How to Become a PRINCE2 Certified Trainer

Becoming an Approved PRINCE2 Trainer and being sponsored by an Accredited Training Organization means that you can provide accredited PRINCE2 training. The market for PRINCE2 training courses is large and has also seen some impressive international growth. Tens of thousands of candidates around the world take the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner exams each year, and large numbers of them prepare for those exams by completing PRINCE2 courses. The PRINCE2 project management method is suitable for running any project in any industry, thereby, making it a popular choice for a very wide range of organizations.

PRINCE2 Trainer Requirements

If you are aiming to qualify as an Approved PRINCE2 Trainer, you must meet the following requirements:

– A score of at least 66% in the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam
– At least 2 years’ experience of delivering training courses
– At least 2 years’ experience of project management (or having delivered at least 2 full PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner courses under the guidance of an existing Approved PRINCE2 Trainer)
– You also need to find an Accredited Training Organization (ATO) willing to sponsor you becoming an Approved PRINCE2 Trainer.

Before agreeing to sponsorship, the ATO will likely want to prove that you meet the above requirements. It is, therefore, a good idea to have your PRINCE2 Practitioner candidate number on hand, and mention your certification plans to current or former colleagues who could provide references, if required.

Training the PRINCE2 Trainer

After an ATO has agreed to sponsor you, you will complete a trainer sponsorship program (often called ‘PRINCE2 Train the Trainer’), which aims to help you develop and refine your PRINCE2 training skills. The program will likely include: giving presentations to existing trainers; conducting training sessions for delegates; familiarizing yourself with course materials and any relevant computer software required to deliver a PRINCE2 course; discussions with existing trainers concerning how to improve your training style, and so on. Such activities are designed to prepare you for a formal assessment, during which you will be required to demonstrate that you possess the ability to conduct successful PRINCE2 courses. As part of the formal assessment, you will be observed training delegates and will also be interviewed about your knowledge of the PRINCE2 methodology. The assessor will present his/her findings to you, and then produce a written report. Based upon your performance, the assessor will decide whether or not to recommend you being awarded Approved PRINCE2 Trainer certification.

Should you pass the assessment, you will be certified as an Approved PRINCE2 Trainer for 3 years, subject to yearly monitoring. Before the end of the certification period, you will be re-assessed in order to check whether or not you continue to conform to the standards expected of an Approved PRINCE2 Trainer. In addition, 3-5 years after you have passed the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam (and every 3-5 years subsequently), you will need to prove that your PRINCE2 knowledge is up-to-date by passing the PRINCE2 Re-registration exam with a score of at least 66%.

Enjoy Your PRINCE2 Training Career

While the role of an Approved PRINCE2 Trainer can be challenging, it also has the potential to be highly enjoyable and diverse. For example, you may have the opportunity to train in numerous locations, perhaps delivering PRINCE2 courses in Europe, Asia, Africa, or other regions. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your training equips people with a leading method of managing projects, which is designed to help organisations improve their ability to deliver successful projects on time, on budget, and on schedule in today’s competitive business world.
PRINCE2® is a registered trade mark of the Cabinet Office

Process management (Project Management)

Process management in civil engineering and project management is the management of “systematic series of activities directed towards causing an end result such that one or more inputs will be acted upon to create one or more outputs.”

Process management offers project organizations a means of applying the same quality improvement and defect reduction techniques used in business and manufacturing processes by taking a process view of project activity; modeling discrete activities and high-level processes.

The term process management usually refers to the management of engineering processes and project management processes where a process is a collection of related, structured tasks that produce a specific service or product to address a certain goal for a particular actor or set of actors.

Processes can be executed with procedures. They can be described as a sequence of steps that can execute a process and their value lies in that they are an accepted method of accomplishing a consistent performance or results.

Process management provides engineering and project managers with a means of systemically thinking of project organizations, Semantics concepts and logical frameworks that allow project activities to be planned, executed, analyzed and facilitate learning.

In order for process management as defined to deliver consistent performance, it requires definition, elimination of non-Value added activities, continuous improvement, project stakeholder focus and team based approach. Mitchell (2016) notes that managing processes across divisional and organizational boundaries requires a more flexible management strategy as well as close cooperation among managers in diverse functional and operational units to ensure that the process flow is not interrupted by conflicts over lines of authority.

Process management originated as part of the manufacturing-based application of statistical quality control movement in the late 1920s and early 1930s. What is relatively new, however, is the transition of process management methods from a manufacturing environment to a total company orientation and project management.

Process management in the context of project management or engineering represents a change from the traditional concept of organizational authority using hierarchies and organizational structure to one requiring flexibility to ensure efficient process workflows. Mitchell (2016) notes that managing processes across divisional and organizational boundaries requires a more flexible management strategy as well as close cooperation among managers in diverse functional and operational units to ensure that the process flow is not interrupted by conflicts over lines of authority.

Cooper, et. al. note that manufacturing has been “a constant reference point and a source of innovation in construction”. There is a new phenomenon occurring within the construction sector that is based upon the development and use of fundamental core management processes to improve the efficiency of the industry.

In the field of process management the notion of process, according to Mitchell (2016), can be characterized by:

These concepts provides management with the following:

Process management in this context requires engineering knowledge, management activities and skill sets whereas business processes or manufacturing processes require operations management activities, and skill sets.

Process models are `an effective way to show how a process works’. Project Management process modeling tools provide managers and engineering professionals with the ability to model their processes, implement and execute those models, and refine the models based on actual performance. The result is that business process modeling tools can provide transparency into project management processes, as well as the centralization of project organization process models and execution metrics.
A number of modelling/systems analysis techniques exist such as data flow diagrams (DFD), HIPO model (hierarchy + input-process-output), data modeling and IDEF0 (integration definition language 0 for function modelling) process modelling technique.

