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Topics: Agile, Change Management, Construction
How can agile principles help construction industry?
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PMI is focusing more attention on agile methodologies and principles to be implemented into project management world. I am more curious on implementing those principles and methodologies into day to day construction industry as the construction industry is widely using waterfall techniques.

Can these agile methodologies be implemented to minimal scope of construction industry? in what way? and how?
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We used DSDM agile software development method (now agile solution delivery method) to construction in 1999. After that we used Scrum (it is a framework so we could customize it easily). If you search into the internet you will find other examples.
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1 reply by Kabilan Balakrishnan
Sep 15, 2017 5:41 AM
Kabilan Balakrishnan
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Thank you Mr. Sergio. Practically speaking, agile principles (even Scrum) cannot be applied as a whole to any construction project. But it can be applied in some portions of construction phases. DSDM agile principles can not be applied to EPC phase of any construction project as a whole.
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I am not an expert at all in construction industry projects, but at least I try to give a small comment. To me the key word is "agility" that is goes along with "Lean Practises", that strive to avoid waste in processes. So, the mindset and values of agile practises should be applicable. I think you cannot copy 1:1 agile practises like Scrum. It needs adaptation to the specfic construction project needs (if feasible and delivering value). There has been already a discussion here on this topic with very good comments and hints:

https://www.projectmanagement.com/discussi...ion-to-suggest-
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2 replies by Eric Simms and Kabilan Balakrishnan
Sep 15, 2017 5:42 AM
Kabilan Balakrishnan
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Hi, thanks for the link. Let me go through the link. I will come back with my feedback.
Sep 15, 2017 7:42 AM
Eric Simms
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Thanks for the link to the earlier discussion, Peter. I've always wondered how Agile principles could be incorporated into the Construction field.
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Just one comment. while it does not matter in the context of this topic, Lean and Agile are not the same. But in this case, you can apply Lean. I have used it when it was not named Lean. It was Toyota TPS. Lean was the name the MIT gave it time after. In fact, when you are talking about things like construction, Lean could be more useful than Agile.
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3 replies by Mohamad Fararjeh and Peter Ambrosy
Sep 15, 2017 8:06 AM
Peter Ambrosy
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Sergio, you are right - Lean and Agile is not same. As I am not a native english speaker, my wording in my earlier reply is not fully correct. What I meant is that Agile is a subset of Lean, as shown in the graphic on page 11 - Agile Practise Guide.
Sep 15, 2017 1:29 PM
Mohamad Fararjeh
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Sergio,
I used Lean in construction projects, and you are correct, they are not the same. I wrote about Lean concepts in my linkedin

account.https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/simplifying...ohamad-fararjeh
Sep 15, 2017 1:32 PM
Mohamad Fararjeh
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Sergion is correct, Lean and Agile are not the same. I used Lean in construction projects.
I wrote about Lean concepts on my linkedin account.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/simplifying...ohamad-fararjeh
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Sep 15, 2017 5:14 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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We used DSDM agile software development method (now agile solution delivery method) to construction in 1999. After that we used Scrum (it is a framework so we could customize it easily). If you search into the internet you will find other examples.
Thank you Mr. Sergio. Practically speaking, agile principles (even Scrum) cannot be applied as a whole to any construction project. But it can be applied in some portions of construction phases. DSDM agile principles can not be applied to EPC phase of any construction project as a whole.
Network:1144



Sep 15, 2017 5:25 AM
Replying to Peter Ambrosy
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I am not an expert at all in construction industry projects, but at least I try to give a small comment. To me the key word is "agility" that is goes along with "Lean Practises", that strive to avoid waste in processes. So, the mindset and values of agile practises should be applicable. I think you cannot copy 1:1 agile practises like Scrum. It needs adaptation to the specfic construction project needs (if feasible and delivering value). There has been already a discussion here on this topic with very good comments and hints:

https://www.projectmanagement.com/discussi...ion-to-suggest-
Hi, thanks for the link. Let me go through the link. I will come back with my feedback.
Network:674



Sergio is giving you good advice here. Lean, and its emphasis on error-reduction in the building trades still captures many of the good points of agile in terms of creating and managing smaller, workable tasks, but the integration effort, testing, and error reduction are int's real strong points--and the flexibility, as he mentioned.
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Sep 15, 2017 5:25 AM
Replying to Peter Ambrosy
...
I am not an expert at all in construction industry projects, but at least I try to give a small comment. To me the key word is "agility" that is goes along with "Lean Practises", that strive to avoid waste in processes. So, the mindset and values of agile practises should be applicable. I think you cannot copy 1:1 agile practises like Scrum. It needs adaptation to the specfic construction project needs (if feasible and delivering value). There has been already a discussion here on this topic with very good comments and hints:

https://www.projectmanagement.com/discussi...ion-to-suggest-
Thanks for the link to the earlier discussion, Peter. I've always wondered how Agile principles could be incorporated into the Construction field.
Network:221



Sep 15, 2017 5:39 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Just one comment. while it does not matter in the context of this topic, Lean and Agile are not the same. But in this case, you can apply Lean. I have used it when it was not named Lean. It was Toyota TPS. Lean was the name the MIT gave it time after. In fact, when you are talking about things like construction, Lean could be more useful than Agile.
Sergio, you are right - Lean and Agile is not same. As I am not a native english speaker, my wording in my earlier reply is not fully correct. What I meant is that Agile is a subset of Lean, as shown in the graphic on page 11 - Agile Practise Guide.
...
2 replies by Sergio Luis Conte
Sep 15, 2017 2:50 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
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You can apply Scrum and/or DSDM. But both are methods only. Agile is practice. So, the key question is: why I need apply Agile to a construction project? That is the key on the basic assumption that you clear understand what Agile is.
Sep 15, 2017 2:51 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
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Peter, I am not a native english speaker too so, please sorry if my previous comment was understanded as a concern or something like that.At the end it does not matter except the organization is searching for something specific as its core strategy.
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Kabilan -

The key is to focus on principles and not a specific methodology or set of practices as the latter might be industry specific.

Agile principles can be applied to almost any project - the challenge is in figuring out the "how".

If you are able to use modular components for construction to enable an incremental & iterative delivery, can defer all design decisions which don't absolutely HAVE to be made at a given point in time, have frequent involvement of the customer in prioritizing what's most important to them, empower your team, and learn as you go, these are all aligned with agile principles.

Kiron
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Like Kiron points out, you don't have to make agile a big change. Apply agile principles where and when it makes sense.
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