Daily Huddles for Improved Construction Management

Daily Huddle

Intro to Daily Huddles

Communication and collaboration are keys to any Lean enterprise. Ultimately, just over half of all work that is laid out in a Weekly Work Plan actually gets completed for the week. Waste is common in design and construction processes, backing up timelines and causing financial hardship across the project and often resulting in owners shelling out more money than they had initially anticipated.

A daily huddle is a quick but effective communication tool that many design, construction, and trade companies swear by to keep their team on track to meet their weekly goals and to minimize overhead costs.

What is a Daily Huddle?

A daily huddle is a daily check-in for members of a team. It is a method to communicate and measure progress of a team’s work plan. Daily huddles allow members to tackle problems prior to missing goals. They also allow the team to review accomplishments from the previous day and to set expectations for the coming day.

Team Huddles, Daily

One of the most common types of waste found in construction projects is waiting time. Oftentimes, workers encounter issues on the job that prevent them from moving forward, then decide to wait until the next weekly meeting to address it. Daily huddles allow workers to have that face-to-face discussion before the next weekly meeting so they can continue with their work.

Meeting Format

Daily huddle meetings are designed to be 10-15 minute sessions that are held where the work is being done. Some huddles can be even shorter than that in length. It’s important to note that daily huddles are meant to provide minor adjustments and recalibrations, not prolonged discussions regarding singular issues a particular trade is experiencing. 

If a team member or trade has an issue to bring up, that should lead to a brief discussion of where and when to have a conversation to resolve the issue. Huddles are frequently derailed when team members dive into problems that do not involve everyone in the meeting, wasting the time of those who could be working.

Benefits of a Daily Huddle

Organizations that utilize daily huddles find a notable spike in their productivity; on average, those organizations are 30% more productive than those that do not have daily huddles. Other benefits from incorporating daily huddles into the workflow include:

Coordination

Team members can use huddles to coordinate handoffs and clarify roles for the day’s tasks. Done correctly, daily huddles ensure that nobody on the project suffers from a miscommunication that could lead to waste.

Planning 

As circumstances change, plans change as well. Daily huddles allow members to vocalize those changes to the team to note how their work environment will be impacted by adjustments to the plan.

Updates

Team huddles provide the space for team members to update one another on the progress of tasks and to renew their commitment to the Weekly Work Plan.

Sharing Ideas

In a huddle, workers have a scheduled opportunity to share good ideas and schedule future discussions needed to solve problems that have come up on the job.

Teamwork

Team camaraderie improves when members are allowed a daily opportunity to connect with one another, even if briefly. Team members that respect one another excel at implementing Lean concepts (Respect for People is the primary tenet of the Lean Construction Institute).

How Do You Conduct a Virtual Huddle?

Ideally, virtual huddles are conducted as similarly to regular huddles as possible. Remote teams are still encouraged to stand while on huddle calls to keep energy high and to keep meetings short. Find a process that works for your remote team and that captures a huddle’s intent as much as possible.

Elements of a Daily Huddle

The main element of a daily huddle is that it is…well, daily. All participants should be standing. Daily huddles do not necessarily need to occur in the morning, but they should happen at the same time every day during a time when all members can attend. 

The most efficient daily huddles ensure that all key stakeholders of the work are included. If the daily huddle exceeds 15-20 people, it may indicate that the work area needs to be divided into a smaller area. There are some companies that have found success with huddles that contain dozens of people, but it’s generally advised to keep them to smaller groups if possible in order to keep them brief and on-task.

A well-prepared project manager can lead a productive daily huddle that doesn’t stray off-topic. The goal at the end of each meeting is that each party in attendance is aware of any important changes that have been made to the project and knows what is expected of them in the next 24 hours.

Roles in a Daily Huddle

Daily huddles should incorporate all team leaders who are relevant to the happenings of the project at the place where the work is being done. Superintendents, foremen, office/knowledge workers, and teams using Kanban boards should all make use of daily huddles. Generally, huddles contain the following roles at minimum:

Facilitator

The person who runs the meeting. The facilitator is focused on keeping the meeting moving forward on the board and software.

