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AWP, Lean, PPM – Next Gen Project Delivery

Leading experts from PPM, AWP, and LEAN, share their perspectives on successes and challenges within projects and debate if a new collaborative approach can become the gold standard of production methodologies in the future.

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Explore an enlightening session as we delve into the intricacies of Advanced Work Packaging, LEAN, and Project Production Management. We’ll explore how these three modern production methods, identified by the Construction Users Roundtable, can work together to drive efficiency and effectiveness. Our panel of experts, representing the AWP, LEAN, and PPM, will delve deep into the intricacies of these methods and share their insights on how and if they can be effectively integrated to. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best in the industry and gain valuable insights on how to improve your own project management processes.


[00:00:00] Gary Fischer, PE: So we’re going to roll right into the next section and deal with that question we got earlier. James, you need to flip on your video and your audio back on. We’re going to tackle that next topic around advanced work packaging, lead and project production management. And we’re going to ask do these things all work together or are they in conflict or whatever.

[00:00:24] Gary Fischer, PE: So we’ve got some slides if you want to open that up, James. Okay, we’re going to use it to guide our conversation here and then, we will, I’m sure, have a very interesting Q&A at the end here.

[00:00:41] Gary Fischer, PE: So not that long ago, the Construction Users Roundtable observed in its 2019 The Voice magazine, identified lean, advanced work packaging and project production management as the three main modern production methods that are steering the conversation towards efficiency and effectiveness, not just productivity.

[00:00:59] Gary Fischer, PE: So we often get asked – next slide – “What are the differences between advanced work packaging, lean construction, and project production management?” by many organizations that are either adopting or utilizing one or more of those approaches quite often simultaneously, as you saw from Petronas this morning. So let’s get started.

[00:01:16] Gary Fischer, PE: We’ve assembled a wonderful panel here who are very deep in all this, and if you’ve got any questions on your mind, these are the right folks to talk with. So let’s start with Fernando Espana. He’s the president of Construct-X, providing clients with advanced work packaging, implementation, education, and training solutions that combine the core concepts and lean integrated project delivery and governance structures and production planning and control for construction.

[00:01:44] Gary Fischer, PE: Fernando spearheads Construct-X partnerships with industry and technology leaders who ensure customers attain leading edge solutions and competitive advantage. He’ll be representing the AWP packaging perspective today. Next is John Strickland. John is a pioneer in bringing innovative thinking to the engineering, procurement, and construction industry with a passion for workplace safety, learning innovation, and creating smooth flow based on lean project delivery principles.

[00:02:13] Gary Fischer, PE: His track record as a senior construction manager includes a series of breakthrough projects in the areas of safety, cost, schedule, and team satisfaction made possible by the focus on flow and integration. He’s been a part of LCI since its founding, and introduced lean integrated project delivery thinking to countless teams and has been a key resource for several clients as they transformed their project delivery organizations to follow the lean IPD model.

[00:02:38] Gary Fischer, PE: No surprise, today he’ll be bringing his lean expertise to the discussion. Finally, James Choo, who doesn’t need much of an introduction now if you’ve been tuned in today; James is an active member of PPI’s technical committee, developing and bringing leading edge thinking to the industry. Although clearly in this, he’s involved in representing the PPM and operations science perspective.

[00:03:00] Gary Fischer, PE: You should know he’s been involved in R&D and implementation of lean construction since like 1997 and was the main author of a paper that was referenced in the AASS 2013 Construction Work Packaging Best Practice Guidelines. So he’s got a good history to pull on as well. So before we dive into how these methods may work together, we’re going to ask the panel to describe what each one is.

[00:03:26] Gary Fischer, PE: So we’re going to start with Fernando.

[00:03:27] Fernando Espana: All right. Thank you, Gary. All right, so for those of you that are not aware of what advanced work packaging is, it goes back a ways and, as was alluded to, the fact that James’s paper was referenced in this document, which is RT272, it actually goes back to the early lean construction days where a lot of the founders of that shaped advanced work packaging and lean, were working actually in conjunction with each other, but it is this overall process of looking at detailed work packages and CWP construction work packages, engineering work packages and installation work packages.

[00:04:09] Fernando Espana: And getting to a final level of granularity. So, so people can execute, work more effectively and actually understand what the work is they’re going to do well in advance. It is a plan, you know, an executable process that encompasses the work on engineering, procurement, and construction. EPCs. That’s really where it got its start and gained its traction, which 272 did, reported in 2013.

[00:04:36] Fernando Espana: And really how it continues and how it really transforms programs, you know, from initial planning all the way through the final completion. And it is a framework and it, there is a lot that’s going on. This is one of the early documents in 2013. It was followed by RT319. If you’re familiar with the Construction Industry Institute documents, which declared ADP as a best practice, and those are all available to those of you that are, that belong to CII, or, you know, need some reference, you can always reach out to one of us

[00:05:10] Fernando Espana: to get something like that to you. So there is a body of knowledge attached to it and that body of knowledge, like everything else in this world, goes through continual improvement and updates. So uh, if you want to go to the next slide, so it has matured. And what we’re now looking for here is a better definition of what advanced work packaging is really trying to do.

[00:05:34] Fernando Espana: And it’s a more holistic lifecycle approach, right? Going from early concepts all the way through operating facilities and how advanced work packaging contributes to all that. So as you can see on the left side, there’s a blue and a yellow, what we call a surfboard. That’s what the industry now calls it.

[00:05:54] Fernando Espana: That basically started out as what work packaging was at the time. Taking it from front-end planning to detailed engineering through construction, and now the importance of a course overall. Programs which say we got to get into completions and align that and then use advanced work packaging in the operating facility and with all sorts of renovations and retrofits and turnarounds that happen

[00:06:20] Fernando Espana: in all sorts of facilities. So it’s becoming more recognized as a project framework and is always looking to divide this project scope into manageable portions of work for planning and execution, which is critical, and the outcomes of what we’re trying to achieve. At first, it was the main focus – improving productivity.

