Annual Technical Conference

19 July 2023

The primary objective of PPI’s  annual technical conference is to discuss and address the root cause of major capital project cost and schedule overruns via research, discussion and dissemination of Project Production Management (PPM) and its foundation of Operations Science. The conference advances research, education, knowledge and practical application of PPM through the presentation of papers and exchange of ideas between industry and academia.

In support of this, PPI invites practitioners and academics to submit and present their accepted technical papers with a focus on one of the following research categories: Theory (specifically related to Operations Science), Model (the application of simulations, digital twins, robotics, autonomous, IoT, AI / ML) or Control (the use of various systems, protocols, methods and tools that are used to control Project Production Systems).


Intro and Welcoming Remarks

Gary Fischer, PE Project Production Institute

Gary Fischer, PE

Project Production Institute

Gary Fischer is the Executive Director of the Project Production Institute (PPI) and Chair of the PPI Energy Working Group.  He has over 40 years of experience in all aspects of capital project development and execution across downstream, chemicals and upstream in Chevron.  As GM of Chevron’s Project Resources Company, he was responsible for Chevron’s project management system, a supporting team of subject matter experts, an early concept development group, and Chevron’s decision analysis function.  Before retiring he took a special assignment to deploy Project Production Management and digital transformation across Chevron’s global portfolio of capital projects.  Gary’s prior experience includes project leadership roles in engineering, construction, and project management spanning across all segments and many locations. He also served as the upstream director of capital projects for Eurasia, Europe, and a gas to liquids venture with Sasol.

Gary holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Colorado State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer.

Bifurcation of Demand and Supply (Schedules vs. Production Systems)

Todd R. Zabelle Project Production Institute

Todd R. Zabelle

Project Production Institute

Todd is the Founder and President of Strategic Project Solutions, Inc (SPS). Zabelle has more than thirty years of experience in the delivery of complex and critical capital projects ranging in size from $500K to $55 billion. He is the Founder & CEO of Strategic Project Solutions, Inc. is the Founder & CEO of Pacific Contracting, a founder and equity partner in the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) (prior to making it a not for profit), and founder of the Project Production Institute (PPI). He is also a Forbes Featured Author.

Prior to founding SPS, Todd founded Pacific Contracting. Established in 1993, Pacific Contracting was recognized in the mid 90’s for its use of various innovations including Lean Construction and Virtual Design & Construction. In July 1998, these efforts were acknowledged in the UK Government’s Re-Thinking Construction report. Over the past two decades, Todd has authored numerous papers on the topic of optimizing engineering, fabrication and construction. These papers have been published various in technical journals, presented at numerous conferences around the world and cited by several other authors.

Roberto J. Arbulu Strategic Project Solutions, Inc.

Roberto J. Arbulu

Strategic Project Solutions, Inc.

Roberto Arbulu is Senior Vice President of Technical Services for Strategic Project Solutions. He has more than twenty years of experience in the delivery and optimization of energy, industrial, technology, and infrastructure capital projects and has worked with numerous owner operators and service providers across North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East. He is the author of technical publications in journals and conference proceedings that focus on project production system optimization, control, and project supply chains including the application of methods such as Project Production Management and Virtual Design & Construction (VDC). For many years, Roberto has participated as a VDC instructor and technical advisor at Stanford University’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering. He is a member of the Gulf Downstream Association (GDA)’s Project Management Technical Committee and also supports Project Production Institute (PPI) as an Instructor for professional certification programs. Roberto earned a Civil Engineering Degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He has a Master of Engineering Degree in Construction Engineering & Management and a Certificate in Management of Technology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Current project management practice focuses primarily on what to build, when to build and who will do the work. Schedules depicting what work needs to be done by who, and when it needs to be done, establish overall expectations and are used as the basis for reporting and forecasting of project progress. Ignoring the other element of the equation, the supply side, specifically the project production system or how the work will be done, results in the inability to effectively predict and control project outcomes. Understanding that there is a production system and that it will dictate project behavior including cost, quality, duration and use of cash, along with using Operations Science to understand and control its behavior, is key to delivering projects in accordance with desired outcomes. However, not all projects take this into account resulting in less than optimal performance. The purpose of this paper is to define what a project production system is (and is not) and how it compares and contrasts with schedules, while introducing a framework for effective management of project production systems.