Last Planner®

A tradesman who controls the day-to-day schedule of the scope of the meeting.

Subject Matter Expert

The general Contractor’s superintendent who controls the scope of the work being discussed.

Scribe

The scribe is focused on recording and communicating constraints, parking lot items, and needs.

Daily Huddle Board Ideas

Teams are encouraged to try whatever works for them to keep the meeting productive. Many refer to the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust) cycle to optimize their meetings.

Some in-person teams utilize physical boards mounted in the area where the work is being done. Others use electronic monitors or even tablets that have the Weekly Work Plan available to speak to and update.

If you fear that your team might be resistant to implementing a daily huddle, encourage them to give it a try for a week or two. Your team might be surprised by its increase in productivity when incorporating daily huddles into the plan.

Resources

eLearning Courses
Introduction to Lean Project Delivery
Gain insight to Lean Project Delivery (LPD) by understanding how the Lean System connects People, Principles, and Practices to optimize results by shifting both mindset and behaviors. The key achievable goal of this course is to prepare and enable team members with a foundational understanding of Lean approaches for daily use within a project environment.
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Introduction to the Last Planner System®
This course will allow you to gain in-depth insight to the practical application of the Last Planner® System (LPS) through multimedia, hands-on interactions, diagrams, worksheets, and more. The key achievable goal of this course is to learn how to engage at all five levels of LPS effectively on a day-to-day basis with a team implementing the system.
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Effective Big Room
Gain a foundational understanding of the concept of a Big Room by learning the benefits, purpose, and implementation considerations. Understanding how to improve collaboration and drive transparency within your team. Identifying venue types, set up, and activities that work best for your projects. Learning how to effectively advance work and learning to support the success of future projects.
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Lean In The Design Phase
Gain insight to Lean approaches and tools relative to the design phase of project delivery to optimize team communication, collaboration and results. Understand how a Lean strategy can drive innovative solutions by connecting People, Principles and Practices. The key achievable goal of this course is to prepare and enable team members with a foundational understanding of Lean approaches for daily use within the design phase of a project.
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Last Planner System® In Design
Gain a foundational understanding of implementing Last Planner System® (LPS®) during the design (pre-construction) phases of a project. Identify the essential foundational principles of the five conversations of LPS, gain practical application insight for each, and access key action guidelines.
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Target Value Delivery
Gain an understanding of Target Value Delivery (TVD) by identifying the different phases and components that make up the delivery approach. Discover how the Lean components interact together to improve the process and outcome of the project.
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LCI Publications
Transforming Design and Construction: A Framework for Change

William R. (Bill) Seed, Executive Editor

A diverse set of practitioners collaborated to create the Transforming Design and Construction: A Framework for Change book based on the transformative projects and experiences of their Lean practices. The papers, presented in short chapter format, are intended to encourage discussion, learning and experimentation individually or with a team. Read the first and most popular book in LCI’s Transforming Design and Construction series to gain a high-level understanding of various Lean principles, strategies and methods.
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Target Value Delivery: Practitioner Guidebook to Implementation

Executive Editors: Kristin Hill, Katherine Copeland and Christian Pikel

Target Value Delivery: Practitioner Guidebook to Implementation was collaboratively written by a team of more than 20 Target Value Delivery (TVD) practitioners to provide current state practical guidance to implementing TVD with a project team. This guidebook portrays TVD as an umbrella over Target Value Production for construction and Target Value Design by taking a broader approach rather than focusing only on the design phase. Read LCI’s second book in the Transforming Design and Construction series to gain practical insight to current practices for implementing Target Value Delivery on any project.
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Downloads & Videos
preview of the daily huddle chapter in TDC
Daily Huddle
The Daily Huddle is not a problem-solving or planning forum, but a powerful means for the team to quickly surface and resolve issues. Download the chapter to learn more.
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Field Crew Huddle
Daily Huddles for Process Improvement
This site serves as a platform for sharing methods, improvements and lessons learned on project sites or shops through simple visual content and short videos. It houses step-by-step guidance to use methods, and video examples from your colleagues, to allow you to start improving today.
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