Learning to See Simplicity within a Complex Project Through the Lens of Pull Planning

Cynthia C.Y. Tsao1 & Glenn J. Hammons2

1Owner, Navilean; Senior Associate, Lean Project Consulting; Adjunct Faculty, Wentworth Inst. of Technology; Brookline, MA, 02445, USA, Phone +1 510/593-4884, [email protected]
2Project Director, Skanska USA Building Inc., Nemours – AIDHC DE Expansion Project, 1610 Rockland Road, Wilmington, DE, USA, Phone +1 302/298-7663 [email protected]


Ideally, project teams should get feedback from foremen from key trades to help guide work structuring decisions early in the design process. Doing so enables project teams to reveal the constructability implications intrinsic to different design options. Then, project owners may make product design decisions that would better support the construction process and thus improve the likelihood of meeting their project goals. Unfortunately, if trade foremen missed the opportunity to influence a project’s product design at project inception, the project team may later face daunting challenges to construct project components that appear complex at first glance. This paper describes such a scenario in the building out of an atrium for a $220 million new hospital addition in the U.S. It explores how the project team used pull planning to reveal production lines that needed to be created to build out the hospital’s fivestory atrium. It explains how the project team considered various work structuring scenarios and eventually settled on the final work sequence. Thus, this case study will demonstrate how the project team was able to learn how to see simpler process approaches to constructing what initially appeared to be a complex product design.


Work structuring, sequencing, product-process design integration, pull planning, process standardization



Tsao, C. C. & Hammons, G. J. 2014, 'Learning to See Simplicity within a Complex Project Through the Lens of Pull Planning' In:, Kalsaas, B. T., Koskela, L. & Saurin, T. A., 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Oslo, Norway, 25-27 Jun 2014. pp 751-762

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