As one of the central pillars of Lean construction philosophy, incorporating a culture of continuous improvement is essential if companies are serious about positively impacting overall efficiency.

As discussed in this space before, continuous improvement is centered around the idea of refining repeatable processes to extract ever-increasing efficiency and value. One way companies put this tenet into action is through retrospection, which allows for thoughtful examination and systematic improvement of an experience or event.

Plus/Delta

Employees and employers would likely agree: meetings, team gatherings and other group activities can be the source of considerable frustration and inefficiency within an organization. Poorly run meetings not only irritate participants but waste valuable time.

According to the Lean Construction Institute, Plus/Delta is “a quick, simple retrospective to improve meetings, planning sessions, or repetitive activities.” Plus/Delta is essentially a tool that teams can employ to help gather immediate feedback in order to make timely adjustments. By using Plus/Delta, teams can use reflection as an approach to continuous improvement.

To employ the Plus/Delta process, meeting facilitators reserve the last 10 minutes of the meeting to ask two simple questions:

  1. Plus: What brought value to the meeting and how do we repeat it?
  2. Delta: What can the team change or add to bring more value?

Responses are captured and improvements to the meeting process are made based on the feedback.

Companies like Granger Construction utilize this simple but effective tool as part of their Lean culture.

“Incorporating the Plus/Delta process into our meetings has really allowed us to streamline and improve our overall meeting structure,” said Tim VanAntwerp, vice president at Granger Construction. “It can be a pretty valuable tool when used correctly and consistently.”

The Plus/Delta process is framed in improvement language and designed to support another central pillar of the Lean construction philosophy: Respect for people. By asking participants to discuss ways to improve an event or experience and offer feedback, they are given the opportunity to help shape the experience of how they spend their time.

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