Feb03

Exploring Kanban at the 2016 P2SL-LCI-AIA Design Forum

The 2016 P2SL Lean Design Forum finished on an extremely high note thanks to Jeff Loeb of CH2MHill. Jeff presented how they actually use KanBan boards in their workflow planning as a tool to better manage flow efficiency in lieu of resource efficiency – which is our industry norm. Kanban is a system to control the logistical chain from a production point of view, and is an inventory control system. Kanban was developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, as a system to improve and maintain a high level of production. 

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The Kanban boards are an attempt to measure projects or tasks as backlog, a series of WIP’s (work-in-progress), verification (QA/QC) and completion and/or delivery. Team members work with each other to complete tasks or projects at hand in lieu of the traditional start/stop and task switching. At first glance it seems to have a tremendous advantage over how we currently deliver work. Kanban is actually the visual control needed to see where problems may be and then make adjustments quickly. More to come from SF as we experiment with Kanban!

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The rest of the forum discussed new software to better develop and deliver early conceptual estimates, framing Wicked Problems – meaning as you solve one problem you create two more. I’m sure none of us have ever experienced this before! The Smith Group discussed their past IPD experience including Big Room presence and the need to change their approach to project delivery. We were able to see the results of a first run survey on IPD project experience across the country – looking forward to much more data from them to better understand how it affected all the team members.

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