Continuous Improvement

The primary idea of Integrated Delivery is to get A Little Better Every Day at producing Value for the Whole.

The most basic form of continuous learning and improvement is the regular practice of Retrospectives.

In fact, it has been argued that the only truly mandatory element of the System is to Plan, Act, Learn, and Improve.

Continuous Improvement is a philosophy for taking advantage of the lessons learned from planning, design and implementation, and communicating and preserving the learnings, countermeasures, and solutions devised over time.

It creates an institutional Value by constantly re-evaluating all Systems to see how they can be improved.  Continuous improvement is at the heart of “lean philosophy”, and is akin to the way that the information contained in the DNA of life progressively tests and improves itself across time.

The Attend, Plan, Act, Learn, Improve Cycle (APALI) cycle is at the heart of lean problem analysis, resolution and continuous improvement.  APALI starts with noting issues and opportunities, examining an existing process, conditions or standard procedures, and then refining and improving it to create a new standard.  APALI consists of five stages, including:

  1. Attend - Pay attention and notice issues, opportunities, and variances to Plan
  2. Plan - Investigate the Root Cause of a issue, and propose a hypothesis for its modification or resolution
  3. Act - Perform a test implementation of the plan on a small scale
  4. Learn - Assess the results of the test, and analyze any Variance Between Expected And Actual Outcomes
  5. Improve
    1. If the results are satisfactory, implement the plan
    2. If the results are not satisfactory, improve the plan / hypothesis and repeat the cycle until satisfactory results are achieved that minimize Variance Between Expected And Actual Outcomes.
    3. The new improvement becomes the new standard, and process begins again to attain the next improvement. In Continuous Improvement, there is always another improvement to make, always a way to "get a little better every day."

Part of Lean Integrated Delivery is collecting and sharing information on lessons learned throughout the life of the Program.  In lean terms, this is described as Continuous Learning.  Continuous learning adds Value to the owner as it affects every area of program development and implementation including prototype design, procurement decisions, fiscal reporting, safety and quality issues, project delivery methods, materials choices, vendor offerings, site selections, and operational efficiencies. The idea here is to reflect regularly on circumstances as they develop and to rapidly implement improvement ideas.

Integrated Delivery includes the documentation of lessons learned, so that all team members have access to and can share information. Lessons learned should be rapidly shared and propagated across all instantiations of the System.

Numerous tools are used to document lessons learned.  Examples include the use of technology, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and cost modeling to continuously capture design choices and update budgets.  A3s, a tool used in lean to analyze and document issues, also become a valuable library of information for all team members.  Social networking software ensures informal knowledge management and sharing between team members.