Benefits of Modeling and Optimizing Production Systems – An Application on Civil Infrastructure Projects

Garrett Bryan Strategic Project Solutions, Inc.

Garrett Bryan

Strategic Project Solutions, Inc.

As Implementation Leader, Garrett is responsible for the configuration and deployment of Project Production Management (PPM) Solutions in the energy and industrial sectors, including education, training and improvement efforts working directly with multi-company project teams. Garrett brings more than ten years of experience in the implementation and use of PPM Solutions for critical and complex projects covering engineering, fabrication, supply, installation and commissioning, as well as maintenance and turnarounds. His experience also includes the use of PPM in conjunction with other methodologies such as Advanced Work Packaging / Workface Planning. As a member of SPS|Technical Services, he has worked with numerous organizations such as Chevron, PetroChina, Sasol, Tengizchevroil and Unocal, to name a few. He possesses a passion for optimizing execution for project production systems. Prior to joining SPS, Garrett deployed and championed the use of SPS PPM Solutions at a water treatment plant owned by Aera Energy in Bakersfield, as well as held several positions including field supervisor for a general contractor in residential construction, draftsman for a low voltage company, safety contractor under Chevron, project estimator & scheduler for electrical and instrumentation, and EMT for an ambulance company. He earned an Associate of Science Degree in Drafting and Design from the ITT Technical Institute, which included architectural, civil, mechanical, and structural. Furthermore, Garrett has also been involved in starting new businesses in areas such as landscaping (residential), photography (automobiles), excel spreadsheet automation and drafting services (AutoCAD).

Shubhraneel Mitra McKinsey & Company

Shubhraneel Mitra

McKinsey & Company

Shubhraneel is Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company as part of their Capex and Sustainability practice in SE Asia. He has decades of experience working across the Energy and Materials sector, especially across the EPC, O&G, rail and power clients, and has advised public sector, private and multinational companies on various aspects of the business to improve business performance including shift to cleaner technologies like Hydrogen and EV.  

Stanislav Gaponenko McKinsey & Company

Stanislav Gaponenko

McKinsey & Company

Stanislav is a Project Manager with McKinsey & Company based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He serves major E&C and basic materials clients in Southeast Asia, Russia and the Middle East on operational transformations and capital portfolio optimization projects. Prior to McKinsey he had extensive experience in fabrication, EPC and offshore capital projects, spending 8 years with Chevron on LNG projects in Australia and working offshore in the North Sea. Stanislav earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Warwick.

Chet Carlson Strategic Project Solutions, Inc.

Chet Carlson

Strategic Project Solutions, Inc.

As Production System Lead Analyst, Chet is responsible for leading Production System Analysis and Optimization including efforts to map, model, simulate, analyze, and optimize permanent and temporary production systems. Since Chet joined SPS in 2018, he has worked directly with numerous organizations including, but not limited to, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Microsoft, Petronas, Tengizchevroil and Tripatra. He works with these corporations to identify and quantify opportunities to improve project performance including schedule compression, cost reduction and use of cash. Chet brings extensive experience in educating and training others in the optimization of production systems using SPS enabling systems. Furthermore, and in addition to his experience in Production System Analysis and Optimization, Chet has also supported the deployment and use of Project Production Control for construction projects such as Fuel Terminals in Indonesia. Prior to joining SPS, Chet worked for a glazing contractor as an Industrial Engineer, where he was responsible for identifying and running improvement efforts for the company’s manufacturing processes. Chet holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California.

