טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentTribelsky Efraim
SubjectLean Design of Civil Engineering Projects: Development of
Measures of Information Flow
DepartmentDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Supervisor Professor Rafael Sacks
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Civil engineering projects are full of waste. Design failures make a significant contribution to the waste basket. Employing "lean" principles may help reduce the waste: improving the information flow in projects and neutralizing waste factors can make the processes more efficient and improve the results. However, prior to this research, no methodology for measurement of information flow in the design process was available, and as Lord Kelvin stated in the 19th century, "that which cannot be measured, cannot be improved and will prove very difficult to manage".

The objective of this research was to develop a model to examine, quantify and visualize information flow in the detailed design stage of civil engineering projects, and to test for correlation between information flow and the final project results. The primary contribution of this research is a deepening of the understanding of the design environment by instilling quantification methods and visualization.

Focused collection of data from fourteen projects enabled the establishment of a large, reliable and high quality research data base. The data in its entirety related both to the information flow and background conditions, which was the framework in which the team acted, and to the project success from the standpoint of the process and the outcome. Data collected included information movement data (time-related, quantitative and descriptive), plans (various versions), meeting summaries, technical and managerial characterizations and so on.

The research outcomes allowed the creation of a theoretical infrastructure for mapping information movements in the design process and present engineering tools which demonstrate information flow in a process, while focusing on the detailed design stage. Intelligent use of the indices developed in their entirety can improve the control capabilities of the process, help locate faults as they happen and indicate future disruptions of the value flow track of the project. The eight indices developed for the research are (a) activities rhythm, (b) acts frequency, (c) bottlenecks, (d) information package size, (e) information collection size, (f) information development velocity, (g) rework and (h) turbulence.

The research results indicate a connection between project stability and frequency of phenomena leading to waste on the one hand, and to lack of correlation between subjective estimates concerning project success and waste phenomena on the other hand. In addition, positive correlation was found between the indices and the waste phenomena which they are intended to monitor.