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How to make morning huddles efficient with takt time

Morning huddles (or team lead meetings) are a key part of Takt time and the spirit of continuous improvement of Lean. The idea of morning huddles is to bring the members of the project teams together for a short standup, during which they have the opportunity to share how their work has been going and how they think their future work will go.


The key to a morning huddle is to get the employees talking to each other. While it is of course important to forward information to site management, many problems and challenges can be solved more effectively when the workers themselves can talk to each other. Construction challenges are best solved when the people doing the work have a say in what they and others are doing.

Team lead meetings effectively facilitate the flow of information from one working group to another. It's worth considering how much time is saved for management when small but acute issues can be resolved quickly between the teams.

By taking the following into account, you can ensure good morning huddles and a smooth running site.


1. Always book the same place for morning huddles

In Takt time morning huddles should always be held in the same place. In the context of a construction site, the location should therefore be one that is used throughout the project, if that's possible. Typically, such a place is the site's break room. Using the same location removes uncertainty for participants, provides a functional space and technical framework and creates a routine that encourages participation.


2. Have morning huddles at a regular time

Referencing to the previous point, in the case of takt production, morning huddles should be held regularly at the same time each week. Just as with the chosen venue, a regular meeting time will establish a clear routine for participants to attend. The time should be agreed with the participants, and it may vary depending on the site and the factors involved.

3. Ensure technical preparedness to morning huddles

In practice, technical preparedness means a large display showing the site schedule and the status of work per team. To display the status and schedule, a computer connected to the screen is required. The site must have its own internet connection to allow real-time updating of the schedule.


4. Tie the number of morning huddles to takt length

The number of morning huddles per week should be linked to the takt length. With one week takt, huddles should be held weekly, for example on Monday mornings. Half-week takt huddles should be held on Monday mornings and on Wednesdays just after lunch. The more frequent the takt length, the more follow-up and morning huddles are needed.


5. Make sure that designated people attend the morning huddles

Typically, the contractors' group leads attend the morning huddles. This can be put into the contracts, but it is more important for the site managers require their participation. It is important that the participants remain largely the same throughout the project.


6. Make morning huddles useful

Referring to the previous point, the best way to motivate people to participate is to make them feel that they are being listened to and that they are benefiting from their participation. Raising problems and finding solutions quickly also makes the work of the teams themselves go more smoothly, which further motivates active participation in the morning huddles.


7. Keep the routine

When things are going well on site, the temptation to slip out of morning huddles is understandable. Why have them if everyone just says it's going well? But routine is important here too. If morning meetings are missed, when potential problems arise, tackling them gets much more difficult.

Anticipate, don't react.

8. Ensure that site workers are involved in updating the schedule and the work tasks

Morning huddles are most effective when teams prepare for them. Once each work group has checked their work on their to-do list for completions and interruptions, the meeting can focus on preparing for future work and possible deviations. Group leads should check-in when they start a task, when it is completed or if it has to be interrupted.

Updating work tasks creates a real-time snapshot of the site. The status is displayed on a screen in the break rooms, which supports efficient morning meetings.

Further efficiency is increased by electronic worklists, whose speed of maintenance and data collection are clearly superior to printed worklists. Electronic lists also share a real-time snapshot of the situation for use in site meetings, for example.


9. Ensure easy updating of work tasks

Digital work lists for tracking and acknowledging work tasks enable real-time updates of the schedule. This is a big advantage over printed schedules, where changes to the schedule always require a new printout of the schedule. Another advantage of digital tools is the ability to collect data, which allows you to analyse the project retrospectively and continuously improve the process.


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