Managing Promises With the Last Planner System: Closing in on Uninterrupted Flow

Hal Macomber1, Gregory A. Howell2 & Dean Reed3

1Principal, Lean Project Consulting, Inc., 36 Kirkland Drive, Andover, MA 01810-2809, Phone +1 978/470-8994,
2Executive Director, Lean Construction Institute, PO Box 1003, Ketchum, ID 83340-1003, Phone +1 208/726-9989, FAX 707/238-1369,
3Lean and Virtual Building Coordinator, DPR Construction, 1450 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, CA 94063, Phone +1 650 474-1450,


TheLast Planner System has been in use for about 10years. During that time the basic structure of the system is unchanged. However,the practices for using the LPShave continued to evolve. In our paper Linguistic Action: Contributing to the Theory of Lean Construction we showed how the structure and usual practices of the LPS creates the situation for making promises reliably. In a following paper Leadership and Project Management: Time for a Change from Fayol to Flores we introduced our un- derstanding of management and the actions needed to change to support operating a project as a net- work of commitments. Inthispaperwebuildonthelanguage-action perspective toproposeakeysetofdistinctions andset of practices for delivering promises on a reliable basis; we call that managing promises. The combination of promising reliably and managing promises creates a basis for designing production systems that are robust to the remaining breakdowns in the project setting bringing us closer to the lean thinking ideal of uninterrupted flow.


Language (linguistic) action perspective, Network of commitments, Project flow



Macomber, H. , Howell, G.A. & Reed, D. 2005, 'Managing Promises With the Last Planner System: Closing in on Uninterrupted Flow' In:, 13th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Sydney, Australia, 19-21 Jul 2005. pp 13-18

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