity on a project. 

Tips: Lean Construction Success

View the process as a learning system: Learn from what’s happened. Learn from those around you to figure out what’s stopping or is holding the team back. 

Provide feedback: Ask questions, such as how can we get better at our planning to be reliable and to create better flow. Reliability matters more than speed

Keep the conversation focused on what’s important: Focus on what you’re trying to achieve and how it ties into the big picture. Start with the master schedule, which is the milestone schedule, and work through the process.

Get alignment: Get everybody on the same page so they understand how their work impacts others on the project. Maintain that flow through your project to stay on or ahead of schedule  

Empower the team members to share opportunities, risks, or concerns: Be proactive. Encourage the team to think about and plan their work in advance. Make sure they have everything they need to perform their work. 

Work on what improves the project: This includes team interactions and the commitments they make. Create a space where people feel comfortable sharing good news and bad news.  

Invest in a digital solution: To help the team with these processes, construction planning software can help save time and improve information sharing.   

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