[00:06:40] Fernando Espana: But where I, right now, we’re looking at it as an outcome of improving productivity and increased predictability. And one thing that we’ve been recognizing over the last several years is this incorporation of agile lean construction methodologies in that. And since 2019, essentially, recognition that the digitalization

[00:07:03] Fernando Espana: of our projects and the amount of data that’s available really needs to embrace these automation technologies which have been in existence for about 20 years, as well, to different degrees. But right now we’re trying to leverage data as much as we can. And it’s been a big focus on CII for the last several years,

[00:07:26] Fernando Espana: like I mentioned. So why don’t you go ahead and go to the next slide now. Briefly describe what the overall framework looks like. There’s the concept that’s been driven since about 2016, 2017. By keeping the end in mind when we moved from strictly work-based planning out in the field, you know, hey, here’s what the engineering procurement folks gave you, and go build this, right?

[00:07:49] Fernando Espana: And try to make sense of all that. So, beginning with the end of mind says, “Hey, we’re, you know, in the upper right corner. We’re looking at, at the systems themselves. Hey, what are we trying to build? How do we really want to start it up? What’re the desired outcomes at the end of the day?” And that starts helping us shape what will become construction work areas, which are broad,

[00:08:10] Fernando Espana: multi-discipline, geographical areas. If you look in a plot plan, it’s pretty, it’s pretty much where most everybody can identify the areas of a project, the logical areas of a project, and even understand the basic sequencing of those areas that align with the system startup. From there the idea is to move from construction work areas in the top center down to the middle there, construction work packages, by getting all the disciplines to identify within these work areas their specific scopes of work and breaking those scopes of work into logical sequences themselves, right?

[00:08:48] Fernando Espana: So they become very defined geographical spaces. They have the ability to be sequenced. They have the ability to be integrated, but to really get that, and to look at the alignment between engineering and procurement. You know, it’s not a construction that dictates what it’s going to be.

[00:09:06] Fernando Espana: There’s a process where, hey, if we’re going to define these construction work packages which have a specific scope of work, which may be somewhere between 10 to 15,000 hours of work. We need to get the engineering deliverables and the procurement deliverables. So let’s define what we call “work packages” around that that says deliver this engineering.

[00:09:28] Fernando Espana: And it starts allowing the conversations to take place between engineering, procurement to understand how things really get delivered, right? To understand, hey, I’m sorry, but that construction sequence you work, I can’t deliver that from an engineering perspective because I’ve got to design systems around.

[00:09:46] Fernando Espana: So there’s this cycle. Alignment and an integration that happens. And to get to a point where in the, with construction work packages, which are generally level three schedule packages, we come out with a path of construction. And in that path of construction, we can get an aligned path of engineering. So this is how engineers really work and this is how we’re going to align and prioritize the deliverables to your construction work packages.

[00:10:12] Fernando Espana: So then we get a procurement alignment on how they want to deliver things and materials can get assigned and we can track feasibility analysis against those work packages. So once we have those construction work packages, which again are our discipline specific components of work, we’ll take them and start dividing them into more discreet, smaller installation work packages where a foreman – and one of the basic concepts is a foreman can understand the work they’re going to go do in the next week or so and they can go do that in un uninterrupted, because all constraints have been removed. Right, that’s the key message here. So as we move from construction work packages to installation work packages, we have a –

[00:11:03] Fernando Espana: We put a shield in there that says we don’t want to release that to the field installation work packages until all the engineering and procurement constraints, all the site constraints, everything that we can tell from within our control at the construction work package level has been cleared or satisfied.

[00:11:23] Fernando Espana: And that drops down. Of course. Now we have an installation work package, which has dedicated workplace planners that work with the field, work with a foreman, general foreman construction, to understand the real constraints of getting the work done and break the work into smaller sequences of work generally within say a week or two, you know, the hours may be 200 hours, maybe a thousand hours, 1,500 hours or more.

[00:11:47] Fernando Espana: But it’s something that we can now remove every constraint from a workplace planning perspective and just leave those field level constraints, which a general foreman can go do and then go execute that. We can sequence that work, we can integrate that work because they’re small enough chunks.

[00:12:04] Fernando Espana: Think of a Lego block or an IKEA thing. We can just build it and then the next thing gets attached. So we can identify prerequisite work, we can look at successful work and match those two and all that. As the installation work packages come together, we move back into systems. So installation work packages all contribute to a system, whether it’s in one CDP or other CWP construction work packages.

[00:12:30] Fernando Espana: And we can see how we’re going to start the systems up as those are completed, because now with data we can visualize and look at the readiness. So another, you know, all these shields are taking place so that we don’t start inflation until all those constraints can be released. And then of course we go finish the work.

[00:12:50] Fernando Espana: We collect the work, we close out the work and get into mechanical completions so we can get to turnover and then turn over into operations. So there’s this logic that happens in this advanced work packaging framework. So that’s the high level overview around advanced work packaging.

[00:13:10] Fernando Espana: And I’m sure we’ll have some questions later. So with that, I’ll hand it back over to Gary.

[00:13:18] Gary Fischer, PE: Very good. That was very insightful. And now we’re going to talk about lean construction. And John, you’re going to lead that.

[00:13:23] John Strickland, PMP: Hey there, well, this is kind of fun to be on a panel of a forum, and I’m recognizing people I’ve known for 20 years or more talking about things that are very familiar.

[00:13:35] John Strickland, PMP: But lean construction, and lean in general, is primarily a way of thinking. You’ll see here the definition from LCI that it’s, based on culture and respect. And you, you’re noticing the graphic on the right, which are the big ideas, and that we talk a lot about the generation of value. We focus on making sure we’re delivering value to the customer, have everyone focused on that, and always getting a little bit better at that.

[00:14:00] John Strickland, PMP: And there’s a lot of focus on removing waste, you know, as time goes on, and I think it’s pretty important to this conversation, that my realization is that it’s not really about removing waste. It’s about creating flow that – when you create flow, you intrinsically eliminate waste. But if you try to eliminate waste without creating flow, you can just kind of spin your wheels and make the piles of WIP between the stations bigger.

[00:14:27] John Strickland, PMP: That’s what a lot, I think, a lot of people do. So the idea of a lean is also tremendously, I think, part of it that gets, even in the people who are practicing the construction of that giant circle in the middle, and that’s respect for people. And I think if you think about that, not just the altruistic, we’re going to be nice and everyone will have a nice day.