A process activity that is concurrent or simultaneously executing can be termed a thread.

ISO 9000 promotes the process approach to managing an organization.

…promotes the adoption of a process approach when developing, implementing and
improving the effectiveness of a quality management system, to enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements.

Kanban

Prince2 Certification
Image by/from

Karen Abeyasekere, U.S. Air Force

 

Kanban (看板) (signboard or billboard in Japanese) is a scheduling system for lean manufacturing and just-in-time manufacturing (JIT). Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, developed kanban to improve manufacturing efficiency. Kanban is one method to achieve JIT. The system takes its name from the cards that track production within a factory. For many in the automotive sector, kanban is known as the “Toyota nameplate system” and as such the term is not used by some other automakers.[clarification needed]

Kanban became an effective tool to support running a production system as a whole, and an excellent way to promote improvement. Problem areas are highlighted by measuring lead time and cycle time of the full process and process steps.[clarification needed] One of the main benefits of kanban is to establish an upper limit to work in process inventory to avoid overcapacity. Other systems with similar effect exist, for example CONWIP. A systematic study of various configurations of kanban systems, of which CONWIP is an important special case, can be found in Tayur (1993), among other papers.

A goal of the kanban system is to limit the buildup of excess inventory at any point in production. Limits on the number of items waiting at supply points are established and then reduced as inefficiencies are identified and removed. Whenever a limit is exceeded, this points to an inefficiency that should be addressed.

The system originates from the simplest visual stock replenishment signaling system, an empty box. This was first developed in the UK factories producing Spitfires during the Second World War, and was known as the “two bin system.” In the late 1940s, Toyota started studying supermarkets with the idea of applying shelf-stocking techniques to the factory floor. In a supermarket, customers generally retrieve what they need at the required time—no more, no less. Furthermore, the supermarket stocks only what it expects to sell in a given time, and customers take only what they need, because future supply is assured. This observation led Toyota to view a process as being a customer of one or more preceding processes and to view the preceding processes as a kind of store.

Kanban aligns inventory levels with actual consumption. A signal tells a supplier to produce and deliver a new shipment when a material is consumed. This signal is tracked through the replenishment cycle, bringing visibility to the supplier, consumer, and buyer.

Kanban uses the rate of demand to control the rate of production, passing demand from the end customer up through the chain of customer-store processes. In 1953, Toyota applied this logic in their main plant machine shop.

A key indicator of the success of production scheduling based on demand, pushing, is the ability of the demand-forecast to create such a push. Kanban, by contrast, is part of an approach where the pull comes from demand and products are made to order. Re-supply or production is determined according to customer orders.

In contexts where supply time is lengthy and demand is difficult to forecast, often the best one can do is to respond quickly to observed demand. This situation is exactly what a kanban system accomplishes, in that it is used as a demand signal that immediately travels through the supply chain. This ensures that intermediate stock held in the supply chain are better managed, and are usually smaller. Where the supply response is not quick enough to meet actual demand fluctuations, thereby causing potential lost sales, a stock building may be deemed more appropriate and is achieved by placing more kanban in the system.

Taiichi Ohno stated that to be effective, kanban must follow strict rules of use. Toyota, for example, has six simple rules, and close monitoring of these rules is a never-ending task, thereby ensuring that the kanban does what is required.

Toyota has formulated six rules for the application of kanban:

Kanban cards are a key component of kanban and they signal the need to move materials within a production facility or to move materials from an outside supplier into the production facility. The kanban card is, in effect, a message that signals a depletion of product, parts, or inventory. When received, the kanban triggers replenishment of that product, part, or inventory. Consumption, therefore, drives demand for more production, and the kanban card signals demand for more product—so kanban cards help create a demand-driven system.

It is widely held by proponents of lean production and manufacturing that demand-driven systems lead to faster turnarounds in production and lower inventory levels, helping companies implementing such systems be more competitive.

In the last few years, systems sending kanban signals electronically have become more widespread. While this trend is leading to a reduction in the use of kanban cards in aggregate, it is still common in modern lean production facilities to find the use of kanban cards. In various software systems, kanban is used for signalling demand to suppliers through email notifications. When stock of a particular component is depleted by the quantity assigned on kanban card, a “kanban trigger” is created (which may be manual or automatic), a purchase order is released with predefined quantity for the supplier defined on the card, and the supplier is expected to dispatch material within a specified lead-time.

Kanban cards, in keeping with the principles of kanban, simply convey the need for more materials. A red card lying in an empty parts cart conveys that more parts are needed.

An example of a simple kanban system implementation is a “three-bin system” for the supplied parts, where there is no in-house manufacturing. One bin is on the factory floor (the initial demand point), one bin is in the factory store (the inventory control point), and one bin is at the supplier. The bins usually have a removable card containing the product details and other relevant information, the classic kanban card.

When the bin on the factory floor is empty (because the parts in it were used up in a manufacturing process), the empty bin and its kanban card are returned to the factory store (the inventory control point). The factory store replaces the empty bin on the factory floor with the full bin from the factory store, which also contains a kanban card. The factory store sends the empty bin with its kanban card to the supplier. The supplier’s full product bin, with its kanban card, is delivered to the factory store; the supplier keeps the empty bin. This is the final step in the process. Thus, the process never runs out of product—and could be described as a closed loop, in that it provides the exact amount required, with only one spare bin so there is never oversupply. This ‘spare’ bin allows for uncertainties in supply, use, and transport in the inventory system. A good kanban system calculates just enough kanban cards for each product. Most factories that use kanban use the colored board system (heijunka box).

