Some production managers visit jobsites daily to keep their lead carpenters on task. But when Chris Levitas became production manager at Teakwood Builders, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., he wanted to be a hands-off “coach” who could help his leads assume more autonomy. So he instituted the “interval agenda,” twice-monthly meetings held on jobsites where he walks each lead carpenter through the following questions:

  • How is the quality of the work that has been done in the last two weeks?
  • Will any work now underway become a concern at a later phase of construction or during finishes? Should we alter the plan now, before it's too late?
  • Are there any surprises or concerns?
  • Is the site clean and presentable to the client, to the neighbors, and from the street?
  • What's on the client's mind? Do they have any specific concerns such as schedule, subcontractors, quality issues, site cleanliness, or budget? Are they waiting on anything from you or from the office? What is your plan for addressing their concerns?
  • What can we do to improve our quality?

“The interval agenda really helps the lead carpenters work through their own problems, which is the best way to learn or problem-solve,” Levitas says.