Framework for Using A3s to Develop Shared Understanding on Projects

Arjun P. Gupta1, Iris D. Tommelein2 & Katherine Blume3

1Project Historian on CPR and Research Assistant, International Energy Systems, 90-4034 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, Phone +1 510/495-2865, [email protected]
2Director, Project Production Systems Laboratory (, and Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, Phone +1 510/643-8678, FAX 510/643-8919, [email protected]
3Project Director, LEED AP, Southland Industries, 7421 Orangewood Avenue, Garden Grove, CA 92841, Phone +1 714/901-5800, FAX 714/901-5811, [email protected]


Various forms of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) have recently started displacing design-build as the project delivery approach of choice for a number of players in the construction industry. In an IPD setting, the combination of all disciplines working together and concurrently provides for a continuous exchange of ideas and information, leading to more informed decision making than would be possible otherwise. A report format called the A3 has gained prominence in projects managed in IPD settings to facilitate such exchanges and develop a shared understanding among collaborators. Especially in dynamic projects, A3s help in quickly educating new participants on the nature and status of the project. A3s also have the additional advantages of helping people on other projects learn what has already been thought through and providing direct points of contact for further information on the subject presented by them. In this paper, we report on what A3s are. We describe a framework for A3 development and their effective use on projects, based on the A3 process developed in the co-opetition phase of the California Prison Receivership (CPR) project. We draw on reflections from leaders on that project to highlight questions that other projects might face and suggest means to increase the likelihood of successful implementation of the A3 process.


A3s, integrated form of agreement, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, Plan-Do-Check- Act, PDCA, knowledge management, collaboration



Gupta, A. P. , Tommelein, I. D. & Blume, K. 2009. Framework for Using A3s to Develop Shared Understanding on Projects , 17th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 545-556.

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