Parade Game: Impact of Work Flow Variability on Succeeding Trade Performance

Iris D. Tommelein1, David Riley2 & Greg A. Howell3

1Associate Professor, Civil and Envir. Engrg. Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, 510/643-8678, FAX 510/643-8919, [email protected]
2Assistant Professor, Dept. of Constr. Mgmt., 116 Architecture Hall, College of Architecture, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195-1610, 206/616-1917, FAX 206/685-1976, [email protected].
3Adjunct Professor at Boise State and Virginia Tech. and Executive Director of the Lean Construction Institute, mail: Box 1003, Ketchum, ID 83340 [email protected]


The Parade Game illustrates what impact work-flow variability has on the performance of construction trades and their successors. The game consists of simulating a construction process in which resources produced by one trade are prerequisite to starting work by the next trade. Production-level detail, describing resources being passed from one trade to the next, illustrates that throughput will be reduced, project completion delayed, and waste increased by variations in flow. The game shows that it is possible to reduce waste and shorten project duration by improving the reliability of work flow between trades. Basic production management concepts are thus applied to construction management. They highlight one of the shortcomings of using CPM for field-level planning, which is that CPM does not explicitly represent reliability. The Parade Game can be played in a classroom setting either by hand or using a computer. Computer simulation enables students to experiment with numerous alternatives in order to sharpen their intuition regarding variability, process throughput, buffers, productivity, and crew sizing. Managers interested in schedule compression will benefit from understanding work-flow variability’s impact on succeeding trade performance.


Productivity improvement, contractor coordination, reliability, performance, lean construction, discrete-event simulation, specialty contracting, project management, production management, process modeling.



Tommelein, I. D. , Riley, D. & Howell, G. A. 1998. Parade Game: Impact of Work Flow Variability on Succeeding Trade Performance, 6th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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