January 23, 2019

What is the Last Planner System?

The Last Planner System (LPS) is a collaborative planning process that involves trade foremen or design team leaders (the last planners) in pl­anning in greater and greater detail as the time for the work to be done gets closer. This is sometimes known as Pull Planning.

LPS was created to enable more reliable and predictable production in projects. It also:

  • Supports the flow of work through the project
  • Builds trust and collaboration with a project team
  • Delivers safer projects faster.

LPS brings together those who will execute the work (the team) to plan when and how work will be done through a series of conversational processes. It requires the team to collaboratively remove constraints as a team and to promise delivery of each task. These systematic processes increase the chances that work flows reliably, and recognizes that personal relationships and peer pressure are critical to that process.

LPS is a planning, monitoring and control system that follows lean construction principles. It was developed by Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell who later founded the Lean Construction Institute at the request of a number of constructors who had benefited from their use of LPS.

Five key processes

Each process (or conversation) within the system brings its own benefits. When all are working together they reinforce each other and the overall benefits are greater. The processes are:

  1. Collaborative Programming - Creating and agreeing the production sequence (and compressing it if required) and agreeing the key hand-overs from one trade or design team to the next.
  2. Make Ready - Making tasks in the Look Ahead period ready (i.e. constraint free) so that they can be done when the team wants to do them.
  3. Production Planning - Collaboratively agreeing production tasks for the next period (e.g. shift, day or week) – this is often referred to as Weekly Work Planning (WWP).
  4. Production Management - Collaboratively monitoring production to keep activities on track, generally on a daily basis.
  5. Measurement, learning and continual improvement - Learning and improving project, planning and production processes so as to improve the flow and the rate of flow of the work.(Source)

    To learn more about Last Planner System and benefits it holds for your projects, join Master Builders of Iowa for our Last Planner System Workshop on November 6, 2018 in West Des Moines.