An Overview, Analysis, and Faciliation Tips for Simulations That Support and Simulate Pull Planning

Cynthia C.Y. Tsao1, John Draper2 & Gregory A. Howell3

1Owner, Navilean; Senior Associate, Lean Project Consulting; Adjunct Faculty, Wentworth Inst. of Technology; Brookline, MA, 02445, USA, Phone +1 510/593-4884, [email protected]
2Associate Principal, Lean Project Consulting, Phone +1 571/235-9596, [email protected]
3Retired, Lean Construction Institute, Phone +1 (208) 726-9989, [email protected]


Pull Planning is an essential component of the Last Planner® System (LPS). It helps define how work will be handed off from one project performer (e.g., owners, designers, contractors, and suppliers) to the next. It illustrates how work is balanced between project performers to better support a project takt time, i.e., work completion rhythm. It encourages project performers to have conversations earlier about how to handle physical interfaces between components that may at first seem plausible in design but end up being much more challenging to accomplish in construction. Due to the importance of Pull Planning and the fact that it is a typical first step for lean implementation on Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC) projects, project teams that have limited Lean Construction experience can use a variety of simulations to ensure better participation during actual Pull Planning efforts. Thus, to help accelerate the rate of Pull Planning learning and successful implementation in the AEC industry, this paper will provide an overview of simulations that have proven to be effective in supporting and simulating Pull Planning. It will discuss how they prepare project teams for actual Pull Planning efforts and provide insight into facilitation techniques based on the authors’ experience. It will address differences in teaching Pull Planning within an academic versus industry setting. In closing, we will provide a guide as to which simulations to prioritize when faced with limited time for educating students or training project teams.


Pull Planning, phase scheduling, simulation, facilitation



Tsao, C. C. , Draper, J. & Howell, G. A. 2014. An Overview, Analysis, and Faciliation Tips for Simulations That Support and Simulate Pull Planning, 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 1483-1494.

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