[00:14:50] John Strickland, PMP: It’s really more, I think, a respect for how people work together. So, as production physics is the physics of how things get done, there’s also, there needs to be the scientific understanding of how people get together to do them. And I think that’s a big frontier for us to go do that. And the other

[00:15:11] John Strickland, PMP: aspect that is very big in the lean construction world is this concept of integrated project delivery. We heard all about it in the last presentation. You know, why do we, why do we have these major barriers? And what has happened is the commercial structures of a lot of projects have created these enormous barriers to the flow of information in the work, in the form of these giant procurement packages that don’t flow together.

[00:15:35] John Strickland, PMP: And the shorter metaphor that occurred to me this morning, much like the rivers of the West have been, have massive dams that keep the, that keep the salmon and fish from migrating upstream. Well, our project delivery systems have erected these enormous barriers that we need to rethink and people are very reluctant to tear down the dams and people are very reluctant to tear down their contract structures.

[00:16:02] John Strickland, PMP: So this whole concept of lean is making sure everybody really understands what’s really going on about what’s really important and creating flow of value to the customer. And so I, I actually see, I saw Fernando’s slides and I say, you know, this is just the next devil. He’s gone through an evolution of, of AWP.

[00:16:19] John Strickland, PMP: There’s just the next step he’s, we’re going to keep going through. I think it’s going to borrow heavily from some of the lean concepts.

[00:16:25] John Strickland, PMP: How is that for an overview of lean thinking?

[00:16:30] Gary Fischer, PE: It sounded pretty good. James, do you want to tell us about PPM?

[00:16:35] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Sure. Okay. So what is PPM? So this is the definition that’s in the PPLI gloss.

[00:16:46] H.J. James Choo, PhD: The PPM is the development and application of modern production theories. Principles and methods to better understand, control and improve project delivery. This includes the application of operations science, digital and autonomous technologies. So the digital and autonomous technologies are something that we’re going to be talking about later in the future of construction.

[00:17:10] H.J. James Choo, PhD: But the other element is something that we’re going to touch up on now to give you a little bit of overview of what PPM is. So if you look at the PPM definition, we talked about the application of production theory. The word “production” is the core element which is the basis for our understanding. Any piece of pipe, equipment, foundation, piece of steel or what, anything that gets installed and said even a module as a whole,

[00:17:45] H.J. James Choo, PhD: it’s going to go through a process of design. It’s going to actually get made in a factory or some fabricator. It’s going to get transported through vehicles, earth, craft, and ships, and it’s going to be installed. And these are moving through this system. That’s the production system. How fast this work can be done, how fast these things actually move through the –

[00:18:12] H.J. James Choo, PhD: is based on the capacity that’s actually within the designers, engineers, factory of fabricators, vehicles, aircrafts, and ships and construction, labor and equipment. Okay? So things move through the operation with those actually governed by the speed, governed by the amount of capacity that’s in the system.

[00:18:32] H.J. James Choo, PhD: At the same time, work may actually get, and wait before it can be consumed by next, or you might actually have not enough of this, which actually will make this capacity here idle. Okay. So it’s actually looking at everything actually as a system, as a production system and designing it and controlling it.

[00:18:55] H.J. James Choo, PhD: So what is the framework that’s being applied in understanding the production system? We call this the fervor four 50. For verbs, the areas of our focus is how we design things, how we make things, how we transport things, and how we build things. Okay, so there are additional elements of project management, which is actually focused on the administrative side.

[00:19:23] H.J. James Choo, PhD: That’s not the main emphasis actually of PPM. The main emphasis of PPM is the actual production, which are these four. Our underlying framework is that the cost and cash, cash meaning the amount of money that’s tied up before it actually creates a revenue, is a function of what we’re making. The product design.

[00:19:47] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Okay. How we’re making it. The actual process, design, capacity, labor, and equipment that does the work. Inventory accounting for all the work that’s waiting to be worked on, as well as work that’s being worked on, work that’s actually waiting to be worked on, work done is called stocks and I, the industry is very familiar with stocks of material, stocks of information, and the work being worked on is web work in process.

[00:20:20] H.J. James Choo, PhD: And last but not least, is the variability. How much variability you have in the system will dictate how much extra capacity you need or how much extra inventory you will actually need. And if you don’t actually have extra capacity or inventory to do with variability, what are the consequences of that to the overall?

[00:20:43] H.J. James Choo, PhD: So that is the five levers. What’s interesting is these actually are not individually moving parts. As you make changes to one, the other one actually either changes or if we don’t change it, you’ll actually have huge implications on cost, time, and cash. What’s important is that these are not something that you actually have to trial and error to find out what the relationship is, or you actually need a huge amount of data applying data science to figure out what the relationship is.

[00:21:14] H.J. James Choo, PhD: There is already a fundamentally proven science that governs the behavior of these five levers. And that’s what we call the operations science, and the three curves below it actually represent those. Okay. So that is the fundamental of PPM.

[00:21:32] Gary Fischer, PE: Okay that’s good. You mentioned there’s an idea that thread all three approaches together.

[00:21:36] Gary Fischer, PE: So why don’t you continue on and tell us about that?

[00:21:39] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Yeah, so. I think Fernando and John, which I think John alluded to, that we’ve been actually working together for the last 20 years, and there’s some elements actually of meaning AWP and so forth. There is actually a shared perspective. So, you know, people actually have said, we are going to actually do AWP, but not lean, lean for not PPM and so forth.

[00:21:59] H.J. James Choo, PhD: But there is actually a shared perspective. And what we wanted actually to talk a little bit about is this concept. So this is something that I think many of you’re familiar with and if you’re not familiar with, it’s actually very easy to understand. So in the middle is an operation or task, something that you need to perform, whether it’s actually engineering, whether it’s actually to deliver something, the transport, whether you’re going to actually install something or you’re going to actually make something.

[00:22:25] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Left side is everything that you need in order to do the work. Okay? You need the preceding operation, whatever it might be, to complete it. You need the material, you need the information. In order to do the work, you need the capacity, which is driven by your equipment, labor, and space on the bottom. And then the top is the actual policies that, and the objectives and requirements that govern what does a good work of that operation look like, which will all result in the completion of an operation.

