What is “Short Interval Scheduling”

Short-interval scheduling, or SIS, predates WWII and has been acknowledged as a part of the foundation for lean, JIT, and agile workplace concepts. At its core, SIS is a process that frequently assesses progress toward daily goals to identify problems, execute corrective actions, and ensure utmost productivity. It requires detailed expectations be set ahead of time so planned vs. actual work completed can be closely monitored at various intervals.

TRESTELS - SHORT INTERVAL SCHEDULING PAPER EXAMPLEAs explained in “The Secret to Short-Interval Scheduling,” written by Dr. Perry Daneshgari and Heather Moore of MCA, Inc., SIS “is a feedback mechanism that will enable the project [manager] to have an early warning signal for the overall project progress. SIS’s power comes not from projection but from tracking the intangible obstacles that block the labor to be used as scheduled. Because the job’s needs [change] every day, the foreman should have the flexibility to respond to the daily unforeseen changes.”

As per Convergent Results, a multi-service company offering business improvement guidance to organizations in the utilities and maintenance industries, SIS programs comprise 6 core dimensions and can result in doubled productivity:

  1. Methods are identified that require improvement.
  2. How long individual tasks should take, when performed correctly and under good working conditions, is estimated. This step can also uncover current practices that are inefficient or unpredictable.
  3. Problem identification/solving procedures are formalized for specific barriers.
  4. Line management is given the tools they need to measure, schedule, and control daily performance at least 2x per shift.
  5. Line management is also trained in personnel supervision and the use of SIS tools/processes.
  6. KPIs are set and periodically examined across multiple levels and functions.

To initiate the SIS process, Daneshgari and Moore suggest beginning in the field: “Start with asking your foremen what tasks they are going to complete each day for the next three days, who is going to work on them, and the scheduled time for the activity. Once the data is collected, it needs to be ranked and plotted to identify the obstacles foremen are facing.”

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As with anything new, the introduction of SIS might be met with resistance from the team. Personnel might see this as a form of micromanagement or just another excuse to have more meetings. As pointed out by Daneshgari and Moore in an article written for Construction Executive, “For managers, any jobsite activity that can be invoiced but doesn’t transfer value to the customer (e.g., rework, unpacking materials or walking to and from work areas) is wasted activity. Field workers, on the other hand, see things such as planning, tracking or paperwork are considered wasted time. Management sells value; labor gets paid for the hours.” However, once the learning curve is surpassed and team members see interval check-ins as a form of collaboration as well as a way to bridge this gap between management and field workers, SIS can positively impact productivity and reduce labor waste.

Sources:
Convergent Results – Example Short Interval Schedule
Dr. Perry Daneshgari & Heather Moore— The Secret to Short-Interval Scheduling
DPR Construction— The Power of “And”—Short-Interval Planning and Critical Path Method Scheduling
Perry Daneshgari and Heather Moore— Reducing Labor Waste with Short Interval Scheduling