This paper explains the role of the Last Planner and behavioral patterns observed in Last Planner meetings. We focus on the Last Planner as the person who serves as the coupling point between planning and production, whose key to success lies in the fine art of balancing what he or she really wants with the ways and means actually available for achieving it. We apply a sociological approach by introducing and discussing a typology of four types of planning behavioral patterns, the Game Player, Gang Pusher, Yes Man, and Last Planner. These types are derived from observing Last Planners on many projects and categorizing their behavior according to (1) the observed individual’s apparent level of commitment to using the Last Planner planning process vs. (2) the degree of conceptual understanding of the Last Planner System that they appear to exhibit. We conclude that no matter how good (or bad) the upstream planning is the real-time adaptation of and commitment to a plan strongly depends on the judgment, communication skills, and choices made by the Last Planner. Knowing what “makes” the Last Planner can be fundamental to the success of system implementation. By assessing patterns of planning behavior, focused training can be offered to help individuals and teams become more knowledgeable and fully-committed Last Planners.
Production planning and control, Last Planner® System, people, culture and change