The "House of Cards" simulation was developed to stimulate discussion and improve the application of lean production concepts (5S, flow, waste, kaizen, transparency, and collaboration) to construction engineering and management. It is a simple, scalable, hands-on exercise that enables a facilitator to lead teams to intuitively grasp lean concepts and their benefits to construction processes. The simulation requires minimal resources for each team: 3-4 players, a deck of playing cards, a timer, and a playing surface. “House of Cards” presents six phases of gameplay, and progresses from a worst-case scenario to an optimized ideal. The objective is to play the cards as quickly as possible to construct a 13-story building. As in construction, there is a logical sequence of work required. Lower floors must be built before upper floors, structural work must precede mechanical, and mechanical must precede finish work. This simulation was developed with a construction project context, but can easily be adapted to other industries. The analogies can be tailored to meet other industrial processes, and the floors can be changed to different parts of assembly or production lines.
Lean construction, simulation, continuous improvement, 5S, flow improvement.