Standard work is a powerful Lean tool and should be applied toward planning the work as much as toward doing the work. The key to leveraging the power of standard work in weekly work planning is to develop an approach universally practiced by project team members, and then throughout the course of the project test possible adjustments to the planning approach that originate from the Weekly Coordination meeting Plus-Delta reflections.
We recommend project teams new to the Last Planner System start with the following weekly planning cycle.
Monday: Project leaders distribute the lookahead plan to the last planners. For purposes of this post we will assume a six-week lookahead horizon is being used. Last planners review the lookahead plan to determine if any tasks beginning in week 6 are constrained. Last planners should identify constraints to the project leaders that day, as it is possible that meetings that do not include last planners, such as the traditional Owner-Architect-Contractor (OAC) meeting, will be held early in the week. These meetings often include players that unfortunately do not participate in the last planner Weekly Coordination meeting.
Last planners need to also be reviewing the lookahead plan to determine if any tasks in weeks 2 through 5 should be broken into more detail so that work between disciplines can be more effectively coordinated and to create better opportunities for learning about the work.
Last planners should also begin developing their weekly work plan for the following week, including make ready work for which they are responsible, and can make a reliable promise to complete. They rely primarily on the lookahead plan while preparing their weekly work plan, however any tasks they plan to accomplish the following week not included on the lookahead plan should also be listed on the weekly work plan, with the fact that the work was not anticipated highlighted for other on the team. Workable backlog should also be included on the weekly plan.
Tuesday: Last planners should complete their draft weekly work plans, and submit them to project leaders by the end of the day.
Wednesday: Project leaders consolidate the weekly plans from the last planners, organizing planned tasks to make the flow of the work visible. Any concerns and questions resulting from the leaders’ review of the draft plan should be discussed during the day individually with the last planners. This is often an excellent coaching opportunity for project leaders needing to help last planners new to the Last Planner System.
Draft weekly work plans for the project are distributed to the last planners by the end of the day.
Thursday: The Weekly Coordination meeting for last planners is held on this day. Any needed adjustments to the draft weekly work plan are discussed in the meeting. Make ready planning, including a review of the lookahead plan and constraint log, is also accomplished in this meeting.
Friday: A final version of next week’s weekly work plan is distributed to last planners, for distribution to all project team members.
We recommend the above planning cycle because Thursday Weekly Coordination meetings allow time for last planners to incorporate new information into their final weekly plans on that day. For different reasons some project teams will have their Weekly Coordination meeting on other days of the week. While shifting the planning cycle to different days can work and is sometimes necessary, the structure described above has proven to be a successful starting point for most project teams.