Many manufacturers have implemented electronic kanban (sometimes referred to as e-kanban) systems. These help to eliminate common problems such as manual entry errors and lost cards. E-kanban systems can be integrated into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, enabling real-time demand signaling across the supply chain and improved visibility. Data pulled from E-kanban systems can be used to optimize inventory levels by better tracking supplier lead and replenishment times.

E-kanban is a signaling system that uses a mix of technology to trigger the movement of materials within a manufacturing or production facility. Electronic Kanban differs from traditional kanban in using technology to replace traditional elements like kanban cards with barcodes and electronic messages like email or Electronic data interchange.

A typical electronic kanban system marks inventory with barcodes, which workers scan at various stages of the manufacturing process to signal usage. The scans relay messages to internal/external stores to ensure the restocking of products. Electronic kanban often uses the internet as a method of routing messages to external suppliers and as a means to allow a real-time view of inventory, via a portal, throughout the supply chain.

Organizations like the Ford Motor Company and Bombardier Aerospace have used electronic kanban systems to improve processes. Systems are now widespread from single solutions or bolt on modules to ERP systems.

In a kanban system, adjacent upstream and downstream workstations communicate with each other through their cards, where each container has a kanban associated with it. Economic Order Quantity is important. The
two most important types of kanbans are:

The Kanban philosophy and Task Boards are also used in Agile project management to coordinate tasks in project teams. An online demonstration can be seen in an Agile Simulator.

Implementation of Kanban can be described in the following manner:

Kanban (development)

Prince2 Certification
Image by/from Andy Carmichael

Kanban (Japanese 看板, signboard or billboard) is a lean method to manage and improve work across human systems. This approach aims to manage work by balancing demands with available capacity, and by improving the handling of system-level bottlenecks.

Work items are visualized to give participants a view of progress and process, from start to finish—usually via a Kanban board. Work is pulled as capacity permits, rather than work being pushed into the process when requested.

In knowledge work and in software development, the aim is to provide a visual process management system which aids decision-making about what, when, and how much to produce. The underlying Kanban method originated in lean manufacturing, which was inspired by the Toyota Production System. Kanban is commonly used in software development in combination with other methods and frameworks such as Scrum.

David Anderson’s 2010 book, Kanban, describes an evolution of the approach from a 2004 project at Microsoft using a theory of constraints approach and incorporating a drum-buffer-rope (which is comparable to the kanban pull system), to a 2006-2007 project at Corbis in which the kanban method was identified. In 2009, Don Reinertsen published a book on second-generation lean product development which describes the adoption of the kanban system and the use of data collection and an economic model for management decision-making. Another early contribution came from Corey Ladas, whose 2008 book Scrumban suggested that kanban could improve Scrum for software development. Ladas saw Scrumban as the transition from Scrum to Kanban. Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry published Personal Kanban, applying Kanban to individuals and small teams, in 2011. In Kanban from the Inside (2014), Mike Burrows explained kanban’s principles, practices and underlying values and related them to earlier theories and models. In Agile Project Management with Kanban (2015), Eric Brechner provides an overview of Kanban in practice at Microsoft and Xbox. Kanban Change Leadership (2015), by Klaus Leopold and Siegfried Kaltenecker, explained the method from the perspective of change management and provided guidance to change initiatives. A condensed guide to the method was published in 2016, incorporating improvements and extensions from the early kanban projects.

The diagram here shows a software development workflow on a Kanban board. Kanban boards, designed for the context in which they are used, vary considerably and may show work item types (“features” and “user stories” here), columns delineating workflow activities, explicit policies, and swimlanes (rows crossing several columns, used for grouping user stories by feature here). The aim is to make the general workflow and the progress of individual items clear to participants and stakeholders.

As described in books on Kanban for software development, the two primary practices of Kanban are:

Four additional general practices of Kanban listed in Essential Kanban Condensed, are:

The Kanban board in the diagram above highlights the first three general practices of Kanban.

Kanban manages workflow directly on the Kanban board. The WIP limits for development steps provide development teams immediate feedback on common workflow issues.

For example on the Kanban board shown above, the “Deployment” step has a WIP limit of five (5) and there are currently five epics shown in that step. No more work items can move into deployment until one or more epics complete that step (moving to “Delivered”). This prevents the “Deployment” step from being overwhelmed. Team members working on “Feature Acceptance” (the previous step) might get stuck because they can’t deploy new epics. They can see why immediately on the board and help with the current epic deployments.

Once the five epics in the “Deployment” step are delivered, the two epics from the “Ready” sub-column of “Feature Acceptance” (the previous step) can be moved to the “Deployment” column. When those two epics are delivered, no other epics can be deployed (assuming no new epics are ready). Now, team members working on deployment are stuck. They can see why immediately and help with feature acceptance.

This workflow control works similarly for every step. Problems are visual and evident immediately, and re-planning can be done continuously. The work management is made possible by limiting work in progress in a way team members can see and track at all times.

Although it is usually used for software development and software teams, the kanban method has been applied to other aspects of knowledge work.. Business functions which have used kanban include:

Lean construction

Lean construction is a combination of operational research and practical development in design and construction with an adaption of lean manufacturing principles and practices to the end-to-end design and construction process. Unlike manufacturing, construction is a project-based production process. Lean Construction is concerned with the alignment and holistic pursuit of concurrent and continuous improvements in all dimensions of the built and natural environment: design, construction, activation, maintenance, salvaging, and recycling (Abdelhamid 2007, Abdelhamid et al. 2008). This approach tries to manage and improve construction processes with minimum cost and maximum value by considering customer needs (Koskela et al. 2002), while it helps to achieve and maintain sustainability in construction sector (Solaimani & Sedighi, 2019).