Many are attempting to address the criticality and complexity of civil infrastructure projects through the same conventional means that create the current situation, so performance issues not only remain active, but are amplified. To achieve radically better project performance including reduction of carbon footprint associated with project delivery, this paper describes the application of Project Production Management to identify and mitigate production-based risks and opportunities that are typically hidden through the lens of conventional project management practices. More specifically, this paper describes how project teams have unlocked value in the way of 20% schedule acceleration, up to 300% improvement in cycle times, which represents 100% improvement from classic lean applications. This is achieved by adopting a project production perspective including the use of digital technologies to map, model, simulate, analyze, and optimize project production systems, application of the Five Levers of Production System Optimization, and Operations Science.

Production Control Implementation for an Offshore Mega Project

M Hakim Mat Tasir


Hakim Mat Tasir is currently an Analyst within Project Delivery & Technology (PD&T) sector of PETRONAS. He has more than seven years of working experience in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry. He was involved in plant change and capital projects as Construction and Project Engineers role. Hakim has also supported the deployment of Project Production Management (PPM) within PETRONAS projects as well as promoting the Malaysia’s Oil & Gas industry players to adopt the methodology for improved project delivery performance. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Technology PETRONAS in Malaysia.

Hamidah Makmor Bakry


Hamidah binti Makmor Bakry is a Senior Construction Engineer at Petronas with over thirteen years of experience.

She received her Degree in Welding & Quality Inspection from University Kuala Lumpur (MFI). Prior to PETRONAS, Hamidah served SAMSUNG ENGINEERING as Quality Engineer handling Sabah Oil & Gas Terminal, Malaysia Project. At PETRONAS, her experiences span various types of fabrication such as Subsea, FPSO, MOPU and Central Processing Platform (CPP). Her first experience starts as a Construction Engineer starts with the construction of a subsea jumper. She was involved with the fabrication of FPSO for Kaju Manis & Anjung Kecil, as a Construction Engineer for K5 STP MOPU and currently as Senior Construction Engineer leading the biggest Offshore Platform Fabrication Structure for CPP Jacket. All her project experiences have implemented lean management concepts and successfully delivered within cost and schedule.

Erwan Shahfizad Hasidan


Erwan is currently assigned to Kasawari Gas Development Project as a Senior Project Planner since 2019. He graduated from The University of Sheffield with Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering in 2009. He has more than 13 years of working experience in PETRONAS. His first position was Performance Management Executive with MLNG back in 2010 before joining PCSB as a Planning and Scheduling Executive in 2011. He earned experience two years in abroad (Dubai, UAE & Gharraf, Iraq) for an onshore upstream project in Gharraf, Iraq before returning back to Malaysia to join Kasawari Gas Development Project, a mega project with multiple offshore facilities (CPP, WHP, Flare Platform and Pipeline) as Senior Project Planner until now.

Muhammad Hafiz Izhar


Muhammad Hafiz Izhar has been with PETRONAS for almost 11 years and he started his career as a Structural Engineer with C&S department and was tasked to monitor the new development of greenfield for of PETRONAS project from detail engineering design until the completion of the installation of the WHP structure.

He had completed numbers of brownfield and greenfield projects in his 11 years as Structural Engineer in PETRONAS. Currently serving his 11th years as Structural Engineer in PETRONAS and being tasked with detail engineering, fabrication and installation of the project's Jacket Structural as the main Structural Lead.

By understanding that project production system is the collection of production systems comprising the interconnected network of processes and operations that represent all the work activities to execute a project from start to finish on the one hand and acknowledging 5-levers of project production management [1] on the other, this paper discusses the actual implementation of Project Production Control (PPC) to improve the performance of several production processes associated with the fabrication and assembly of a Central Processing Platform (CPP) Jacket. Fabrication work of an offshore mega project. CPP Jacket, specifically buoyancy tank was selected as it drives the critical path and requires the highest demand of capacity. 7 buoyancy tanks were built, with a total estimated weight of 2,200 metric-ton. These huge buoyancy tanks were designed to be reversed launching & self-upending of the jacket, easily retractable, and reusable for the next project ensuring sustainability. Results showed that an effective application of PPC positively impacted construction progress and productivity while exposing sources of detrimental variability as the focus of continuous improvement practices .

