Parade Game: Impact of work flow variability on trade performance

Iris D. Tommelein, David R. Riley, Greg A. Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Scopus citations


The Parade Game illustrates the impact work flow variability has on the performance of construction trades and their successors. The game consists of simulating a construction process in which resources produced by one trade are prerequisite to work performed by the next trade. Production-level detail, describing resources being passed from one trade to the next, illustrates that throughput will be reduced, project completion delayed, and waste increased by variations in flow. The game shows that it is possible to reduce waste and shorten project duration by reducing the variability in work flow between trades. Basic production management concepts are thus applied to construction management. They highlight two shortcomings of using the critical-path method for field-level planning: The critical-path method makes modeling the dependence of ongoing activities between trades or with operations unwieldy and it does not explicitly represent variability. The Parade Game can be played in a classroom setting either by hand or using a computer. Computer simulation enables students to experiment with numerous alternatives to sharpen their intuition regarding variability, process throughput, buffers, productivity, and crew sizing. Managers interested in schedule compression will benefit from understanding work flow variability's impact on succeeding trade performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-310
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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