Lauri Koskela, in 1992, challenged the construction management community to consider the inadequacies of the time-cost-quality tradeoff paradigm. Another paradigm-breaking anomaly was that observed by Ballard (1994), Ballard and Howell (1994a and 1994b), and Howell (1998). Analysis of project plan failures indicated that “normally only about 50% of the tasks on weekly work plans are completed by the end of the plan week” and that constructors could mitigate most of the problems through “active management of variability, starting with the structuring of the project (temporary production system) and continuing through its operation and improvement,” (Ballard and Howell 2003).

Evidence from research and observations indicated that the conceptual models of Construction Management and the tools it utilizes (work breakdown structure, critical path method, and earned value management) fail to deliver projects ‘on-time, at budget, and at desired quality’ (Abdelhamid 2004). With recurring negative experiences on projects, evidenced by endemic quality problems and rising litigation, it became evident that the governing principles of construction management needed revisiting. One comment published by the CMAA, in its Sixth Annual Survey of Owners (2006), pointed to concern about work methods and the cost of waste:

“While the cost of steel and cement are making headlines, the less publicized failures in the management of construction projects can be disastrous. Listen carefully to the message in this comment. We are not talking about just materials, methods, equipment, or contract documents. We are talking about how we work to deliver successful capital projects and how we manage the costs of inefficiency.”

Koskela (2000) argued that the mismatch between the conceptual models and observed reality underscored the lack of robustness in the existing constructs and signaled the need for a theory of production in construction. Koskela then used the ideal production system embodied in the Toyota Production System to develop a more overarching production management paradigm for project-based production systems where production is conceptualized in three complementary ways, namely, as a Transformation (T), as a Flow (F), and as Value generation (V).

Koskela and Howell (2002) also presented a review of existing management theory – specifically as related to the planning, execution, and control paradigms – in project-based production systems. Both conceptualizations provide a solid intellectual foundation of lean construction as evident from both research and practice (Abdelhamid 2004).

Recognizing that construction sites reflect prototypical behavior of complex and chaotic systems, especially in the flow of both material and information on and off site, Bertelsen (2003a and 2003b) suggested that construction should be modeled using chaos and complex systems theory.
Bertelsen (2003b) specifically argued that construction could and should be understood in three complementary ways:

The term lean construction was coined by the International Group for Lean Construction in its first meeting in 1993 (Gleeson et al. 2007). Greg Howell and Glenn Ballard (founders of the Lean Construction Institute in 1997) both maintain that Construction in Lean Construction refers to the entire industry and not the phase during which construction takes place. Thus, Lean Construction is for owners, architects, designers, engineers, constructors, suppliers & end users.

In any case, the term Lean Construction has escaped canonical definition. There has been a number of reasons for that. The body of knowledge is in a state of development since 1990. Nonetheless, a definition is needed to be able to operationalize the concepts and principles contained in the philosophy. It is insightful to study the change of definition over time as that represents the evolution and advancement in the state of knowledge about Lean Construction.

The reference to Lean Construction as a proper noun is not an attempt to falsely distinguish it from other areas that focus on construction project management. It is a proper noun because it refers to a very specific set of concepts, principles, and practices that are distinct from conventional design and construction management practices .

A number of groups have proposed definitions: The International Group for Lean Construction; The Lean Construction Institute; The Associated General Contractors of America; Construction Management Association of America, and others. Researchers have also put forward definitions as foundation for their work and to invite others to add, modify and critique. A sampling is provided here.

Lean Construction is a “way to design production systems to minimize waste of materials, time, and effort in order to generate the maximum possible amount of value,” (Koskela et al. 2002). Designing a production system to achieve the stated ends is only possible through the collaboration of all project participants (Owner, A/E, contractors, Facility Managers, End-user) at early stages of the project. This goes beyond the contractual arrangement of design/build or constructability reviews where contractors, and sometime facility managers, merely react to designs instead of informing and influencing the design (Abdelhamid et al. 2008).

Lean Construction recognizes that desired ends affect the means to achieve these ends, and that available means will affect realized ends (Lichtig 2004). Essentially, Lean Construction aims to embody the benefits of the Master Builder concept (Abdelhamid et al. 2008).

“One can think of lean construction in a way similar to mesoeconomics. Lean construction draws upon the principles of project-level management and upon the principles that govern production-level management. Lean construction recognizes that any successful project undertaking will inevitably involve the interaction between project and production management.” (Abdelhamid 2007)

Lean construction supplements traditional construction management approaches with (Abdelhamid 2007): (1) two critical and necessary dimensions for successful capital project delivery by requiring the deliberate consideration of material and information flow and value generation in a production system; and (2) different project and production management (planning-execution-control) paradigms.

While lean construction is identical to lean production in spirit, it is different in how it was conceived as well as how it is practiced. There is a view that “adaptation” of Lean Manufacturing/Production forms the basis of Lean Construction. The view of Lauri Koskela, Greg Howell, and Glenn Ballard is very different, with the origin of lean construction arising mainly from the need for a production theory in construction and anomalies that were observed in the reliability of weekly production planning.