RPA for Estimating ER Releases

Sulaiman Alabdulkarim

Saudi Aramco

Sulaiman is an estimating engineer at Saudi Aramco. He is an experienced PMO professional in the Oil & Gas industry. He has previous experience in all project lifecycles part of the project management team within Saudi Aramco. Sulaiman has a keen interest in the latest trends within the industry in innovation & digital transformation.

Josue Garcia, CCP, CEP, ACCE

Saudi Aramco

Josue Garcia is an experienced cost estimator with over 35 years in the Oil & Gas Industry, developing conceptual and definitive estimates mainly for EPC projects. He has been working with Saudi Aramco as Estimating Specialist for the last 15 years, and previous experience with Venezuelan Oil Company PDVSA. Josue Garcia has two professional certifications from AACEI, serving as well as Board member for AACEI Arabian Gulf Section, and certification courses’ facilitator for cost and estimating professionals.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a rapidly evolving technology that has been widely adopted in various industries for its ability to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks. In this paper, we present a case study of RPA implementation for Estimating Services within Saudi Aramco.

The implementation of RPA has led to increased productivity, reduced processing time, and consistent and accurate estimate production. The paper provides an overview of the RPA implementation process, the benefits realized, and the challenges faced during the implementation process.

Lean Demystified: Operations Science Explains and Expands Lean

Mark L. Spearman, PhD Project Production Institute

Mark L. Spearman, PhD

Project Production Institute

Mark Spearman is the Technical Director of the Project Production Institute and Director of Technical Solutions for Strategic Project Solutions.

Before joining SPS, Spearman was associate professor industrial engineering and management sciences at Northwestern University, professor of industrial and systems engineering at Georgia Tech, and Department Head of industrial engineering and systems engineering at Texas A&M University. After leaving academia in 2001, he formed Factory Physics, Inc., a consulting and software company dedicated to helping manufacturing companies improve their operations. In 2018, FPI was acquired by SPS and he joined the team. Spearman is coauthor with Wallace J. Hopp of the book, Factory Physics, named the Institute of Industrial Engineers Book of the Year.  

Using the basic principles of Operations Science, this paper seeks to reveal the secret, one that is hidden in plane sight, of the success of Lean.  The list of seven, eight or even ten forms of waste are replaced by one malefactor, variability and the three buffers that will always be present to couple demand with transformation.

Lean Methods in Nuclear Power

Tony Roulstone University of Cambridge

Tony Roulstone

University of Cambridge

Tony Roulstone established and teaches on the Nuclear Energy Masters programme in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. His research interests are the economics and safety of nuclear power with a focus on Small Modular Reactors. He is leading several SMR research projects in the UK. Also, he is involved with projects on the industrialisation and the economics of fusion and the design of energy systems for net-zero in 2050. He received his degree from the University of Cambridge and has spent much of his career in the nuclear and aerospace industries, starting with UKAEA working on fast reactor systems and including 20 years at Rolls-Royce becoming MD of the Nuclear Group in 1992. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Nuclear Institute. He is an independent adviser on SMR design.

Simon Murray Director, SA Murray Ltd.

Simon Murray

Director, SA Murray Ltd.

Simon is a civil engineer specializing in infrastructure development. He has been a senior manager in the aviation and railway industries and the client for several large projects including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. He has a particular interest in modern methods of construction and in improving the industry’s performance. Simon is a founder member of acumen7.

