Start with Your Schedule
To pull in key milestones
Using your master schedule, you and the team cover the entire project start-to-finish, identifying and clarifying high-level milestones.
Define the Plan
To be clear about the work
Using phase scheduling by pull planning you and the team work backwards from a clearly defined milestone to identify in detail the tasks required for completion.
To prepare for what comes next
Identify and remove constraints that could prevent upcoming work from being completed as planned.
Commit to the Plan
To increase accountability
Set a regular time for the team to meet about current and future work and collectively commit to getting next week’s work done.
Identify Key Learnings
To continuously improve
Regularly take inventory of what went well and what could have gone better with the previous week’s plan.
Take the first step towards leveraging your people, tech, and data in order to grow your business and thrive in a changing landscape. Contact Team Touchplan to learn more, today.
See What Customers Are Saying
Tom V. J.
Being able to digitize each and every one of the processes has been a giant advance for our company as it allows us to show our subcontractors what should be done quickly and easily, allowing them to interact with us in real time.
Being able to digitize each and every one of the processes has been a giant advance for our company as it allows us to show My field leads love the intuitive interface of Touchplan for developing their schedule
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
TouchPlan helped save our project time and money by consolidating our short term scheduling needs to one platform that everyone can access and work from.
What is Pull Planning?
The pull planning origin can be credited to Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno, the “Father of Just-In-Time.” The pull planning definition in lean construction involves the planning process taking place in reverse order with a high degree of collaboration from stakeholders. This differs from traditional models, as they focus on the beginning of the process and pull planning focused on the end goal through collaborative efforts.
How does pull planning work?
Pull planning can be explained through its workflow. In most cases, a handwritten project outline and color-coded sticky notes are used to identify and define project areas. Pull planning construction software like Touchplan makes the process easier, with a master schedule that allows everyone to see the entire process and milestones at a glance.
What are some pull planning best practices?
- Get everyone on the same page
Everyone should contribute data and milestones that are relevant and can aid in the successful completion of the project.
- Set milestones and follow them
Setting milestones are critical in pull planning construction as they assist in completing phases of the project that ensure uninterrupted delivery. With these milestones in place, every phase can be carefully planned with effective workflows that include all the tasks and activities to achieve those milestones.
- Schedule your activities
After determining the phase plans, fix all set activities into the calendar.
- Arrange durations
Set the duration of each of your planned activities
- Make weekly plans
Determine how to itemize the activities and tasks into weekly work plans
- Schedule daily meetings
Each day should begin with a meeting to help the project manager keep tasks on schedule.
- Organize weekly meetings
This helps the project manager review work plans for the week and make necessary adjustments.
The plan should always be updated based on the daily and weekly meeting outcomes to adjust the overall schedule when needed.
There are three simple effective pull planning basics. Pull – which places a note on the wall when requested by the customer; Collaborate – presenting each task out loud; and Commitment – never moving someone else’s note, as each task is a personal commitment by each person.
This method is used in all areas of construction and design. Pull planning for architects is also part of the lean process when reducing waste and increasing reliability. When implementing pull planning in design, there are four key concepts used to increase the reliability and effectiveness of pull planning in this particular phase of the project:
- Ensuring the three (3) planning meetings of the Last Planner® System are used properly: milestone planning, phase planning, and the weekly work plan.
- Milestone planning must have a strategy including discovery first. Once completed and documented, time frames may be estimated. Some discovery questions include what information the owner needs to know and when; what the users need to know and when; when are consultants brought in and released; what design work can be done by a design-builder and when should they be retained and released; and when will construction and design overlap.
- In phase planning, a single milestone should be pulled, with the duration as short as possible. The conditions of satisfaction of the milestone should be discussed and documented, with each stakeholder documenting their primary tasks and what they need from everyone else. Each design consultant will establish and discuss their workflow. During the pull plan meeting, the architectural workflow will be reviewed, then aligned with other workflows.
- In the weekly work plan, the phase plan will be reviewed every week, including the previous and upcoming handoffs for two weeks out. The team will commit to the activities for the following week. Any new information, constraints, and design improvements will be shared, adjusting the plan. Effectiveness is measured through percent planned complete (PPC) and percent committed to identifying reason codes for issues in order to help improve each week’s process.
Pull Planning vs CPM
In lean construction, two terms frequently used are pull planning and CPM, or critical path method.
What is the difference between pull planning and CPM?
Pull planning is a collaborative process where input from the entire team is involved. It is a lean process that identifies activities to save time, resources, and money. CPM is typically powered by a single person, using their knowledge to develop a sequence of stages that determine the least amount of time needed to complete a task without excess time wasted.