Getting work to flow reliably and predictably on a construction site requires the impeccable alignment of the entire supply chain responsible for constructed facilities such that value is maximized and waste is minimized. With such a broad scope, it is fair to say that tools found in Lean Manufacturing and Lean Production, as practiced by Toyota and others, have been adapted to be used in the fulfillment of Lean construction principles. TQM, SPC, six-sigma, have all found their way into lean construction. Similarly, tools and methods found in other areas, such as in social science and business, are used where they are applicable. The tools and methods in construction management, such as CPM and work breakdown structure, etc., are also utilized in lean construction implementations. The three unique tools and methods that were specifically conceived for lean construction are the Last Planner System, Target Value Design, and the Lean Project Delivery System.

If the tool, method, and/or technique will assist in fulfilling the aims of lean construction, it is considered a part of the toolkit available for use. A sampling of these tools includes: BIM (Lean Design), A3, process design (Lean Design), offsite fabrication and JIT (Lean Supply), value chain mapping (Lean Assembly), visual site (Lean Assembly); 5S (Lean Assembly), daily crew huddles (Lean Assembly).

The priority for all construction work is to:

While lean construction’s main tool for making design and construction processes more predictable is the Last Planner System (see below) and derivatives of it, other lean tools already proven in manufacturing have been adapted to the construction industry with equal success. These include: 5S, Kanban, Kaizen events, quick setup/changeover, Poka Yoke, visual control and 5 Whys (Mastroianni and Abdelhamid 2003, Salem et al. 2005).

The early involvement of contractors and suppliers is seen as a key differentiator for construction so called ‘best practice’. While there are Trade Marked business processes (see below), academics have also addressed related concepts such as ‘early contractor involvement’ (ECI).

Using IPD, project participants can overcome key organizational and contractual problems. The IPD approach to contracting aligns project objectives with the interests of key participants. IPD relies on participant selection, transparency and continuing dialog. Construction consumers might consider rethinking their contracting strategies to share more fully in the benefits. The IPD approach creates an organization with the ability to apply Lean Project Delivery (LPD) principles and practices. (Matthews and Howell 2005)

There are at least five principal forms of contract that support lean construction

Other papers explain Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and IFoA. PPC2000, IFoA and ‘alliancing agreements’ were among the topics discussed at the ‘Lean in the Public Sector’ (LIPS) conference held in 2009.

Integrated Lean Project Delivery (ILPD) is a process trademarked by The Boldt Group. It was created and is practiced by The Boldt Group’s subsidiary, The Boldt Company. The process aims to eliminate waste across the construction value chain, through evaluation of initial planning and design, and examination of construction processes to predict where and when waste will occur, which is then eliminated through the use of lean tools in the IPD process.

An ILPD contract is a multi-party agreement that specifies the use of lean practices as conceived in the Lean Project Delivery System. This distinction is needed because Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is now[when?] only referring to the multi-party agreement regardless of what practices are used, the so-called IPD-lite or IPD-ish.

In the UK, a major R&D project, Building Down Barriers, was launched in 1997 to adapt the Toyota Production System for use in the construction sector. The resulting supply chain management toolset was tested and refined on two pilot projects and the comprehensive and detailed process-based toolset was published in 2000 as the ‘Building Down Barriers Handbook of Supply Chain Management-The Essentials’. The project demonstrated very clearly that lean thinking would only deliver major performance improvements if the construction sector learned from the extensive experience of other business sectors. Lean thinking must become the way that all the firms in the design and construction supply chain co-operate with each other at a strategic level that over-arches individual projects. In the aerospace sector, these long-term supply-side relationships are called a ‘Virtual Company’, in other business sectors they are called an ‘Extended Lean Enterprise’.

The UK ‘Building Down Barriers Handbook of Supply Chain Management-The Essentials’ states that: ‘The commercial core of supply chain management is setting up long-term relationships based on improving the value of what the supply chain delivers, improving quality and reducing underlying costs through taking out waste and inefficiency. This is the opposite of ‘business as usual’ in the construction sector, where people do things on project after project in the same old inefficient ways, forcing each other to give up profits and overhead recovery in order to deliver at what seems the market price. What results is a fight over who keeps any of the meagre margins that result from each project, or attempts to recoup ‘negative margins’ through ‘claims’, The last thing that receives time or energy in this desperate, project-by-project gladiatorial battle for survival is consideration of how to reduce underlying costs or improve quality’.

The Last Planner System, as developed by the Lean Construction Institute, is:

The collaborative, commitment-based planning system that integrates should-can-will-did planning (pull planning, make-ready, look-ahead planning) with constraint analysis, weekly work planning based upon reliable promises, and learning based upon analysis of PPC (plan percent complete) and reasons for variance.

Users such as owners, clients or construction companies, can use LPS to achieve better performance in design and construction through increased schedule/programme predictability (i.e. work is completed as and when promised).

LPS is a system of inter-related elements, and full benefits come when all are implemented together. It is based on simple paper forms, so it can be administered using Post-it notes, paper, pencil, eraser and photocopier. A spreadsheet can help.

LPS begins with collaborative scheduling/programming engaging the main project suppliers from the start. Risk analysis ensures that float is built in where it will best protect programme integrity and predictability. Where appropriate the process can be used for programme compression too. In this way, one constructor took 6 weeks out of an 18-week programme for the construction of a 40 bed hotel. Benefits to the client are enormous.

Figure 1: intense discussion during a programme compression workshop

Before work starts, team leaders make tasks ready so that when work should be done, it can be. Why put work into production if a pre-requisite is missing? This MakeReady process continues throughout the project.

Figure 2: part of a MakeReady form for documenting the process of making tasks ready (this one for use in design)

There is a weekly work planning (WWP) meeting involving all the last planners – design team leaders and/or trade supervisors on site. It is in everyone’s interest to explore inter-dependencies between tasks and prevent colleagues from over-committing.