Simon has been a director of an engineering consultancy, on the board of a FTSE-100 infrastructure company and chairman of a privately owned construction company. This experience has given him a rare perspective and deep knowledge of how infrastructure is developed and how the construction industry works. Since 2001 Simon has been an independent consultant specializing in infrastructure development and modern methods of construction. His clients include Transport for London, Anglian Water and Parsons Brinckerhoff. His work has been in developing viable strategies for companies in the infrastructure sector and in managing organizational change. Simon developed his passion for improving construction whilst working for John Egan at BAA in the 1990s. Simon led the transformation of BAA’s construction programme and the preparations for the construction of Terminal 5. He worked closely with John Egan on the Government’s task force on the construction industry and the drafting of Rethinking Construction.

This paper addresses the key ways of making nuclear power affordable by: taking a programme approach, adopting modern production methods that are commonplace elsewhere but not applied in the nuclear industry and by creating production systems that profit from series build as against one-off projects and drive efficiency throughout the supply chain.

It has been shown that by applying these ideas to small modular reactors they can quickly become competitive with current large reactors and with increasing volume become competitive with renewable energy.

Misconception of Kanban in Project Delivery due to Schedule-based Thinking

H.J. James Choo, PhD Project Production Institute

H.J. James Choo, PhD

Project Production Institute

H.J. James Choo, Ph.D is Chief Technical Officer of Strategic Project Solutions, Inc. and a member of the Technical Committee for Project Production Institute (PPI).

He has been leading research and development of project production management and its underlying framework of Operations Science knowledge, processes, and systems to support implementation of large capital projects globally since 2001.

James has worked with high profile organizations in oil & gas, life sciences, heavy industrial, civil infrastructure, aerospace & defense and other industries.  He has also worked with many manufacturing companies to improve their service levels by reducing lead times and optimizing inventory through the use of Operations Science.

James is a frequent contributor to research and curriculum for Texas A&M University, University of California at Berkeley, and California Polytechnic State University.

Prior to joining SPS, his experience included roles as a construction site engineer, research associate at research institutes, teaching assistant at universities, and software developer. He has been developing computer systems for implementation of Lean Construction since 1997 during his Ph.D. studies at UC Berkeley.

James has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Yonsei University, Korea.  He holds a Ph.D. in Construction Engineering & Management from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of University of California at Berkeley.  He is also certified as a Master Factory Physicist from Factory Physics, Inc.

Kanban, a subsystem within the Toyota Production System, was popularized throughout the world alongside just-in-time (JIT), fool-proofing, heijunka, kaizen, andon, hoshin kanri, etc., as part of Lean Manufacturing approaches and techniques. Kanban’s simplicity, effectiveness, and robustness are well-understood by many.

At the same time, it is probably one of the most misunderstood Lean terminologies regarding what it is and how it works. Rather than adopting the intended purpose of the original Kanban system, some take the literal translation of the word. Since the literal translation of the word Kanban is signboard, many have taken the position that any visual board that provides visibility is not only a Kanban board, but also leads them to believe they are using Kanban. Search the word “Kanban board” on any popular search engine, and you will see this is true. While this is a brilliant (or devious) marketing ploy to attract those that are looking to enhance their organization or project’s performance through the adoption of Lean techniques, this exacerbates the confusion as to what Kanban really is.

In this paper, we will describe what Kanban is (and is not), how it works, why it is effective, and how to leverage it for the delivery of capital, deployment projects, and their supply networks.

Product, Process, Resource – an Integrated Modeling Approach for Production Engineering and Industrialized Construction

Hannah Walsh A.G. KUNZ

Hannah Walsh


Hannah works at A.G. Kunz, an engineering and consulting company focused on integrated design & construction.