[00:22:55] H.J. James Choo, PhD: If you don’t have any of these available, then the operation cannot begin or may begin, but result in re-work or it may begin an extra work in a work stoppage. Okay. I think that’s very easy to actually understand and relate to. Okay. Now, workspace, as Fernando pointed out, advanced work packaging had its foundations in workspace planning.

[00:23:23] H.J. James Choo, PhD: And workplace planning, I think he actually used the word “unconstrained,” was to actually make sure that the work that’s actually going to be done by the field was unconstrained. And this was the 2007 document that relates to work phase planning, having a dedicated planner and extra field installation work package that actually has all these components included in there to say.

[00:23:50] H.J. James Choo, PhD: And you see the wall there that says, if you actually don’t have any of these, don’t release the work. Okay. That’s actually promoting efficient use of available resources by organizing and delivering all necessary elements before the work is started. Okay? If you go to lean construction, in construction, in the early, early days, a lot of focus actually and still is –

[00:24:15] H.J. James Choo, PhD: is the last planner concept. And the last planner concept actually is the system for project production that promotes creation of predictable workflow. And one of the very, very fundamental aspects that actually we saw in the 1998 paper showed in production says, we’re going to actually put a shield before the work actually gets done so that the labor can be protected from variability upstream.

[00:24:43] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Again, there’s that concept of a shield either through an inventory buffer or for using the inventory buffer of work. Okay. And this is actually from a PPM perspective. We actually, again, we actually look at everything as a production. Okay, so you actually have supply flow that’s actually going to have inventory of work that’s actually inventory of stuff that’s actually being delivered, ready for installation, as well as the stuff that’s actually been installed that will become fundamental, the preceding operation that requires you to actually perform the subsequent activity.

[00:25:20] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Okay? So this concept of making sure you actually have the stuff ready to protect the installation crew from being able to actually promote the efficient use of their capacity is actually very common across the three themes. Okay. And using some form of inventory buffer to actually do that is all common.

[00:25:45] H.J. James Choo, PhD: I think the, one of the, the biggest discussions that we actually have been having across the three different approaches was how those packages be, Or how should, how big should those inventory actually be? Okay, so the question is, the more you actually have there, the longer it’s going to sit there.

[00:26:10] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Therefore longer the cycle time, which means more cash is going to tie it up. The bigger the batch, you’re going to actually end up in the same result. Okay. So I think that where there is the common element, there is actually a little bit of science that actually needs to come together, or methodology or approach, however you want to actually call it, that needs to come together to actually help people define what these actually should be.

[00:26:34] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Okay. And with that, I think I’m going to actually turn it over to John and Fernando to talk about some of the approaches that are coming forward in actually trying to address that issue.

[00:26:44] Fernando Espana: Yeah, I’ll add to that because what you just went through is there is that commonality of how do we make reliable work happen and from an advanced work packaging perspective, you know, for instance, we started saying, we, we got to shield some work at the CWP level.

[00:26:59] Fernando Espana: And there’s this transition that every project goes through from engineering into construction at high, at different levels. So how do we mature a group that’s involved with a project, and there’s a set of releases that happen. The advanced work at the CWP level, a set of releases that happens at the installation worker level.

[00:27:17] Fernando Espana: And I think what’s been missing in, at least from my perspective, it’s because I’ve worked in, as you know, James and lean, and operations science with you for, well, going, going back a few decades, but the fact is you know, what was missing was a last planner type perspective.

[00:27:37] Fernando Espana: And when you’re exposed to all this and you learn to see things right, you know, we saw the opportunity because there was this say, well, hey, that advancement package doesn’t apply over here. We don’t use it. They don’t use it. We don’t like lean, we don’t– right. Just because we get comfortable, and it goes back to what John said earlier, in contracts, hey, we get so used to it.

[00:27:58] Fernando Espana: It’s very, very difficult to change. So a a couple years ago, you know, we just, because we’ve had this exposure, we wanted to bring this ADP plus lean thinking together, right? And we wanted to include, you know, all the different types of methodologies that we should be exposing. Anybody that’s interested too, right?

[00:28:19] Fernando Espana: We wanted to create this safe space to explore these different methodologies and raise awareness and benefits and use cases. And so people can make their own choices. Say, “Hey, I,” you know, “I, I understand what advanced work packaging is. I understand the benefits of lean, I understand the needs of our operation science,” and start, and start the conversation happening, right?

[00:28:39] Fernando Espana: So you know, what you’re showing here are several, to that extent, what we’re trying to achieve, that better together was our first attempt and written, co-written by those in, across ADP Lean and DFMA at the time. You know, I was looking at, hey, here’s the description of each, here’s the commonality, here’s how they’re complimentary and, you know, let’s explore deeper on the organization culture paper.

[00:29:09] Fernando Espana: Which is, these are all now CII documents that we’ve, that we’ve introduced to, to the broader group, you know, is looking at. Which generated actually the lean, was the lean construction, you know, culture of respect and say, well, how do we bring that kind of culture, the integrated, you know, type approach to things and getting people to have different languages that are more focused on a project holistically, and how do we, how do we gain that, right.

[00:29:40] Fernando Espana: I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it in lean, I’ve seen it on big projects, and I’ve seen even where all these, you kind of, sort of develop a culture, but how do we really focus on that as being a key enabler? And then of course, now we’re, we’re really focused on what, on really looking at the detailed differences and the comparison of approaches and introducing the concept of, and John and I are working on this, this last one here.

[00:30:02] Fernando Espana: On project workflow, you know, looking at the different concepts of flow, which you, which you just showed in your previous slide. You know, how do we get people thinking that way? So I’m, I’ll pause there because I know John’s probably got a lot more to add to. So John, what you got? Anything more to?

[00:30:21] John Strickland, PMP: Oh, it’s just the realization that it started out, I think it might have started out the conversation that Fernando and I had at a conference. We were talking about the apparent friction between AWP and lean and things, and he says, you know, there’s ways to bring this together, you know, and I, and I think the work structuring is part of it. I think that we’re all, we, we’re all blending and learning from each other, but I, I think that there is a great ability to move forward. I think we have a slide coming up in a minute that kind of talks about how we bring these folks together.

