How do you organize your projects, construction projects or BIM projects? Is your meeting room real or digital? Are you still working with a printed Gantt chart? Do you stick sticky notes on a wall or are you already digitally moving them? What does in the context WIP Work In Progress?
I’ll enter a meeting room. In this room regular meetings are carried out according to the methodology Lean Construction and Last Planner®. There are many sticky notes on the wall. The background is divided into vertical and horizontal areas. The columns and rows are labeled.
Every now and then I see in meeting rooms that in the left and right area many notes are also partly on top of each other. In the last two years I have received many photos of such scenarios.
The sticky notes have different colors. The number of colors used is limited. That’s why the notes have an additional information about which team member owns the paper. In the notes, the tasks are noted in key words. Several equally colored and equally labeled notes in a row show how many days the team member has promised his team to solve the task. Each note is placed in the grid of columns and rows. Typically, the columns have a day of the week or a date. This allows me to see when a team member is planning to perform a specific task and how long it should take. I can no longer see, but also no less.
BIM-Phases planning, construction and demolition
The scenario of a meeting room that I represent is used every now and then in the construction phase and very seldom in the planning phase and occasionally in the demolition phase. Far too often we see the big beam plans on the walls. The date in the title block is usually quite far in the past. The statements “every now and then”, “very seldom” or “occasionally”, unfortunately correspond to reality. Lean Construction and Load Planner ® are not yet arrived on broad front of us.
WIP Work In Progress in your meeting room
Let’s go back to our meeting room. Do I see the WIP there? I only see the booth that was left by the participants at the end of the meeting. After the next meeting, I will see the status at the time. The WIP cannot be represented. The WIP takes place verbally on the day of the meeting. A continuous documentation is very complex for the project manager or BIM-Manager and is usually not performed as seamlessly as it may be useful or necessary. A presentation of the WIP within the meeting room makes it necessary to enter the team members involved in the week every day. This is impractical!
WIP Work In Progress – your meeting room will be digitally
The methodology of Lean Construction is that “Push” is replaced with “Pull”. With the “Pull” movement comes into the board. This is much easier to do in a digital version than in a note-slip version. Every digital board includes at least five process steps: In preparation, planned, in work, completed and archived. By “Pull”, each team member can show the team where they are up to date with their task.
A digital meeting room can combine all the working methods elegantly. A digital meeting room can be installed spontaneously in any real or virtual meeting room. A digital WIP ensures that the digital meeting room continues to be used between meetings and the project is continued. An update discussion at the beginning of a meeting can be no more. Everyone has a duty and can inform themselves before a meeting. The digital tasks are gradually supplemented by information. Handwritten notes or Excel spreadsheets are no longer required for documentation. A digital WIP also leads to automated charts.
What software can you use?
To display a digital WIP, you can use several products. Any software that has a Kanban representation can do so. But you only have a part of the solution. At the same time, you also need a digital work plane with which you can actively work according to the methodology Lean Construction and Last Planner®. The Software Lean4Team offers these possibilities.
A survey to conclude:
If you are interested, I will be happy to inform you about Lean4Team. The results of my survey I publish in a subsequent article in my blog.