Figure 3: part of a Weekly Work Plan form used by trade foremen on site or design team leaders to prepare for the WWP meeting.

This weekly work planning processes is built around promises. The agreed programme defines when tasks should be done and acts as a request to the supplier to do that task. The last planners (that is the trade foremen on site or design team leaders in a design process) only promise once they have clarified the conditions of satisfaction and are clear that the task can be done.

Figure 4: the promise cycle (after Fernando Flores)

Once the task is complete the last planner responsible declares completion so that site management or the next trade can assure themselves that it is complete to an appropriate standard.

A key measure of the success of the Last Planner system is PPC. This measures the Percentage of Promises Completed on time. As PPC increases. project productivity and profitability increase, with step changes at around 70% and 85%. This score is measured site-wide and displayed around the site. Weekly measures are used by the project and by individual suppliers as the basis for learning how to improve the predictability of the work programme and hence the PPC scores.

A key part of the continual improvement process is a study of the reasons why tasks promised in the WWP are delivered late. The following chart shows typical reasons:

Figure 5: example of a reasons Pareto chart

Recording the reasons in a Pareto chart like the one above makes it easy to see where attention is most likely to yield the most results. Using tools like 5 Why analysis and cause-effect diagrams will help the team understand how they can improve the clarity of information and ensure that there are sufficient operatives.

Last Planner benefits don’t stop at project predictability, profit and productivity; it contributes to positive changes in other industry KPIs. Danish research shows almost half the accidents and up to 70% less sickness absence on LPS managed sites.

LCI retains a registered Trademark on the term and Copyright in the idea and materials to prevent people who misunderstand or misrepresent the system from using it in trade. Consulting companies or individuals wishing to use the Last Planner System in trade (commercial offering of service) must first be approved by LCI. Consultants are expected to make financial and other contributions to LCI in recognition of the work and effort LCI put into developing Last Planner.

Last Planner System development continues under the direction of Lean Construction Institute Directors Professor Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell with support from users around the world. For more information about the development process see Ballard (1994, 2000) and Ballard and Howell (2004) for example.

For a detailed description and list of the benefits of LPS, see Mossman: Last Planner®: 5 + 1 crucial & collaborative conversations for predictable design & construction delivery and for additional references see the Designing Buildings wiki.

There are many differences between the Lean Construction (LC) approach and the Project Management Institute (PMI) approach to construction. These include:

Various networks and institutes conduct research and teach Lean Construction.

Various universities teach and conduct research on lean construction:

Lean project management

Prince2 Certification
Image by/from WikiMedia Commons

Lean project management is the application of lean concepts such as lean construction, lean manufacturing and lean thinking to project management.

Lean project management has many ideas in common with other lean concepts; however, the main principle of lean project management is delivering more value with less waste in a project context.

Lean Project Management applies all five of those principles to project management.

“Lean” is a systematic method for the elimination of waste (“Muda”) within a manufacturing system. Lean also takes into account waste created through overburden (“Muri”) and waste created through unevenness in work loads (“Mura”). Working from the perspective of the client who consumes a product or service, “value” is any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.

Lean approach makes obvious what adds value by reducing everything else which does not add value. This management philosophy is derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS) and identified as “lean” only in the 1990s. TPS is renowned for its focus on reduction of the original Toyota seven wastes to improve overall customer value, but there are varying perspectives on how this is best achieved. The steady growth of Toyota, from a small company to the world’s largest automaker, has focused attention on how it has achieved this success.

In general, a project can be said to be Lean if it applies the principles of lean thinking.. There are, however, different implementations of this idea that don’t necessarily apply all of the principles with equal weight.

Two well-known types are “Kanban” and “Last Planner System”.

The term Kanban comes from manufacturing but was adapted for software development by David Anderson when he was working at Microsoft in 2005 and inherited an underperforming maintenance team. The success of the approach in that environment, led Anderson to experiment with Kanban in projects, with similarly positive results. As Anderson publicised his findings through talks and his book , software developers began to experiment with Kanban and it is now one of the most widely used methods for managing agile software development projects.

The Last Planner System is used principally in construction and particularly focuses on pull and flow but perhaps more important than those is its emphasis on a collaborative approach in which all trades work together to create a visual representation of the work that needs to be done.

Critical chain project management

Critical chain project management (CCPM) is a method of planning and managing projects that emphasizes the resources (people, equipment, physical space) required to execute project tasks. It was developed by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. It differs from more traditional methods that derive from critical path and PERT algorithms, which emphasize task order and rigid scheduling. A critical chain project network strives to keep resources levelled, and requires that they be flexible in start times.

Critical chain project management is based on methods and algorithms derived from Theory of Constraints. The idea of CCPM was introduced in 1997 in Eliyahu M. Goldratt’s book, Critical Chain. Application of CCPM has been credited with achieving projects 10% to 50% faster and/or cheaper than the traditional methods (i.e., CPM, PERT, Gantt, etc.) developed from 1910 to 1950s.

According to studies of traditional project management methods by Standish Group and others as of 1998, only 44% of projects typically finish on time. Projects typically complete at 222% of the duration originally planned, 189% of the original budgeted cost, 70% of projects fall short of their planned scope (technical content delivered), and 30% are cancelled before completion. CCPM tries to improve performance relative to these traditional statistics.

With traditional project management methods, 30% of lost time and resources are typically consumed by wasteful techniques such as bad multitasking (in particular task switching), student syndrome, Parkinson’s law, in-box delays, and lack of prioritization.