[00:30:57] John Strickland, PMP: And you want to talk about AWP, but that’s what I was talking about here, this is what we’re calling “next gen delivery thinking.” And you can see that, you know, we started this out. I was kind of representing the lean perspective. There’s a bunch of people on this call who could probably do that even better than I could.

[00:31:17] John Strickland, PMP: Who were there when this all started and AWP and we held a symposium very early on, or a virtual event over a year ago. And kind of a key part to me was when Jamie Ger, who’s now the executor or the interim director of CII was talking about culture in an AWP concept, an AWP framework.

[00:31:42] John Strickland, PMP: And I said, you know, that sounds exactly like what I would hear at an LCI event. Exactly the same culture, you know, so that was kind of a common point that got me thinking. There’s actually quite a lot, and it turns out that we had another event and we had Kurt, so we actually had the executive directors of LCI, Kurt, and CII together saying, “Hey, you guys are onto something.”

[00:32:03] John Strickland, PMP: “Let’s go pursue this.” And at that I said, I think we need to reach out to PPI and PPM. And so that’s kind of where we are here, and the outcome is we’re going to kind of learn from each other and develop future leaders. I’m not sure I’m wanting to create another toolkit, but I’m wanting to make grays create

[00:32:22] Fernando Espana: an awareness of how, of how things work and what’s really going on.

[00:32:28] John Strickland, PMP: Kind of steer the future delivery.

[00:32:31] John Strickland, PMP: Do you guys want to add

[00:32:32] Fernando Espana: onto that? Well, here’s probably a good point to say, you know, that to get to this next gen type thinking and this is not like saying, “Hey, we’re going to develop something completely new.” It’s really how do we look at what’s the best practices out there and

[00:32:51] Fernando Espana: blend those into something that each organization can leverage. You know, themselves. Hey, I can pull from here, pull from here. Whether I’m in a hospital project, I can use some, it’s a little bit of AWP, a lot of lean and some operations science versus you know, a big oil and gas or, or process doing the same thing.

[00:33:10] Fernando Espana: I, you know, we need to pull a little bit more out of people. We need to start looking at operations science and we need to start looking at last planner because those are, those are gaps. And we’ve seen that, and that’s kind of what drove all this is that hey, in fact, that was a slide before. Hey, ADP is

[00:33:26] Fernando Espana: good today, but not good enough. Right? That’s kind of the theme going on and why isn’t it good enough? And if we, if we each look down deep into the methodologies that we practice, you know, we’ll, we’ll say, “Hey this is, this is great in theory and good in practice, but my gosh, we still have a long way to go.”

[00:33:49] Fernando Espana: And in AWP, just in 2019, we introduced a capability matrix, you know, saying, “Here’s what this means to do ADP and everyone looked to say, “Wow, the guy, I didn’t realize all that.” You know, and we’re, we want to do the same thing with lean. What maybe we’re working on with John is that this is what, this is what lean really does.

[00:34:11] Fernando Espana: And how do I take it from level one to level two to level three. Because it’s, it is a journey. We can’t, we can only meet, move at the speed of the industry or the customer or the organization. And that’s, those are things to look at. And so developing these memorandum of understanding between these organizations seemed like a great first step.

[00:34:32] Fernando Espana: And I think even David cares on the line, but kind of just, kind of drove that, that line of thinking. But yeah, it’s a lot of opportunity here and those of us that have been in this business and we, we are always learning to see, right? Hey, this is, this is something new and, and I don’t ever want to consider myself the expert.

[00:34:51] Fernando Espana: People will call me that, but I’m learning all the time and I want to learn from my friends at PPI, I want to learn from my friends at Lean Construction because the application to the project that we’re involved with now is, is just huge and, and we know we can drive more value. You know, hey, we’re just on a little bit of a journey and, and one step, let’s introduce this little part and see how it works.

[00:35:14] Fernando Espana: There’s also the,

[00:35:15] John Strickland, PMP: you know, the common problem we have is really lousy project ex– not, we have lousy project results

[00:35:23] Fernando Espana: and

[00:35:23] John Strickland, PMP: terrible project experiences. You know, you know, I think Gary alluded to this in his opening remarks. You know, we can’t get people to join the industry because only an idiot would do that.

[00:35:32] John Strickland, PMP: You know, if you, if you really understood what we did, you know, and so that’s why we’re all, but we need to pull together to change this. And there’s a big tipping point. And so we ha– we’re going to be a lot more effective if we’re working in concert to go attack this thing then.

[00:35:50] John Strickland, PMP: And so we make sure we’re not uh, kind of bickering among ourselves. Like, yeah. Yeah. The metaphor, I kind of like, back to the natural metaphors. Is it sort of like a pack of wolves? No individual wolf is going to take down the– we’re working together, they can make some progress.

[00:36:08] John Strickland, PMP: And I, I think that’s what we need to do. We have much more in common. And my personal experience is, this is where I met Fernando and James 20 years ago. We’re on a very large, very complex technology project. I was the program manager, but we incorporated lean construction and what became the PPI concepts and there was, I never sensed there was any conflict between those ideas at all.

[00:36:34] John Strickland, PMP: They seemed completely compatible to me then, and they still do now.

[00:36:38] Fernando Espana: So let’s keep that, that’s a very,

[00:36:40] Gary Fischer, PE: that’s a very good point, John, that you know, we all have a common enemy, and that’s project performance. Yeah. And it’s also interesting to note that all, all these, these three methods have the same root.

[00:36:51] Gary Fischer, PE: Yeah. Like trying to address that issue. And there’s a lot of normalized pain in our industry where we just accept things the way they are. Well, that’s just the way it is. We have contracts and we’ve got to live with it, and we’ve got to fundamentally change those things. But go to the next slide. I’d like to tease out from each one of you.

[00:37:08] Gary Fischer, PE: What do you see from your vantage point coming into this conversation from AWP, lean and PPM contributing to the next generation of project delivery, what, what are the positive things that we need to bring into this in, you know, align concept? Describe it that

[00:37:25] Fernando Espana: way. Yeah. That’s a great, that’s a great question.

