Connected to the Plan at SkyHouse

Trade partner engagement and accountability drives success

A lean culture is built on a commitment to collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Staying true to this commitment, we’re highlighting the people and projects across the company who are trying new things, learning new lessons and achieving better results.

One project team achieving exceptional performance is the SkyHouse team in Frisco, Texas. Their results are so impressive that superintendents from California and the Mid-Atlantic have visited the project to learn and take lessons back to their projects. In fact, the 500 Folsom team in San Francisco has already incorporated some of what they learned on their project.  

A $70 million, 25-story residential tower in a fast-growing area north of Dallas, the SkyHouse team is achieving high performance by leveraging what they describe as a “mesh” of lean processes and cloud technology. In addition to helping drive great team performance, Josh Laurence, senior project manager, and Tyler Brown, senior superintendent, say it has significantly boosted trade partner engagement and accountability. 

How do they know they are performing so well? Since the project started in March 2018, the team has faced significant challenges in the form of record-breaking rainfall. But, despite the fact they have encountered a total of 38 weather days, the team remains on schedule. 

And, aside from weeks impacted by bad weather, the team consistently achieves weekly percent plan complete (PPC) rates in 80% to low 90% ranges compared to national industry average of 54% percent PPC on projects with conventional planning methods.       

How are they doing it? From the beginning, the team committed to fully implementing the Last Planner® System including phase pull planning, constraint logs, weekly work planning, and PPC and root cause analysis. Adding to that, they chose to host their P6 critical path method (CPM) schedule on LoadSpring project management software because its cloud technology offering allowed them to better achieve full-team collaboration. The team believes the LoadSpring option has been key to helping them better engage all project team members from top to bottom in a manner resulting in exceptional commitment, teamwork and accountability among all trade partners. 

The team thoughtfully designed this approach, because in their experience, many trade partners must overcome preconceived notions of pull planning. By finding ways to get their trade partners engaged in the planning process and thinking through the logistics of coordinating with other trades, the team has reaped success together.

More than just sticky notes on a board, the SkyHouse team says it has been the blend of lean processes combined with the LoadSpring technology that is more closely connecting everyone to the plan. This approach has been instrumental to helping them facilitate complete buy-in from all teammates and in engaging with the trades in a far more effective way. As a result, they transformed the team dynamic from a few telling everyone what to do into an integrated team with trade partners who have taken ownership and hold each other accountable to the schedule.

From the start, the team’s goal was to get everyone to buy into the lean processes and work together. And now, they see their success every day walking the project. The trades are aware, engaged and can tell them exactly where they are on an activity that matches with the plan. There is consistent alignment between the foreman, superintendent and trade partners on where they are and how that impacts the pull plan.