CPM is used for a variety of projects, including the construction of a building or highway; or planning and launching a new product. Analysis by CPM must have a few characteristics:
- The project must have well-defined activities that all lead to project completion.
- The tasks may be started and stopped independently of each other within the project.
- The tasks are ordered or performed in sequence.
What is the pull and push theory?
This is the dynamics between customer and supplier, whether internal or external customers. A push strategy creates finished projects. The pull strategy waits for demand or is made to order, with boundaries at the start of the process. In lean manufacturing or construction, the project is not started until the plan is in place and the project approved. Additionally, no additional products will be held. Everything is used to avoid waste.
What is pull planning vs push planning?
Push pull planning has its differences. In pull planning, the teams identify the target end date milestone to reach. Pull planning is driven by the client’s needs. Push planning is a little different, as it is driven by the first user’s activities.
Lean Construction and Pull Planning
Pull planning is a technique used within the Last Planner System, developing a coordinated plan per project phase. This is a collaborative approach to pull planning lean construction principles, including everyone directly responsible for overseeing the work. Pull planning sticky notes are an integral part of this process, using colored sticky notes to identify various areas from key players within the project.
While the sticky note system has worked well for organizations, the analog process is cumbersome, antiquated, and often increases time spent on planning - the opposite effect intended for any Lean practice. Shifting to a digital collaboration tool like Touchplan enables the best of the lean construction sticky note planning while being able to effectively communicate (without loss of critical information from shorthand or illegible handwritten notes) and with clear direction in real-time. Touchplan has been a leader in a movement of lean construction management software intended to improve collaboration, avoid miscommunication, and work with a team from anywhere to plan and build faster and within budget.
Lean Construction Materials
Obtaining the right lean construction materials can help in getting the information needed to successfully complete the program and obtain the CM-Lead certificate. Numerous industry leaders have lean construction articles and lean construction eLearning opportunities to help students throughout the course, and individuals within the industry who want to stay informed on industry news.
There are also additional PDF materials that can be found online. To make things easy, there are lean construction ppt materials, a lean principles PDF, lean construction PDF, lean construction books PDF, lean construction management PDF, lean construction principles PDF and the introductory ‘What is Lean Construction’ PDF that introduces students to what they can expect from the program. Some of these materials are also available from students who have gone through the courses.
Taking the time to find and review a lean construction case study is invaluable in providing an actual scenario that states the problem, what was done to rectify it and the outcomes from the implementation. For industry professionals, learning never stops. Having access to these tools and resources helps push the industry further and keeps everyone on the same page.
Pull Planning Software
As pull planning continues to drive lean construction practice, promoting and facilitating the right lean planning software is key. When it comes to the best pull planning software, Touchplan is the leader in several categories, including ease of use and set up along with customer service and support. As the highest-ranked construction project management software on the market, Touchplan has earned accolades like a high performer, best relationship management, and a leader in momentum leader by real user reviews through G2 - a leading B2B peer-to-peer review site. Touchplan goes beyond pull planning and supports teams with insights and abilities to continuously improve as well.
Other lean planning and pull planning software that hasn’t amassed as much popularity or customer reviews include Vplanner, which similarly to Touchplan supports the workflows of the Last Planner System while eliminating redundancies.
Pull Planning Templates and Materials
What types of materials are used when pull planning?
There are several pull planning materials and pull planning examples that teams work with when starting pull plans. The most effective materials and examples are digital - encouraging real-time collaboration and improvements while making implementation as simple as possible. Getting teams to work together and adopt new processes is challenging enough, so affording them materials and support through tools like Touchplan to foster understanding, accountability and action is crucial.
Some teams engage more analog processes like pull plan kits, creating pull plan boards, or excel-based templates. Kits usually contain pull planning templates, wall charts, trackers, and pull planning tags. Self-made construction pull planning boards are created to follow the antiquated sticky note process of pull planning. Others turn to project management templates or pull planning excel templates that can be used as a pull planning excel worksheet in an attempt to stay organized. Using kits creating boards or engaging in excel-specific templates costs time; directly competing with the lean’s goal of efficiency, and removes important behavioral changes gained from real-time updates needed to elevate consistent, positive outcomes for projects through teams. Software that combines the goals of pull planning with the power of technology-supported learning is the suggested method.
While this all sounds like it fits together perfectly, it’s always good to have an example. Imagine a plumber and electrician completing their rough-ins prior to the drywall specialist sanding and completing their phase of the project. The drywall specialist has to complete this phase before the painter can come in and do their part, and the next person, etc.
There will always be space for continuous improvement in pull planning processes, especially when integrating and implementing workflows from people, processes, and technology. With the right lean construction project management software in place to successfully coordinate pull planning and CPM, teams will work more efficiently and effectively for client satisfaction.