She is the Program Manager of the Field Integration and Assembly department, which is responsible for process management and productizing deliveries of large construction projects.Hannah received her masters in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Alex Kunz, PE A.G. KUNZ

Alex Kunz, PE


Alex is the principal at A.G. KUNZ, a company focused on systematizing the construction industry through an integrated approach to design and construction. The company helps owners deliver complex construction projects around the world through its technical design integration, production engineering, and software development services. The company is particularly focused on the global datacenter industry and driving accelerated project delivery through model-based design, analytics, and project production management. Prior to starting A.G. KUNZ, Alex led the services group at Gehry Technologies, an award-winning consulting and software development company that brought together architects, engineers, builders and computer scientists to help deliver many cultural, hospitality, and civic projects of note around the world, with a focus on construction precision and cost predictability. Prior to that, Alex was a technical engineer and consultant for Strategic Project Solutions, serving projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5, the retrofit to London’s St. Pancras rail station (CTRL), and industrial and energy facilities. Alex is a professional engineer in the state of Colorado and received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University.

This presentation discusses the application of Product, Process, and Resource modeling as a critical enabler to industrialized construction. Modular product architecture, comprehensive work packaging, and standard production processes are applied to a configurable system of products for use in a specific type of industrial project, the hyperscale datacenter. A 3D manufacturing simulation platform is used to concurrently design and simulate product, process, and resources (PPR) such as equipment, cranes, and crews. The comprehensive PPR model supports production engineering, optimization, re-use, and production automation.

The resulting impact on a global program of hyper-scale datacenters will be discussed, along with implications for adjacent industries such as pharmaceutical production, residential construction, and more.

Simulation Preemption of Construction Operations

Photios Ioannou University of Michigan

Photios Ioannou

University of Michigan

Photios G. Ioannou is Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Michigan and a Fellow of the ASCE.

Together with his former doctoral student J.C. Martinez are the designers and developers of the STROBOSCOPE Simulation System. He has also performed research in the development of other simulation systems, including UM-Cyclone, COOPS, EZStrobe, ProbSched, CPMAddon, and Chastrobe. His research is in construction engineering and management in the areas of simulation, tunneling, competitive bidding models, project finance, innovative project delivery systems, and project scheduling. His email address is and his homepage is

Veerasak Likhitruangsilp Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok)

Veerasak Likhitruangsilp

Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok)

Bio coming soon

Construction simulation models often need to interrupt activities in progress when events such as equipment breakdowns or differing soil conditions are encountered. The new functions and statements to support activity preemption directly in the STROBOSCOPE simulation system are described and illustrated by two examples.

The first example involves moving soil using two wheelbarrows and two laborers and investigates whether interrupting the loading of a wheelbarrow by the return of an empty wheelbarrow that starts loading immediately can improve long-term production. Variability in the loading and hauling times makes it difficult to predict when the preemption of loading would be beneficial, even when the operations are balanced.

The second model involves undersea land reclamation where two cranes unload barges loaded with construction fill material. When only one barge is available, then both cranes work together to unload the same barge. When a second barge arrives, it takes over one of the cranes and both barges continue to unload using one crane. When a barge departs and there are no other barges waiting, the barge still unloading can switch to using both cranes. Unloading a barge can switch between using one and two cranes multiple times, with the remaining unload time either cut in half or doubled each time. Modeling the multiple dynamic reallocations of cranes and the remaining time to unload illustrates how the new STROBOSCOPE preemption capabilities can be used to model preemption in general.

Developing a Business Case to Implement Modularization on Your Projects

Cathy Farina DyCat Solutions

Cathy Farina

DyCat Solutions

Cathy is the Vice President of DyCat Solutions Inc., a company which provides innovative solutions to the heavy industrial business sector.

