Lean Design Management in Practice With the Last Planner System

Roar Fosse1 & Glenn Ballard2

1Regional Manager, Lean Construction, Skanska, Oslo, Norway, +4793444588, [email protected]
2Research Director of the Project Production Systems Lab., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, USA, +1 415 710-5531, [email protected]


Although mostly applied to planning of construction work, projects have also benefitted from adopting the Last Planner System® (LPS) to the design phase. This paper investigates how LPS applies lean principles in design management by presenting a case study of a project changing from traditional planning of the design process to using LPS. Before the transition, the project struggled with several common challenges in design and was in danger of not submitting the design proposal on time. After implementing LPS, performance significantly improved, with the design proposal not just submitted on time, but also performing very well in terms of customer requirements regarding cost and quality. It was clearly stated from the design team that they benefitted significantly from LPS. Better team alignment, clearer task description, better sequencing and increased process transparency were some effects, as well as potential problems better identified and solved in time through a weekly plan “check, correct and lookahead”-routine in design meetings. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the practical understanding of how LPS can be applied to design and what outcomes can be achieved. Previous research has established LPS’ potential to counter common challenges in the design process, and the authors hope this paper further strengthens this notion by contributing with additional empirical findings.


Last Planner System, Lean Design, pull planning, PPC.



Fosse, R. & Ballard, G. 2016, 'Lean Design Management in Practice With the Last Planner System' In:, 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 20-22 Jul 2016.

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