Pull Planning

What is Pull Planning?

In contrast to critical path method scheduling where activities, durations and logic are identified and an end date calculated, pull planning starts with the end in mind.  The desired milestone completion date and/or interim milestones are defined and then the activities and specialty trade handoffs that are required to meet that desired outcome are identified.  Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell developed the Last Planner® System as part of their research to standardize this approach to scheduling project work.  The last people to plan the work (i.e., trade foreman/forewoman) are engaged in the planning and scheduling process to define activities, durations and hand-offs between trades necessary to accomplish the activity.

This is excerpted from the Lean Construction Institute web site:

"The Last Planner® (sometimes referred to as the Last Planner® System) is a production planning system designed to produce predictable work flow and rapid learning in programming, design, construction and commissioning of projects.

The Last Planner® workshops and seminars are designed to introduce participants to the five elements of the Last Planner®:

  • Master Scheduling (setting milestones and strategy; identification of long lead items);

  • Phase "Pull" planning (specify handoffs; identify operational conflicts);

  • Make Work Ready Planning (look ahead planning to ensure that work is made ready for installation; re-planning as necessary);

  • Weekly Work Planning (commitments to perform work in a certain manner and a certain sequence); and

  • Learning (measuring percent of plan complete (PPC), deep dive into reasons for failure, developing and implementing lessons learned)."

Further Resources

Gregory Neil Associates has a nice discussion of the Last Planner® System implementation at this link http://www.gregoryneilassociates.com/articles/last_planner_system.pdf.

These videos can assist you in learning more about pull planning:

San Diego Community College District Pull Planning Workshop - January 2013


San Diego City College Pull Planning Session in Action - September 2012


Miron Construction Pull Planning - July 2010