Skanska, a world-leading project development and construction group, aims toward building a better society—an ambitious, yet paramount goal. Despite the new challenges facing the construction industry, Skanska and Senior Advisors Marius Sortland Myklebust attempt and achieve success on a regular basis using methodologies that minimize wasted time and resources, increase the visibility of all participants involved in the project, and keep the process lean and simplified with the most straightforward tools.
In a recent interview with Hoylu, Myklebust emphasized the growing digitalization of construction, which involves VDC (Virtual Design and Construction), a methodology rooted in a philosophy of a holistic approach of how the project is meant to run. It entails different components like BIM, a 3D model-based process that provides the insight and tools to efficiently budget, plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.
It also involves the “Last Planner” component, which revolves around the planning aspect of the project and aims to identify constructability issues, recognize gaps in sequencing and scheduling, and adjust material types and layouts for real-time cost analysis. The backward trajectory of pull planning lends greater control over the timeline of the project. This gave Myklebust’s team an opportunity during a project to plan more aggressively, in order to increase the buffer time towards the end of the project and potentially finish almost two months ahead of schedule.
This process also ensures all employees and stakeholders are actively involved and engaged in faster, real-time decision-making. All participants have an open window for direct communication and contribution to achieve the best outcome of the project.
New Collaboration Process
However, with the advent of COVID-19, the collaborative process has grown more challenging. Myklebust illustrated the difficulties of returning to the practice of having 30 people in a room with several thousand sticky notes all over the walls when people are meant to socially distance. Additionally, it would be difficult to maintain that large room experience and try to bring the same energy of physically being in the same space together
The most important aspect of digitalization, the conversion of physical documents and files into a digital format, for Skanska employees is that of user-friendliness and relevance to their needs. For Skanska, software must be agile, straightforward, and should only need a couple of clicks to achieve the desired results. People in the construction industry have a low tolerance for software that is either hard to use or doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.
Digital Pull Planning
This is where Hoylu comes into play with its Pull Planning Module. This Module—which is a digital workspace with built-in logic for business processes—was a collaborative effort with Skanska. Released in June and continually improved since then, Hoylu places a pull plan within a digital whiteboard to enable users and stakeholders to create, add, and adjust their sticky notes while still providing space for ideation and additional materials to be posted for context and reference.
The ability to access via multiple devices, synchronously and asynchronously, also sustains an element of the large room experience and eliminates the process of recording each sticky note elsewhere. It also minimized travel time, in regard to the environment, and lowering cost, of which Myklebust himself is very passionate. With its minimalist yet adaptive tools, Hoylu makes it easy to log in, access your workspaces, and get right to work, without needing any intensive training or tutorials. Intuitive controls and remote accessibility allow for teams to immediately begin populating the pull plan, whether it be on 8-meter HoyluWalls to touchscreens to desktops and soon to mobile devices.
With everyone’s eyes and hands in the same workspace, they can now easily and quickly organize owners, create tasks, and organize them into a timeline. Dependencies are illustrated with customizable, colored lines, highlighting its connected tasks, which also glow red in the event of any conflicts. Additionally, should a task be marked as incomplete, a list of variance reasons appears in order to communicate exactly what had gone wrong. The list itself can further be modified within the toolbox. The task itself is then duplicated so it can be re-situated on the pull plan. This process is further illustrated in a separate article.
These additions and improvements were the joint empowerment of Myklebust of Skanska and Hoylu. The initial relationship between the two companies had been built on Hoylu’s legacy applications, Sketch and Flow, but after long discussions and current events, the two applications merged into the current web application, of which the Pull Planning Module has been a great benefit for Skanska. During the interview, Myklebust reiterated how grateful he was to have had the opportunity to influence and provide feedback that was quickly put into effect.
Hoylu had given the construction industry a boost in terms of digital tools, which, until now, had been nonexistent. “I have a lot of faith in this product,” said Myklebust, “and to be able try it out on our big HoyluWall soon will be exciting!”
Pull Planning in Hoylu
Hoylu’s Pull Planning module simulates the analog experience of a traditional Pull Planning session in a digital setting. In this video, Hank and his crew can use the same sticky notes and milestones they’re used to from anywhere and on any device.