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The Traditional Method Vs. The Last Planner

Piyush 2014-01-16

The Last Planner is a lean based project planning and management system. The Last Planner was developed by Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell. The introduction of the Last Planner has brought significant changes in the Construction Industry. Waiting for information, materials or any design change causes delay in working according to schedule. It is the most important factor in Project completion. When a decision comes late, the work flow is interrupted. The Last Planner helps work in projects to flow. The Last Planner includes foremen and other supervisory staff in planning. The waiting time is cut down. Thus creating conversations and securing commitments to action at the right level at the right time throughout the process.


The methodology of the industry has remained the same throughout these years. The Project Managers avoid going to the Gemba. Gemba is the real place where activities like developing and producing of a product takes place. The stakeholders of project should often meet to plan the requirements of the Gemba. Conversations with the “doers” will result in reasonable and reliable output. The Last Planner helps in coordinating action and towards project objectives. The Last Planner is a lean approach which maximizes value and minimizes waste. Let’s see how the Last Planner differs from the traditional approach:

Sr No.


Traditional Method

The Last Planner 


The Future Can be predicted by detailed planning Unknown and uncertain – shaped by our actions


Objective Short duration and high resource utilization Predictable workflow. A ready team


Planning requires Decisions are made sequentially by specialists and ‘thrown over the wall’ Downstream players are involved in upstream decisions, and vice-versa


Execution results from Telling – Always saying yes Promising – saying “no” when necessary


Source of improvement People doing what they are told Reporting loss of confidence or failure to keep a promise; people are the opportunity


Scheduling Push Pull


People Engagement Directive Collaborative


Contractor  Engagement Control & Command Demand & Lead


Team Functional Cross-Functional


Inventory Economy of Scale Just In Time


QCD Trade off Relational


Process & Design Product design is completed, then process design begins Product and process are designed together


Product Life Cycle Not all product life cycle stages are considered in design All product life cycle stages are considered in design


Lean Enterprise – Supply Chain Separate organizations link together through the market, and take what the market offers Systematic efforts are made to optimize supply chains


Value Stream  Participants build up large inventories to protect their own interests Buffers are sized and located to perform their function of absorbing system variability


Stakeholder Stakeholder interests are not aligned Stakeholder interests are aligned


Learning Learning occurs sporadically Learning is incorporated into project, firm, and SCM

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