Can Lean Project Management Remove Inefficiencies In Construction Industries?

Most of the organizations in Indian Construction industry rely on their project manager to be physically present at the project site and carry out “firefighting” to complete the project, rather than handle it in a structured way. This shows the huge disconnect between theory and practice of project management in our industry.

Project professionals hardly agree to the inefficiencies in their daily activities and are always confident about delivering it, if money is available. Following money, another such demand is for labour. Yes, both are mandatory, but we are familiar with the situation where labour is idle for days when cash flow is not a problem.

Organization’s inability to deliver value at every stage of project causes trouble and often ends up in crisis management. This results in low profits for the organization and project becomes costlier for the end users.

Execution folks find it difficult to accept concepts like Lean Project Management and the senior management hardly has any belief in it. Most times, Management ends up with “audits” as a solution to ensure compliance, which is another “headache” for execution professionals.

What are the fundamental reasons for such inefficiencies? Check out below:

  • Limited clarity on the project scope and deliverable
  • Organizations fail to set common goals for project and end up working in “silos”
  • We neglect to identify the project constraints and always look for time extension &/or extra cost approval to overcome issues which follow.
  • Assumptions are neither discussed in common forums nor validated for their authenticity.
  • Acceptance of issues as part of daily life and crisis management as the preferred solution
  • Risk ignorance – have lost our capability to forsee the risks and prepare proper response plans
  • We prepare schedule “for clients” just as showcase and “catch-up schedule” becomes a routine affair
  • We don’t believe in collaborative planning and our plans are unrealistic
  • We mix the micro and macro scheduling efforts
  • We are good in recording lessons learned at end of project but hardly spend time to improve project from daily lessons learned.

It’s the work culture and project environment that makes the people believe in application of concepts in projects. We cannot expect a person who has never seen the right use of any concepts, in his/ her 20 yrs construction experience, to instantly believe that any management concept will work in projects.

Right application of Lean Project Management best practices in our projects as in following, can bring results and increase the acceptance of management concepts in our projects.

  • Understand that the 7 wastes in construction (other than material waste) can enable our professionals to deliver value at every stage of project by eliminating inefficiencies. The top 2 wastes in our industry are Waiting& Rework
  • Introduction to 5S helps to understand the importance of managing the work & workplace in a structured way
  • Constraints analysis and Assumptions validation makes professionals understand the situations properly.
  • Analyzing the Risks and preparing proper responses will limit number of issues handled per day
  • 4-level Collaborative planning encourages the team to perform macro & micro planning as required. Daily 15 min meeting, structured approach to “make ready” activities in “look ahead” period and systematic approach to monitor and learn lessons on a daily basis will improve the performance of our team
  • Value stream mapping can help the project to understand “AS IS” situation, analyze the waste in efforts and prepare a value added “TO BE” process to optimize the works/ processes we follow
  • PDCA and root cause analysis help the professionals to learn from every failure and improve continuously in their projects more than the routine lessons learned towards the end of project.

This is just the beginning; Lean Construction & Project Management can bring lot of benefits to projects. We need to start small and go steady to eliminate current inefficiency in projects, with a systematic approach. Lean Project Management framework helps the organization to manage the projects in a structured way by bringing the culture of working together and delivering value for every action performed by our team

      Tony Jacob

 

“Tony Jacob has started Constask Management Solutions LLP in 2015 for practicing Management Consultancy in construction industry. He facilitates organisations, projects to improve performance and increase productivity by implementing best practices from various management concepts.”

1 Comment on "Can Lean Project Management Remove Inefficiencies In Construction Industries?"

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