Weekly Meeting Tips from a Lean Expert

Last week I sat down with our in-house lean construction expert Michael Sullivan. Michael has 24 years of contract and construction project management experience. This experience serves him well here at Touchplan when he leads our clients through the pull planning sessions and weekly progress meetings. What are the some of the challenges to having […]

Written by Touchplan | February 8, 2016

Last week I sat down with our in-house lean construction expert Michael Sullivan. Michael has 24 years of contract and construction project management experience. This experience serves him well here at Touchplan when he leads our clients through the pull planning sessions and weekly progress meetings.


What are the some of the challenges to having a good weekly work progress/planning meeting?

A significant and important challenge is to begin to see the project team as coaching trade contractors as opposed to directing subcontractors. It’s a fundamental management shift essential to success in implementing a smart planning and operating strategy.

How do you go about this?

Begin the shift by using this recommended agenda for weekly planning meetings.

  • General and operational concerns (5 min)
  • Confirm status of last week’s performance (15 min)
  • Review last week’s performance against weekly plan (3 min)
  • Finalize next week’s Weekly Work Plan (20 min)
  • Make-Ready Planning / 2-6 Week Look Ahead (15 min)
  • Plus-Delta (2 min)

The team might allocate the time differently, but the above sequence is what works for smart planning teams. Try to keep it under one hour. Issues requiring more time probably only concern a few people and should be addressed outside of the meeting. All schedule and constraint issues included in the traditional meeting minute format need to be addressed in the context of the above Make-Ready Planning and Weekly Work Planning. Teams that have successfully implemented this smart planning (Lean) approach have in some cases made the traditional meeting minute format go away – they capture all relevant information in their Touchplan project file.

In addition to using the above agenda, what else should you do to make this transition?

Get the team on a regular weekly schedule for submitting weekly work plans, reviewing and compiling plans, meeting and reviewing plans, and addressing constraints. Use the Touchplan Constraint Log for all items.

You just mentioned constraints. They tend to be a problem area for a lot of projects. What would you recommend for making them less of an issue?

Constraint management needs to arrange face time between designers, owners and subcontractors for issues that can potentially disrupt workflow. Make sure the design team is aware of this need.

Are there any additional meetings we should be doing differently on our projects?

Daily huddles are important. Huddles should take five to ten minutes max! Start them now. My recommended agenda is as follows:

  • Check with each foreman on whether they accomplished today’s promised work.
  • For work that cannot be completed as promised, agree as a group on how this will be addressed, the goal is to maintain steady flow.
  • Ask foremen what they learned today. Solicit one or two answers.
  • Ask foremen what could be better. Solicit one or two answers.

Awesome! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me Michael.

If you have any additional questions, or want some one on one help from our expert, Please contact Michael directly at [email protected]. He is available during the week to help you plan better.

 

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