A better way to work – The Last Planner® System

The good news is, there is a better way of working and we don’t even have to reinvent the wheel. There is an excellent model to adapt. The Last Planner® System (LPS) developed by Glenn Ballard is one of the most commonly used lean tools in both the construction and design industries. The term ‚Last Planner‘ refers to the person who is closest to the work and is responsible for planning and management. The system is an innovative method which involves all project participants with the objective of increasing productivity and stabilising the workflow. According to the definition, the LPS is a production planning and control instrument that applies the pull principle in the construction industry in particular and is intended to promote the active cooperation of all project participants.

The LPS uses five key elements in a defined system to reach project goals while fostering, learning and improving weekly and even daily.

The LPS is a good way to start rethinking at the project level. When implementing the LPS, we teach leaders at all levels how they can be expert facilitators and mentors to those who work for them, to raise expectations and develop their skills to be able to contribute more to the project’s success.

This builds trust and confidence in the team and creates a culture where individuals respect each other and deliver their best for the project. A successful LPS is also based on leaders and team members learning to both give and receive reliable commitments about the project goals. Seeing steady workflows as the result of a network of commitments takes time to learn and creates a new level of team collaboration and coordination.

Finally, remember that the power of the LPS comes from a change in behaviour. If it is used to drive performance in a controlled way, it will give the same results as your current approach. You should expect your present mindset to be challenged as you learn to apply the LPS – to feel like a rookie in a new world. And if you don’t feel like this, you might not have left your comfort zone quite yet.