Cathy facilitates workshops and alignment sessions with customers using DyCat’s four innovative solutions: Modularization, Facility Standardization, Lean Design and Execution. These solutions enable the ability to achieve capital efficiency on programs and projects. She has 25 years of experience in the oil and gas, petrochemical, and mining industries and most recently, she has worked with global customers providing the expertise, training and tools to implement modularization, lean design and standardization on their projects. Cathy previous roles include a Subject Matter Expect in execution of a manufactured approach in heavy oil program delivery at WorleyParsons. The manufactured approach involves the development of a “minimum kit”, modularized design, that includes standardized engineering, procurement, and fabrication. Cathy has provided training and has facilitated workshops for project teams and clients including international workshare personnel. Cathy has also led an internal initiative to develop a standardized design catalogue for a minimum kit modular well pad for both new and sustaining capital projects

The future of capital project execution for the heavy industrial sector needs to look at innovative ways to improve productivity and project success, which includes the implementation of productization methods. The benefits of a productization strategy are not well known, however industrial productization is becoming more communicated within the industry as the future implementation model. Industrial productization utilizes more of a manufacturing style approach to not only improve productivity but to reduce overall lifecycle costs and schedules and improve overall quality and safety.

Industrial productization combines modularization and standardization methodologies, to take advantage of repeatable components, equipment and facilities to reduce non-value add execution and design waste. Companies need to develop a business case to productize to ensure that the supports the use of the optimum amount of both modularization and standardization, captures the business drivers and benefits and to align the program teams with the productization strategy.

This paper will discuss the requirements and timing that companies will need to develop an effective productization business case that will complement the overall project business drivers.

Target Value Delivery of Building Projects

H. Glenn Ballard, PhD University of California (retired)

H. Glenn Ballard, PhD

University of California (retired)

An accomplished educator, author and public speaker, Dr. Ballard is currently a member of the construction engineering and management program faculty at UC Berkeley.

Glenn  entered the construction industry in 1976 as a pipefitter's helper on a petrochemical project in the Houston Ship Channel, moved from there to area engineer, then Manager of Productivity Improvement at a division of Brown & Root. In 1982, he joined Bechtel at the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, California, was subsequently assigned to Bechtel's San Francisco home office responsible for quality and productivity improvement in Bechtel Petroleum. Dr. Ballard began his on project management consulting business in 1987, developed the Last Planner System in a series of pilot projects over the period from 1991 to 1998, began a 21 year-long graduate-level seminar at the University of California in 1989, became a full-time employee at Cal in 2005 and the took on the position of Research Director at the university's Project Production Systems Laboratory which he co-founded with Professor Iris Tommelein. Dr. Ballard also co-founded the International Group for Lean Construction in 1993 and the Lean Construction Institute (USA) in 1997. He has a BA in Liberal Arts from St Johns College in Santa Fe NM, an MBA in Operations Management from Holy Names College in Oakland, CA and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Birmingham (UK). He retired from Cal in 1989 but continues as a Research Associate of the Project Production Systems Laboratory.

All projects set targets and try to steer to them. Fundamental improvement in project delivery comes in large part from how targets are set and how projects are steered to meet them. Target Value Delivery is a process for setting project targets for value and their corresponding cost prior to design and steering design and construction to those targets. Value and cost targets are set to achieve project objectives. Consequently steering design and construction to those targets is what management can do to make projects successful.

Launching Projects Without the Big Waste

John Strickland, PMP Collaborative Flow

John Strickland, PMP

Collaborative Flow

John Strickland has been a pioneer in bringing innovative thinking to the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) industry with passion for workplace safety, learning, innovation and smooth flow.

Many years of jobsite and corporate construction operations leadership combined with extensive study and research of project delivery systems led to a series of breakthrough projects.  He has introduced Lean thinking to countless teams and led 3 major clients as they transformed their project delivery organizations around Lean IPD.  He is currently co-chair on a Joint Working Group supported by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI), the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and Project Production Institute (PPI).

Getting projects off to a good start is the aspiration of every project manager and a critical first step towards smooth flowing work later.  Unfortunately, many of our large projects are stymied before the construction team gets a chance to mobilize.  Few aspects of project delivery are more disruptive or wasteful than discovering the desired scope cannot be completed at an acceptable cost after most of the design budget has been spent and bidders have been thoroughly exercised.  Project after project suffers through this frustration yet the industry continues to utilize the same basic process, analogous to holding a position on the beach while being soaked by wave after wave. Maybe we don’t move because we fail to recognize just how big the waves have become, how much waste is really involved or that there are very practical alternatives.  Projects would be much more successful and provide a much better experience for the participants if we could eliminate this Big Waste.