[00:37:29] Fernando Espana: You know, and that’s kind of why we opened up the joint working group at CII to any member. And, you know, you don’t have to be a member of CII to join because one of the biggest things that we’re trying to contribute is, from an ADP perspective, we want to learn, we need to learn what’s out there.

[00:37:48] Fernando Espana: Because that’s one of the biggest things is that a lot of folks are, I don’t want to say ignorant, that’s a strong word, but are unaware of what’s, what other best practices exist. Yes. Hey, we can, we can rest on the laurels that there’s all these. There’s all these improvements you’re getting, these benefits you’re getting.

[00:38:06] Fernando Espana: But the fact is, you know, if you’re, if you’re in a bad process and you do anything, you’re going to get some improvement. And, you know, that’s, that’s been, that’s been proven. So I think what the contribution is, and what I’ve heard most is from advanced work packaging, it provides a structure that we can all agree to, and one of the key concepts from what I’ve learned in lean is that we can define things right, and we can define the work packages and logical work packages, and then we can allow agile processes in there to enable change management and all these things.

[00:38:44] Fernando Espana: Right. Open up these conversations. I believe and I’ll, I start that as, as the first one is, it’s bringing a structure and a very, very strong infrastructure. A very, very strong constrained management process to help the next gen project delivery. And what we need now, you know, is to be able to absorb by bringing that awareness and understanding, absorb what others are doing to at least increase the knowledge base.

[00:39:16] Fernando Espana: Mm-hmm, of the ADP practitioners at, yeah, the

[00:39:21] John Strickland, PMP: AWP. I see that the chunking and structuring has been part of the lean discussion since 1997. I think Glen used the Clem Ballard, used the term “chunking” and that’s actually I think one of the things where lean thinking might shape AWP if we chunk the work in terms of things that provide value to the,

[00:39:41] John Strickland, PMP: and make things by their nature integrated and coordinated, rather than producing very discipline specific type packages. I think that that little shift might help us. And so I think that one, one thing we started is could we bring some lean thinking to improve AWP? Well, AWP is also going to improve lean thinking because they do such a, they, they do such a good job at the constraint removal.

[00:40:04] John Strickland, PMP: Okay. And so, at the last LCI conference I heard about fake lean, the biggest thing in fake lean that they were talking

[00:40:13] Fernando Espana: about was poor, poor constraint

[00:40:15] John Strickland, PMP: removal. They weren’t really doing a good job of that. Well, hey, I know some guys who are really good at that. The other thing is we can get all these systems together, but if the people won’t work together, they won’t work.

[00:40:26] John Strickland, PMP: So we’re going to bring in the elements of the lean world to help those who are kind of a little further ahead or a little more focused on human elements. And then we need to understand the physics of flow. Because I think we waste an awful lot of time. And then, then of course that’s maybe the single biggest area where PPI helps us understand that.

[00:40:45] John Strickland, PMP: And of course the whole, how the work is

[00:40:47] Fernando Espana: done, the actual.

[00:40:49] John Strickland, PMP: operations science of how we actually transform things. We need to understand. So I think all those things work together. Mm-hmm. To go to the next generation. Yeah. James has got some other thoughts that

[00:41:01] Fernando Espana: mirror those.

[00:41:03] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Yeah, I, again, I think there’s the element that’s actually common and one of the things, again, over

[00:41:10] H.J. James Choo, PhD: my 26 years of journey working with lean and, and some of the AWP concepts, one of the things that I think the PPI specifically actually brings, the PPM specifically brings, is the actual operations science element of it. Right. So before we used to actually, I use, I personally actually used to do things that are actually more, let’s say, phrase

[00:41:34] H.J. James Choo, PhD: our goal to zero inventory until we actually learned that inventory. Working process is part of inventory. And if you have zero inventory, you have zero throughput, you have no business. Mm-hmm, right? So the question is, how much web do you actually need in order to meet your demand? At the same time, minimize your cash tied up in the system.

[00:41:54] H.J. James Choo, PhD: And as we’re going to actually talk about this in the future as well as, as projects have become smaller and actually become more deployment type of projects, the concept of inventory actually becomes more and more important, right? And so how do we actually take to the, how do we actually apply the next gen project delivery into that concept?

[00:42:09] H.J. James Choo, PhD: You know, that’s, I think that’s actually one. And then two is actually understanding. Now there is the, the four elements that we actually talked about, Fernando talked about the production, the procurement packages. But the reason that each of the fabricators actually choose their own batch size is to minimize their setups for their own efficiency.

[00:42:34] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Mm-hmm, right? And then the transportation actually chooses there to actually maximize their utilization of their transportation capacity. So how do we actually account for the optimization of individual components at the same time? The optimization of a whole is something that I think we actually need a scientific approach to do it.

[00:42:56] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Mm-hmm, and, as Gary alluded to it very early on, we actually have more and more work than we actually have people for. Right. So we need to actually figure out how we actually, and, and as was actually also pointed out, that if we’re not careful in actually designing these things to begin with, then we’re going to actually end up with a lot of rework, right?

[00:43:18] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Mm-hmm, which we can’t afford to do. So I think this is actually a scientific approach of how do we make sure that we actually have the right amount of inventory to shield the workers, but not too much. That we’re actually going against the Agile or actually find more cash than we actually need in the system.

[00:43:35] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Mm-hmm?

[00:43:36] Fernando Espana: Yeah. Thanks you back to

[00:43:38] John Strickland, PMP: oh, thanks. Me. Back to something I’ve actually learned from James, some from James and Todd. We were setting up for a big sym– a big workshop with Intel to spend a lot of time, how would they apply lean thinking to the construction of a path? And in the conversation Todd got me to go out and look at the job from the perspective, find all the WIP, and if WIP is all the work that started not done, you walk out there on a typical job, you say, oh my God.

[00:44:03] John Strickland, PMP: There’s the, the amount of it is absolutely incredible and our giant bid packages are one of the, one of the giant sources of WIP. They’re just choking us, and they force so many things to be happening so soon. So if we, again, that’s just an example of a blending perspective is to, to see something I had never seen before.

[00:44:24] John Strickland, PMP: Yeah. And I think that we’re, we’re just

[00:44:25] Fernando Espana: beginning. Right? I, and I, I totally agree with that because whatever our, whatever we practice and, and the theoretical boundaries of all that, you know, hey, this should all work perfect, but you go out there, you know, and, but there’s, in all, all three, you go out, look at AP and for instance, and you see, well, hey these guys say they do it, but they really aren’t.

[00:44:46] Fernando Espana: And, but they need help, support over here. Mm-hmm. And when you raise these conversation levels and, and help people to not only uh, see what they know, but what, see what others know because, hey we all know what we know, right? And there’s the whole concept of we know things that we don’t know, so we bring an expert to go do that.

[00:45:04] Fernando Espana: But it’s the danger zone. Is that what we don’t know? That we don’t know? Right. And in ADP, there’s a lot of folks that don’t know about, you know, what operation science, what other lean practices need to bring in. And now the conversations turned from, hey, you know, maybe we can benefit from target value delivery.

[00:45:23] Fernando Espana: Hey, we can benefit from last planner. Hey, what is this flow thing and what’s operations science? So, so the conversations are happening, which is over the past two years, you know, and John and I are the co-chairs of the Pless Lean, so anybody can join it. We didn’t have that conversation two years ago, you know, it was mine, theirs, and, you know, that doesn’t work.

[00:45:45] Fernando Espana: This doesn’t work. It’s just the way it was, it was, there was on the ADP side, Iman, I, I’d had to fight that all the time. So the fact is these conversations and what each is contributing to is making everybody aware that there are certain things out there that we need to take advantage of.

[00:46:04] Fernando Espana: Especially what James alluded to, the fact that hey, the world and all the projects coming at us and the demand for, for you know, higher delivery standards than what we’ve had. You know, we have to think differently. We have to think outside the box, and we have to blend all these organize– all these methodologies, if we’re really going to deliver something of value to this.

[00:46:26] Fernando Espana: The other thing we have is each, each of these organizations kind has a different audience and a different level of

[00:46:31] John Strickland, PMP: influence. And one of the attractive parts from, from the Lean LCI perspective, hey, this blending in with a VP gives us an audience with a huge group of customers, but that don’t know about us yet.

[00:46:45] John Strickland, PMP: And I think, I think all the organizations can say the same thing. And so there’s a huge number of people who really like the idea of AWP. Who, who are either adverse to lean or not very familiar with it. So this is also a way that we’re blending and just increasing the knowledge base and exposing it to a lot more people in the industry so we can have a better chance of getting to that tipping point.

[00:47:12] Fernando Espana: Well, I’m,

[00:47:12] Gary Fischer, PE: I’m excited about working with you all to paint this picture of how these things work together and compliment each other and tackle that common enemy. Mm-hmm. And that’s really exciting work we’ve got ahead of us here and the rest of this year. Next. But let’s go, let’s talk about in the meantime, what do you recommend projects

[00:47:31] Fernando Espana: go do?

[00:47:37] Fernando Espana: Well, the question is what projects go do versus what the organization or the managers, right, of those projects go do? Mm-hmm. Because projects first of all, they have to develop their own execution plan and they should, you know, as they develop those execution plans, they should be looking at, hey, what are my organization policies?

[00:47:57] Fernando Espana: What are the particular details or conditions that this particular project has? Is it a big project, a small project? You know, what blend of things can really help me? Optimize the delivery of this program. So there’s multiple layers. I mean, yeah, the project should be the ultimate beneficiary and whoever’s going to design the strategy for delivering that program, or this, or the project execution plan, the technologies to be used on that.

[00:48:26] Fernando Espana: If they can, if they consider what has been already proven with other methodologies and other technologies and other culture building education and training components that should be going into a project execution plan. And the feasibility of that, you know, obviously needs, obviously needs to be studied, but if we don’t open up the whole box and look at what I can bring in, you know, we’re not really ever going to optimize.

[00:48:55] Fernando Espana: We’re just going to get some better results, but not ,aybe, maybe you’ll

[00:49:01] John Strickland, PMP: start thinking in simplicity. How does work really get done? How does the work I’m going to go do affect the next person? And how do I make their work go a little easier? How do I give them exactly what they need? Exactly when they need it?

[00:49:14] John Strickland, PMP: Exactly how they want it. And you start building this awareness, which is which, which is part of the thing. And pretty soon you’re going to start to understand that will lead you in that, I think that discussion would lead you into most everything we’re talking about. That’s how a lot of the lean construction evolved because we wanted to have a week’s worth of work.

[00:49:32] John Strickland, PMP: That didn’t change. Well, pretty soon we had to do a lot better job of looking ahead, planning. And constraint management, then we’ll do, that’d be a lot easier if our organizations weren’t so siloed. So we came up with IPD and I think the other organizations, Fernando talked about something different.

[00:49:47] John Strickland, PMP: They started with one goal. They’ve been evolving. We’ll, let’s evolve together, but just what you want to go do, just start seeing how the whole system works at even a very simple level, let alone that the way the, is, is what James would have us learn to go do.

[00:50:03] Fernando Espana: Yeah.

[00:50:04] Gary Fischer, PE: James, your per.

[00:50:05] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Yeah, I think, I think number one, it’s not actually about, you know, this approach versus that approach versus the, you know, whatever the, the other approach that you actually have, including the approach that your, your company might be doing already.

[00:50:18] H.J. James Choo, PhD: I think it’s, you know, we actually talked about in our paper the, the three errors, right? So in the old days, we actually used to focus all on productivity. There was the era of productivity, and then the second era actually came in, which is the era of predictability. And I think that the emphasis actually, in the future, actually needs to be as we talked about, it’s the era of profitability.

[00:50:38] H.J. James Choo, PhD: So everybody that’s actually involved in the delivery process should be able to be profitable while delivering the, you know, valuable built environment that we actually saw needed as per your opening. So one of the things is when we are actually thinking about, you know, what do we actually go employ, deploy or implement? I think it needs to actually be looked at from a perspective of does this actually achieve the target, a target goal of actually providing a reliable or a profitable project to the organization?

[00:51:18] H.J. James Choo, PhD: And actually say, don’t actually just simply say, I’m just going to do lean and actually ignore the other. Learn about those things. Not actually as you hear from others, but maybe actually from whether it’s actually what it’s intended to be and actually learn and actually, and follow the development of this joint working group right now.

[00:51:39] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Gary and I actually have been involved in the weekly meetings to actually get this. So that we can actually get more and more involved. And I think there will be some outputs coming out of there, I think people should actually pay attention to, but at the same time, learn about these approaches as it’s intended and actually understand it’s, let’s say gray areas, that other, third other parts actually may fill.

[00:52:04] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Like, like Fernando just actually talked about, you know, the flow concept and then inventory and the variability. These are so that other approaches actually might, our, the operations science team actually may bring to, for clarity some gray areas as well. So I think, you know, you should pay attention to all three and learn at this point until there is one joint body of knowledge that governs that, that has merged all three approaches.

[00:52:32] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Or maybe, maybe, or maybe a fourth approach that actually, that we actually identify along the way.

[00:52:37] Fernando Espana: One, one last, very

[00:52:38] John Strickland, PMP: quick one on, based on James’ all three, you’ve talked about, you know, learned Boy Scouts, you know, what do you need for a fire? You know, what’s more important, the source of ignition, the fuel, the oxygen.

[00:52:46] John Strickland, PMP: Well, you need all three of these things working together to optimize combustion. And so I think we kind of look at that as, as drawing, you know, we, it makes a little sense for each desk to advance more and more oxygen. If we aren’t looking at them very well, very well

[00:53:01] Gary Fischer, PE: put, as you guys can imagine, you let up the question board.

[00:53:05] Gary Fischer, PE: Hopefully a good share of these questions were addressed in the conversation, but I just want to, I just want to tackle– we have just a couple of minutes here, but we will get back to– Yeah. Folks who ask the questions offline.

[00:53:18] Fernando Espana: Yeah, I’ll, I’ll type some answers in there for sure.

[00:53:21] Gary Fischer, PE: So, one, a key question, I think, what are the cultural and organizational issues and barriers to the blending of these ideas?

[00:53:30] Fernando Espana: Expect the first one to be your first

[00:53:35] Fernando Espana: Yeah, I, I see a, I see a couple of challenges myself and, and just because we had to deal with it and we, we started up a whole research team on, on, on just the culture of, of adopting advanced work packaging, right? And I’m sure the similar problems with lean and, and others is how do we get people to start thinking about from a culture perspective, how to adopt

[00:53:56] Fernando Espana: these different methodologies, and a part of it is raising awareness and showing, you know, the benefits and, and getting the leadership involved, you know, to, to also support this. Because if we don’t have leadership and, and we’re not really going to get very far, we’ll get some, you know, we’ll get a little bit of frustration, but we’ll get some, some minor benefits, but not the level that people are asking about, you know, which has been determined.

[00:54:21] Fernando Espana: The step change, right? Everybody’s looking for that step change, and you can’t do it by incremental delivery programs or, or lukewarm leadership. So, and

[00:54:31] John Strickland, PMP: you have to understand comp, I think, the nature of competition is huge, we, I think, we have this paradigm for how, how we, how we drive the best competition.

[00:54:40] John Strickland, PMP: And the irony is the bidding process. We used

[00:54:42] Fernando Espana: to drive competition guarantees the project will be inefficient.

[00:54:46] John Strickland, PMP: So, so that as a system and so understanding the competition and collaboration aren’t mutually exclusive, we can

[00:54:52] Fernando Espana: actually enhance the competition by making projects more attractive. Yeah.

[00:54:56] John Strickland, PMP: And less that’s…

[00:54:58] Gary Fischer, PE: James, any, any final thoughts there?

[00:55:00] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Yeah, I, I think there’s actually the, the culture and implementation is, is very important. But I actually have a little bit of a different mental model that stem from what we all actually went through. So remember the adoption of mobile phones. Hmm. We did not actually have the industry and humanity actually had to change its mindset first before we actually started using the mobile.

[00:55:27] H.J. James Choo, PhD: The organization structure, how we do work, how we live on a daily basis, actually was structured by the adoption of mobile phones individually, and the groundswell actually set the foundation on what we actually do today. I think the digitalization and the tools that we’re actually going to put in the hands of the engineers, the fabricators, the people that do transportation.

[00:55:49] H.J. James Choo, PhD: Mm-hmm. The installation actually has a huge role to play. So the question is, how do we actually make those digital tools not actually just automate what we’re actually doing today faster and create text faster, but how do we actually make those to become more aligned with the direction of the next gen project delivery?

[00:56:08] H.J. James Choo, PhD: So that we can actually have the cultures come as a more of a groundswell rather than let’s, you know, get everyone to change their mind before we actually go change something. Right. So I think there’s actually, again, as I said, the digitalization and the tools have huge roles to play. Yeah, that’s a

[00:56:24] Gary Fischer, PE: really good point.

[00:56:24] Gary Fischer, PE: And unfortunately I think we’re going to call time here again. We’ll get back to those of you who asked questions that we didn’t answer. And we’re going to move this into the next segment, which is actually my absolutely favorite time of the symposium. And James is going to introduce it. So thanks, Fernando and John, we really appreciate you sharing freely of your wisdom and your advice and to work with you in the coming

[00:56:47] Fernando Espana: year.

[00:56:47] Fernando Espana: All right. Thank you so much.

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Read Biography

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).

Read Biography

Fernando Espana


Fernando Espana


Fernando Espana, as the President of Construct-X, provides clients with Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) implementation, education & training solutions that combine core concepts in lean, integrated project delivery (IPD) and governance structures, and production planning & control for construction. Fernando spearheads Construct-X partnerships with industry and technology leaders to ensure customers attain leading edge solutions and competitive advantage. Taking a whole project life cycle delivery perspective on managing complex and dynamic projects, Fernando ensures Construct-X meets or exceeds customer conditions of satisfaction.

  • Member of the CII AWP Community of Business Advancement Leadership
  • Co-Chair on CII AWP Community of Business Advancement Subcommittee Business Accelerator
  • Co-Chair on CII AWP Community of Business Advancement AWP + Lean Joint Working Group
  • Board of Advisors for the AWP Community of Practice for North America and Europe
Read Biography

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.