During this Case, You Will Learn How Touchplan

  • Created transparency during the design phase of the project
  • Made the Last Planner System easier to implement
  • Aligned the project team

IPS-Integrated Project Services were charged to construct a 74,000 SF greenfield facility that expanded an existing adjacent building. While the new construction is technically freestanding, there will be some tie-ins to various floors of the existing building.

The project faced the challenge of building a new structure and, to a degree, tying it to the other property. Additionally, there is a lot of prefabrication connected to this project, so there will be a lot of coordination with two A&E firms.

The project is relatively young in its development life cycle. It’s currently in the conceptual design phase, adding some additional pain points as the IPS design group is new to the Last Planner System®.

While initially resistant to using the Last Planner System®, the team decided to use Touchplan. That was the inflection point as the team quickly became comfortable working in the digital planning space. It provided more of a visual component and was more interactive, allowing less travel, which got the design groups to buy into the system.

“Some of the biggest people on the design team who initially resisted Touchplan are now its strongest proponents,” said Christopher Bushek, Project Manager at IPS. “After using Touchplan for a few months, those who were resistant were now going to upper management demanding that they have access to Touchplan on every project.”

In large part, the conversion to Touchplan was due to team members’ ability to see the hand-offs between the promises and the activities they were doing and the ripple effect that missing a promise could have on the other project team members. The visual component drove it home for them.

“Having worked on the adjacent project for IPS and now this one, I can see a world of difference for two projects four inches apart,” said Sam Lichmira, Project Manager for IPS. “The first project where we did not have Touchplan, there was no transparency as to where the design was and what issues they were working through. However, on this job, whether it was Chris doing a weekly walkthrough or just looking at milestones and deliverables in Touchplan, that kind of ‘breaking down the silo’ provides a statement of fact that everyone can see; there is no hiding from it. Using Touchplan was a night and day experience from the last project, which was an extremely traditional approach to design.”

When it comes to design, the IPS team are fans of the online and visual components of Touchplan. Bushek added, “A design team is not always dedicated full-time to a single project. They may be traveling or out in California. However, they can still sign onto the weekly meetings and have Touchplan up in front of them and status tickets, read reports, and cover items they are working on while not being constrained by travel. For me, that is the biggest advantage.”

For the project’s Facilitator Sam Lichmira, he takes confidence in knowing that if there is a significant change on the project, a simple click can get his team realigned. “Let’s say you have a change to a significant activity like slab placement. I can move 150 activities in 30 seconds. I dont have to rally five people to move sticky notes for 15 minutes. That saves 10s of 10s of hours across the year.”

More importantly, Lichmira commented on Touchplan’s ability to align the construction team. “You can have some who are good with the software and those who are just riding the wave, but with Touchplan, everyone can get pretty granular and know what is expected of them. It levels the playing field across humans, which are all different and have different skill sets.”

Our relationship with IPS has produced some mutually beneficial results, including:

  • Being able to easily access project information anywhere on site
  • Saved valuable construction project time by avoiding repetitive data entry tasks
  • Easily realign the project team despite a significant change on the project