In a project plan, the critical chain is the sequence of both precedence- and resource-dependent tasks that prevents a project from being completed in a shorter time, given finite resources. If resources are always available in unlimited quantities, then a project’s critical chain is identical to its critical path method.

Critical chain is an alternative to critical path analysis. Main features that distinguish critical chain from critical path are:

CCPM planning aggregates the large amounts of safety time added to tasks within a project into the buffers—to protect due-date performance and avoid wasting this safety time through bad multitasking, student syndrome, Parkinson’s Law, and poorly synchronized integration.

Critical chain project management uses buffer management instead of earned value management to assess the performance of a project. Some project managers feel that the earned value management technique is misleading, because it does not distinguish progress on the project constraint (i.e., on the critical chain) from progress on non-constraints (i.e., on other paths). Event chain methodology can determine a size of project, feeding, and resource buffers.

A project plan or work breakdown structure (WBS) is created in much the same fashion as with critical path. The plan is worked backward from a completion date with each task starting as late as possible.

A duration is assigned to each task. Some software implementations add a second duration: one a “best guess,” or 50% probability duration, and a second “safe” duration, which should have higher probability of completion (perhaps 90% or 95%, depending on the amount of risk that the organization can accept). Other software implementations go through the duration estimate of every task and remove a fixed percentage to be aggregated into the buffers.

Resources are assigned to each task, and the plan is resource leveled, using the aggressive durations. The longest sequence of resource-leveled tasks that lead from beginning to end of the project is then identified as the critical chain. The justification for using the 50% estimates is that half of the tasks will finish early and half will finish late, so that the variance over the course of the project should be zero.

Recognizing that tasks are more likely to take more time than less time due to Parkinson’s law, Student syndrome, or other reasons, CCPM uses “buffers” to monitor project schedule and financial performance. The “extra” duration of each task on the critical chain—the difference between the “safe” durations and the 50% durations—is gathered in a buffer at the end of the project. In the same way, buffers are gathered at the end of each sequence of tasks that feed into the critical chain. The date at the end of the project buffer is given to external stakeholders as the delivery date. Finally, a baseline is established, which enables financial monitoring of the project.

An alternate duration-estimation methodology uses probability-based quantification of duration using Monte Carlo simulation. In 1999, a researcher[who?] applied simulation to assess the impact of risks associated with each component of project work breakdown structure on project duration, cost and performance. Using Monte Carlo simulation, the project manager can apply different probabilities for various risk factors that affect a project component. The probability of occurrence can vary from 0% to 100% chance of occurrence. The impact of risk is entered into the simulation model along with the probability of occurrence. The number of iterations of Monte Carlo simulation depend on the tolerance level of error and provide a density graph illustrating the overall probability of risk impact on project outcome.

When the plan is complete and the project is ready to start, the project network is fixed and the buffers’ sizes are “locked” (i.e., their planned duration may not be altered during the project), because they are used to monitor project schedule and financial performance.

With no slack in the duration of individual tasks, resources are encouraged to focus on the task at hand to complete it and hand it off to the next person or group. The objective here is to eliminate bad multitasking. This is done by providing priority information to all resources. The literature draws an analogy with a relay race. Each element on the project is encouraged to move as quickly as they can: when they are running their “leg” of the project, they should be focused on completing the assigned task as quickly as possible, with minimization of distractions and multitasking. In some case studies, actual batons are reportedly hung by the desks of people when they are working on critical chain tasks so that others know not to interrupt. The goal, here, is to overcome the tendency to delay work or to do extra work when there seems to be time. The CCPM literature contrasts this with “traditional” project management that monitors task start and completion dates. CCPM encourages people to move as quickly as possible, regardless of dates.

Because task duration has been planned at the 50% probability duration, there is pressure on resources to complete critical chain tasks as quickly as possible, overcoming student’s syndrome and Parkinson’s Law.

According to proponents, monitoring is, in some ways, the greatest advantage of the Critical Chain method. Because individual tasks vary in duration from the 50% estimate, there is no point in trying to force every task to complete “on time;” estimates can never be perfect. Instead, we monitor the buffers created during the planning stage. A fever chart or similar graph can be created and posted to show the consumption of buffer as a function of project completion. If the rate of buffer consumption is low, the project is on target. If the rate of consumption is such that there is likely to be little or no buffer at the end of the project, then corrective actions or recovery plans must be developed to recover the loss. When the buffer consumption rate exceeds some critical value (roughly: the rate where all of the buffer may be expected to be consumed before the end of the project, resulting in late completion), then those alternative plans need to be implemented.

Critical sequence was originally identified in the 1960s.

Tzvi Raz, Robert Barnes and Dov Dvir, Project Management Journal, December 2003.

Project engineering

Project engineering includes all parts of the design of manufacturing or processing facilities, either new or modifications to and expansions of existing facilities. A “project” consists of a coordinated series of activities or tasks performed by engineers, designers, drafters and others from one or more engineering disciplines or departments. Project tasks consist of such things as performing calculations, writing specifications, preparing bids, reviewing equipment proposals and evaluating or selecting equipment and preparing various lists, such as equipment and materials lists, and creating drawings such as electrical, piping and instrumentation diagrams, physical layouts and other drawings used in design and construction. A small project may be under the direction of a project engineer. Large projects are typically under the direction of a project manager or management team. Some facilities have in house staff to handle small projects, while some major companies have a department that does internal project engineering. Large projects are typically contracted out to engineering companies. Staffing at engineering companies varies according to the work load and duration of employment may only last until an individual’s tasks are completed.

