Create Thorough Task Plans to Avoid Firefighting on the Jobsite

Just controlling production rates is not enough even in an LBMS project. Other Lean techniques such as removing constraints are critical. As a best practice, maintain a checklist of prerequisites and constraints by task and by location for your LBMS project.  After all, the responsibility of production management is to look ahead and prepare tasks and locations for efficient work. Any ongoing operation can be reviewed based on production rates. And make it standard practice to get work ready a bit ahead of production.


Look-ahead planning is often done based on look-ahead time window such as six weeks. I have always preferred the approach of “task planning” where each operation is planned in detail in one document. A task plan includes schedule milestones, cost, quality requirements, an inspection plan, and a list of prerequisites that need to be completed for each location. Some of the prerequisites are unique and non-location-based such as making sure that the right size crew shows up. Others need to be reviewed for each location – for example, reviewing drawings for completeness, closing out any RFIs, making sure materials are available, cleaning up the location, or making sure that predecessor has left the location before starting work. The task plan creates a checklist that the production management can follow for each location.


superintendent task planning checklist 

Caption: Be as thorough as possible with the task plan, including assigning a resource responsible for that task.  Be sure to list all the steps necessary to complete a task so that no details are missed which might cause a delay later on.


It is typical that constraints show up when work is already being installed. For example, the preceding trade did not complete all their scope or no one reviewed the drawings and there were omissions or the subcontractor ran out of material. These issues cause low production rates (unrelated to actual productivity of the crew), inability to complete locations, failing inspections, poor quality work, rework, and problems for the succeeding subcontractors. It is much better to prevent these problems than fight the fires when they do happen.


To mitigate these problems, prerequisite checklists should be in use for any work starting in the near future (by task, by location). Each prerequisite should have a responsible person. The status of action items should be reviewed weekly in subcontractor meetings. And action items should be completed before production is forecasted to enter the location. Optimal productivity can be achieved when 100% of constraints are cleared before starting in a location. This is what LBMS sets out to achieve. When everyone is able to work with optimal productivity, the remaining management concerns production rates to prevent schedule clashes.


Be sure you are caught up with all the articles in this series:

Part 1: Beyond Start Dates

Part 2: Get the Subs Involved

Part 3: Manpower and Suspensions

Part 4: Control Actions

Part 5: Planning the LBS

Part 6: Clarifying Scope

Part 7: Look-Ahead Plans

Part 8: Running Parallel Schedules

Part 9: Resource Graphs

Part 10: Production Rates and Location Sequence

Part 11: Using 5D with LBMS in Subcontractor Meetings

Part 12: Deliveries and Lay-Down Areas

Part 13: Starting As Early As Possible Will Hurt Your Project

Part 14: Buffers Are Important for Production Control

Part 15: Implement Control Actions as Soon as Possible

Part 16: In LBMS It Is Possible to Work Too Fast!

Part 17: Keep Chaos Out of the Construction Schedule

Part 18: Additional Types of Out-of-Sequence Work

Part 19: A Lot of Activity, But Little Progress

Part 20: How to Handle Inspections and Design Changes

Part 21: Preventing the Blow Fly Effect on the Jobsite

Tags: task plans, prerequiste and constraint checklist, LBMS best practice, construction jobsite management