Application of Operations Science to Design a Project Production System: A Case Study

Guillermo Prado UC Berkeley

Guillermo Prado

UC Berkeley

Guillermo has worked with public and private organizations in South American and North America in the implementation of Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Prado is part of the technical committee that assists the Peruvian public sector with the development of a National BIM policy. His current areas of interests include BIM, lean production, and application of operations science in project delivery. He earned a Civil Engineering Degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, a Certificate in Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) from Stanford University’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering and is currently enrolled in the Engineering & Project Management (E&PM) Master of Science program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Iris D. Tommelein, PhD

UC Berkeley

Iris D. Tommelein is a Professor of Engineering and Project Management in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and directs the Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL) at the University of California, Berkeley.

She has been studying, developing, and applying principles and methods of project-based production management for the architecture-engineering-construction (AEC) industry, what is termed Lean Construction. Her pioneering research in Lean Construction includes teaming up with design specialists, general- and specialty contractors, owners, suppliers, and other stakeholders in order to increase process and product development performance. She is an expert on site layout and logistics, operations and methods design, materials management, and supply-chain management. She is involved in developing digital twins and related decision-support systems, enabled through the use of information technology systems that leverage sensor data, heuristic- and mathematical optimization as well as artificial intelligence (AI), and graphical and interactive user interfaces. Her current research focuses on takt planning. Iris has led many industry workshops, hosted conferences on Lean Construction, and is actively engaged in consulting work. She has published over 250 refereed articles and book chapters and given numerous keynote lectures on her research. Iris graduated as Civil Engineer-Architect from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium. She also holds a MS in Construction Engineering and Management, an MS in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence), and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford. She was recognized with the Lean Pioneer Award 2015 from the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) and is a member of the National Academy of Construction (NAC).

Managers of construction projects have been focusing on cost, schedule, quality, and safety to measure project performance using conventional metrics from administration management. These conventional metrics have led them to underestimate or overlook how variability, prerequisites for starting work, and work-in-process (WIP) affect project performance, which is a problem. To tackle this problem, concepts from Operations Science (OS) can be applied to construction production system design (PSD), focusing on metrics pertaining to throughput, work-in-process, cycle time, and capacity utilization. While the application of these concepts in building construction is still uncommon, this paper demonstrates by means of an example case study (a healthcare building in Northern California) how this may be done. Since OS has its foundation in a manufacturing industry context, this paper will comment on the assumptions necessary to apply it in a construction industry context and the implications of these assumptions. The methodology used in the case study leverages the use of an OS-based production analytical model. This case study illustrates the use of OS metrics at the project level, given certain assumptions (i.e., steady-state production system, no matching problem). As a conclusion, the use of OS for PSD provides a basis for understanding the “behavior” of a construction project and its performance regarding interrelated OS metrics.

Closing Remarks

Gary Fischer, PE Project Production Institute

Gary Fischer, PE

Project Production Institute

Gary Fischer is the Executive Director of the Project Production Institute (PPI) and Chair of the PPI Energy Working Group.  He has over 40 years of experience in all aspects of capital project development and execution across downstream, chemicals and upstream in Chevron.  As GM of Chevron’s Project Resources Company, he was responsible for Chevron’s project management system, a supporting team of subject matter experts, an early concept development group, and Chevron’s decision analysis function.  Before retiring he took a special assignment to deploy Project Production Management and digital transformation across Chevron’s global portfolio of capital projects.  Gary’s prior experience includes project leadership roles in engineering, construction, and project management spanning across all segments and many locations. He also served as the upstream director of capital projects for Eurasia, Europe, and a gas to liquids venture with Sasol.

Gary holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Colorado State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer.