Building Project Teams for Operational Excellence

The Lean Journey

There are many reasons you might be interested in embarking on a lean journey. Your customers are demanding it. You want to save time, money and resources. You believe in the lean philosophy of continuous improvement and waste reduction. You believe that your firm can aspire to and sustain excellence and that it is the right thing to do.

Weather your journey is personal, with a project team or within your organization, SWORD’s knowledgable sensei can help you build your plan and start you on your Lean journey.

The foundation of our services lies in the SWORD Lean Roadmap where there are several stops along the way. Depending upon your desired results we may visit all locations or focus on one or two.



Define Your Company Purpose – The Lean Assessment

At SWORD, we believe it’s important to Define Your Company Purpose. That’s why we like to start with a Lean Assessment that helps us identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, problems and opportunities. It will tell you where you stand and what you can achieve.

We use this process to help you create a sense of purpose for your organization in relation to lean and to gain senior leadership buy-in to the process. Lean champions are identified, study action teams are created, and a client value proposition is defined.

All of this sets the foundation for implementing Lean Practices and starting or continuing your Lean Journey.


GreenDotCreate Project Flow

Creating project flow is a basic tenant of the Toyota Production System. In construction the primary contributors to wasteful activities are waiting, over processing and rework. Project flow is created by studying the work flow to remove wasteful activities. The benefits of one piece flow include: Improved Safety, Quality, Productivity or Schedule and Worker Satisfaction.

In order to embark on a lean journey, it is paramount to analyze and understand the series of events  – or the flow of steps – that will take your project from its early design phase all the way through construction and occupancy.  At any stage of a project, you can create a learning environment, set the stage for continuous improvement, and establish a quality first mindset by understanding your anticipated project flow.

At SWORD we coach you on a variety of processes and tools to help you create project flow. They include:

  • Understanding how to use project metrics, such as schedule and total cost management, to improve project flow.
  • Creating a value stream map to analyze the current state of affairs and define the steps required to bring your project to completion.
  • Exploring methodologies such as Ohno Circles and Gemba Walks to really see how the flow of a project can be improved.
  • Creating virtual and actual first run studies that help you to improve productivity and see and fix potential problems before they occur.

VSM Flow



GreenDotStandardize Systems

While standardization may seem like the opposite of creativity and continuous improvement, it actually takes a lot of creativity and persistence to define and implement systems that work. High performing lean systems take an open mind, lots of collaboration and the ability to see what’s working and what’s not.


At SWORD we help you and your team define best practices that may need be standardized and adapt them to your organization and/or your project. Some of the practices we teach are:

  • The 5S Approach to workplace organization designed to identify problems and eliminate waste.
  • The Last Planner® System developed to produce a predictable workflow and rapid learning in programming, design, construction and commissioning of projects.
  • Methods for modularization and pre-fabrication to cut waste and expedite construction.
  • Best practices for incorporating BIM–VDC into your lean system and project flow.

Whether you are looking to standardize systems for your whole team or get a new team member up to speed on a particular system, SWORD has a learning program that will meet your needs.

GreenDotBuild a Culture of Trust
If you and your organization are intent on making the most of lean, it is imperative that you have the skills and rewards in place to build a culture of trust. This trust extends beyond your internal team to your project partners and consultants as well.

Our SWORD consultants can help you:

  • Find contract partners with experience in IPD and lean.
  • Identify behaviors to reward true collaboration
  • Set “stretch” goals with corresponding high value incentives
  • Create programs that challenge partners and suppliers to be innovative
  • Find ways to make work and the process of lean Fun!


This step of the journey is paramount to a truly successful lean journey that provides value to all parties involved…from the Architect all the way through to the Owner.

GreenDotDevelop Exceptional People and Teams

The climax of a lean journey is to become a learning organization that thrives on relentless reflection and continuous improvement. Our SWORD consultants can guide you in:

  • Creating a shared purpose internally and among your project partners and clients
  • Aligning your cultural values with lean
  • Growing future lean leaders

Our train the trainer programs can put the resources and tools of learning lean in the hands of your project champions. They can help you challenge your people to succeed. They can make lean second nature to your organization and gain you many client accolades along the way.