Pipeline Workshops: Yellow Lines and Dead Armadillos

(excerpt from The Pipeline, published on EFA in August, 2013;  RB Builders’ team discusses the problems associated with scheduling multiple construction jobs, using traditional CPM project management, an issue addressed in every Pipeline workshop)

The intrepid, results-based consultant set the erasable marker in the tray.

“I see the look on your faces”, she said. “No one is saying this is easy.  The easy way is to adopt ‘industry best practices’, to settle.  Our first instinct is to play it safe, to stay away from the edge, to take a middle-of-the-road approach.

“As my Texas clients are fond of saying: ‘The only things in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead armadillos’.  My instinct reflects that observation.  It is to be distinctive on the product side, and to be faster and more agile on the production side.

“There is no sanctuary in being average.

“I can just hear it now: ‘Wow!  RB Builders’ practices are on par with the best homebuilders in the industry!’  As if the homebuilding industry had anything to write about, when it comes to adopting cutting-edge production practices.

“Everything we have been dealing with in these sessions – from the mental model of production as a pipeline, to making the connection between operating performance and business outcomes, to understanding variable costing, to having a perspective and a discipline regarding the systems and processes that create the value we are trying to deliver to customers – all flies in the face of the accepted way of doing things in the homebuilding industry.”

“Nice rant”, said the CEO.

The intrepid, results-based consultant held on to the amused expression for a few moments, turned serious, and continued.

“Let me state this as clearly as I possibly can: The gains in productivity and – by extension – the creation of a sustainable degree of competitive separation that is the result of fixing the scheduling problems inherent in traditional project management methodology dwarf the gains that would result from any other improvement effort.


The next Pipeline workshop is at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on October 15-16, 2014. Cost is $795.00.

Delivered by SAI Consulting. Sponsored by BuilderMT and Big Builder (Hanley Wood).

Registration/Reservations: www.buildervelocity.com

(The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production is available on the publisher website (virtualbookworm.com), through the author website (thepipelinebook.com), as well as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and booksamillion.com)