You often hear football coaches speak of their team's need to put together a "complete game," that is, play well for all four quarters. Construction companies too must seek the complete job, working to see that every quarter (i.e. 90 to 120 minutes) of their day is completed to schedule, specification and expectation. Let's take a look at the four quarters and what you should focus on to ensure that each day is successful.
The first quarter is won by those construction leaders who have properly prepared their workers for a quick and effective start. This should include you ensuring that your workers are informed about any early changes to the day, where each worker is to be positioned to work, and what resources, equipment and tools are needed and where.
Daily instructions, reminders of quality and safety and early deployment of work tasks are presented during "Q-1." This first quarter of direction should primarily confirm what the end of the previous day's message from you should have shared in preparation for the following workday. Additionally, you should use Q-1 to inspect the mental, emotional and physical aspects of the workers, taking note of any early morning question marks that will require follow-up in the second quarter.
Allow your workers to begin their day (Q-1), finding their work rhythm for the day. Early in the Q-2 you should follow up to see that instructions and directions are being followed and answer any questions or correct any signs of misunderstanding or wrong performance efforts. The workday is four quarters of time and performance, so it is important that you realize the production numbers that must be arrived at by "half time."
Within 30 to 45 minutes of the mid-day break (i.e. lunch), you should assess if production is ahead of or behind the daily goals. This requires you to know the performance numbers to determine whether production is ahead or behind. If production is behind the needed results, then adjustments may be made to further the production output for the second half. This might include adding some additional employees to the work, deciding to work overtime or alerting the customer or other contractors to the expected delay in completion.
If you find that production is ahead of schedule for the day, then the decision might be to maintain the pace or to move a few of the workers to another portion of work needing attention. Either way you should be fully knowledgeable about the needed production and the opportunities to improve this or other jobs.
Getting your workers up and focused again after a mid-day break will require that you begin to get workers going again just minutes prior to start-up. You should start driving conversation and questions about the "second half" five minutes before getting started. Workers who stop for a lunch break often take a little mental nap and thus need to be resuscitated mentally and physically. Without this major effort you may experience workers taking 15 to 30 minutes to get back with the pace they held just prior to lunch.
The final push is now needed so you will have to decide early what final efforts can be made to finish the day's work strongly. This could mean getting the one last square foot of formwork completed, pouring and finishing the last wall of the day, delivering the last of the order's materials to a site or getting all the needed equipment needed for the next day repositioned.
Depending on your progress a final decision will be made whether to keep some or all of the workers on overtime or to shut down the effort at quitting time and prepare the site for a fast start tomorrow. Certainly the last effort of the fourth quarter should include bringing your workers together to discuss the day's efforts and results, what needs to be primed and ready early the next morning, and what the schedule looks like for the remaining days of the week based on the day's results.
The "2-Minute Drill"