Corporate Best Practices for Successful Productivity Improvement Programs

RT-340 Topic Summary
RT 340


Productivity improvement within the construction industry is a critical aspect of successful project planning and execution. Specific productivity practices have demonstrated improvements at the activity, trade, and project levels. However, results have been inconsistent and productivity gains have not been significant at the industry level. This research studies the productivity improvement challenge from a corporate perspective, which influences entire project portfolios. The objective is to characterize and assess Corporate Productivity Programs, which are comprised of the people, processes, and technologies that support an organization’s productivity improvement efforts.

In pursuit of a feasible corporate-level system to generate portfolio-wide impact, the research team leveraged existing programs in safety and lessons learned to understand roles, responsibilities, and interface management common among corporate programs. Then proven productivity practices and systems were integrated to focus the system on improving construction productivity. These components were developed into the Corporate Productivity Program through surveys, interviews, and review with subject matter experts.

Research findings suggest a corporate-level program can provide a systematic and consistent approach to selection and implementation of productivity practices. The Corporate Productivity Program can also help manage internal and external productivity interfaces above the project level and scope. This is powerful from the enterprise-level because it exists before and after specific projects. Thus, long-term objectives and relationships can be better managed toward company and portfolio goals.

Through the Corporate Productivity Program, productivity interfaces and responsibilities are managed across six Elements, which are comprised of detailed Actions. In general, improved communication and understanding of group and individual impacts on construction productivity are a critical aspect of program interface management. However, these interfaces and the importance of them is company-specific. So, RT-340 structured these key Elements and Actions to be assessed and customized through the Implementation Framework, which was developed to improve company program maturity.

Through improving the Corporate Productivity Program, a company should have increased utilization and consistency with implementation of productivity practices. Successful systematic implementation of proven productivity practices can generate more reliable management of productivity efforts across project portfolios. These systemic productivity improvements have the potential to increase performance and predictability for portfolio management in the multi-trillion-dollar construction industry.

The Corporate Productivity Program Implementation Framework was developed and tested through case studies to aid companies in properly leveraging the RT-340 research. Guidance on this implementation methodology is detailed in Final Report 340.

In addition to the Implementation Framework, forms to simplify data collection through a survey are included in FR-340 as Appendix A. These forms enable programs to identify the strong and weak Corporate Actions. The Action Scores provide data to evaluate Program Score and misalignment. Then potential program-specific Barriers can be identified based on weak Actions using the mapping matrix in Appendix B.

Finally, FR-340 includes an assessment report template for companies to leverage during workshops for implementation plan development. This template is included as Appendix C.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Productivity Practices Implementation

Productivity practices are inconsistently used by varying organizations. This contributes to inconsistent implementation and results.
Reference: (FR-340)

2 : Corporate Levels Lack Ownership of Productivity Practices

Data were gathered to assess sources of the inconsistent implementation across company portfolios. The lack of corporate ownership contributes to the challenges of consistent productivity practice use and implementation.

Reference: (FR-340)

3 : Corporate Productivity Program Actions (Best Practices)

Actions are defined as measurable enterprise-level best practices of Corporate Productivity Programs to enable successful program management and implementation of productivity practices across company project portfolios.

Reference: (FR-340)

4 : Corporate Productivity Program Barriers

Barriers exist across organization groups and departments as well as vertically in company hierarchies. This research identified key and common themes inhibiting success and aides companies with identification of program-specific Barriers.

Reference: (FR-340)

5 : Corporate Productivity Program Implementation Framework

The Implementation Framework of the Corporate Productivity Program is designed to enable a company to identify program strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses consist of evaluated Actions that represent program-level best practices. In addition, likely barriers to program success are identified through relationships with weak Actions.

Reference: (FR-340)

Key Performance Indicators

Increased productivity, Reduced rework, Higher direct work rates, Improved cost, Reduced schedule

Research Publications

Corporate Best Practices for Successful Productivity Improvement Programs - FR-340

Publication Date: 12/2018 Type: Final Report Pages: 74 Status: Tool

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Corporate Practices for Productivity Improvement

Publication Date: 07/2018 Presenter: Number of Slides: 35 Event Code: AC2018