Project Production Systems Laboratory
The Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL) is dedicated to developing and deploying knowledge and tools for the management of project production systems and the management of organizations that produce and deliver goods and services through such systems. Project production systems include construction, product development, software engineering, air and sea ship building, work order systems, job shops, performing arts productions, oil field development, and health care delivery.
P2SL has invited companies involved in the Northern California construction industry to use P2SL to support implementation of the lean construction philosophy and techniques into the industry, its companies and its projects. All members of the Northern California construction industry are invited to become contributors and to participate in the Laboratory: owners, insurers, financiers, regulators, architects, engineers, contractors, unions and suppliers.
P2SL is dedicated to developing and deploying knowledge and know-how regarding the management of projects understood as temporary production systems. To that end, several types of research are carried out, but the dominant form is action research.
In traditional laboratory experiments, the ideal is zero interaction between what is being observed and the researcher observing. Action research is almost the exact opposite. Suppose a group of industry practitioners were to ask the Laboratory to help them understand and develop target costing or some other management practice such as Last Planner, reducing assignment setup time, designing operations, etc. The Laboratory would scan the world to find what others have said and done on ‘target costing’, communicate that to the team of practitioners with whom they’re doing the research, then together researchers and practitioners would design and execute an experiment. For example, they might decide to try value workshops in the planning phase of a project, bringing downstream players upstream to help clients better understand the consequences of their desires and alternative ways of achieving their purposes, or they might decide to try cost modeling to provide rapid feedback to designers, as an alternative to traditional estimating. The researchers become part of the project team, performing the role of data collectors while participating in the execution of the experiment and helping make in-flight adjustments.