The role of the project engineer can often be described as that of a liaison between the project manager and the technical disciplines involved in a project. The distribution of “liaising” and performing tasks within the technical disciplines can vary wildly from project to project; this often depends on the type of product, its maturity, and the size of the company, to name a few. It is important for a project engineer to understand that balance. The project engineer should be knowledgeable enough to be able to speak intelligently within the various disciplines, and not purely be a liaison. The project engineer is also often the primary technical point of contact for the consumer.

A project engineer’s responsibilities include schedule preparation, pre-planning and resource forecasting for engineering and other technical activities relating to the project. They may also be in charge of performance management of vendors. They assure the accuracy of financial forecasts, which tie-in to project schedules. They ensure projects are completed according to project plans. Project engineers manage project team resources and training and develop extensive project management experience and expertise.

When use, an engineering company is generally contracted to conduct a study (capital cost estimate or technical assessment) or to design a project. Projects are designed to achieve some specific objective, ranging in scope from simple modifications to new factories or expansions costing hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. The client usually provides the engineering company with a scoping document listing the details of the objective in terms of such things as production rate and product specifications and general to specific information about processes and equipment to be used and the expected deliverables, such as calculations, drawings, lists, specifications, schedules, etc. The client is typically involved in the entire design process and makes decisions throughout, including the technology, type of equipment to use, bid evaluation and supplier selection, the layout of equipment and operational considerations. Depending on the project the engineering company may perform material and energy balances to size equipment and to quantify inputs of materials and energy (steam, electric power, fuel). This information is used to write specifications for the equipment. The equipment specifications are sent out for bids. The client, the engineering company or both select the equipment. The equipment suppliers provide drawings of the equipment, which are used by the engineering company’s mechanical engineers, and drafters to make general arrangement drawings, which show how the pieces of equipment are located in relation to other equipment. Layout drawings show specific information about the equipment, electric motors powering the equipment and such things as auxiliary equipment (pumps, fans, air compressors), piping and buildings. The engineering company maintains an equipment list with major equipment, auxiliary equipment, motors, etc. Electrical engineers are involved with power supply to motors and equipment. Process engineers perform material and energy balances and design the piping and instrumentation diagrams to show how equipment is supplied with process fluids, water, air, gases, etc. and the type of control loops used. The instrumentation and controls engineers specify the instrumentation and controls and handle any computer controls and control rooms. Civil and structural engineers deal with site layout and engineering, building design and structural concerns like foundations, pads, structures, supports and bracing for equipment. Environmental engineers deal with any air emissions and treatment of liquid effluent.

The various fields and topics that projects engineers are involved with include:

Project engineers are often project managers with qualifications in engineering or construction management. Other titles include field engineer, construction engineer, or construction project engineer. In smaller projects, this person may also be responsible for contracts and will be called an assistant project manager. A similar role is undertaken by a client’s engineer or owner’s engineer, but by inference, these often act more in the interests of the commissioning company.

Project engineers do not necessarily do design work, but instead represent the contractor or client out in the field, help tradespeople interpret the job’s designs, ensure the job is constructed according to the project plans, and assist project controls, including budgeting, scheduling, and planning. In some cases a project engineer is responsible for assisting the assigned project manager with regard to design and a project and with the execution of one or more simultaneous projects in accordance with a valid, executed contract, per company policies and procedures and work instructions for customized and standardized plants.

Typical responsibilities may include: daily operations of field work activities and organization of subcontractors; coordination of the implementation of a project, ensuring it is being built correctly; project schedules and forecasts; interpretation of drawings for tradesmen; review of engineering deliverables; redlining drawings; regular project status reports; budget monitoring and trend tracking; bill of materials creation and maintenance; effective communications between engineering, technical, construction, and project controls groups; and assistance to the project manager.

Organizational project management

The term Organizational Project Management (OPM) was coined by John Schlichter in May 1998 in a meeting of the Standards Committee of the Project Management Institute. OPM was defined as the execution of an organization’s strategies through projects by combining the systems of portfolio management, program management, and project management. This definition was approved by a team of hundreds of professionals from 35 countries and was published as part of PMI’s Organizational Project Management Maturity Model standard in 2003 and updated later to a second edition in 2008 when it also became an ANSI standard. The standard was updated to a third edition in 2013. The term “Organizational Project Management” should be capitalized because the term is a conventional designation for exactly the systems of processes elaborated in ANSI/PMI 08-004-2008, because it is a proper name for that system and that system is definitive and regimented in its application, and because it does not denote generically any project management that is done in organizations.

According to PMI (2003, 2008, 2013)

Organizational Project Management is the systematic management of projects, programs, and portfolios in alignment with the achievement of strategic goals. The concept of organizational project management is based on the idea that there is a correlation between an organization’s capabilities in project management, program management, and portfolio management and the organization’s effectiveness in implementing strategy.

Tasks in Project Management

In project management, a task is an activity that needs to be accomplished within a defined period of time or by a deadline to work towards work-related goals. It is a small essential piece of a job that serves as a means to differentiate various components of a project. A task can be broken down into assignments which should also have a defined start and end date or a deadline for completion. One or more assignments on a task puts the task under execution. Completion of all assignments on a specific task normally renders the task completed. Tasks can be linked together to create dependencies.

Tasks completion generally requires the coordination of others. Coordinated human interaction takes on the role of combining the integration of time, energy, effort, ability, and resources of multiple individuals to meet a common goal. Coordination can also be thought of as the critical mechanism that links or ties together the efforts on the singular level to that of the larger task being completed by multiple members. Coordination allows for the successful completion of the otherwise larger tasks that one might encounter.

In most projects, tasks may suffer one of two major drawbacks: