Development of Simulations & Pull Planning for Lean Construction Learning and Implementation

Cynthia C.Y. Tsao1 & Gregory A. Howell2

1Owner, Navilean, LLC; Founder, Building AEC Learning, Inc. (BAECL); Brookline, MA, 02445, USA, Phone +1 510/593-4884, [email protected]
22 Retired, Lean Construction Institute; Greg developed this paper with Cynthia starting in 2014. He passed away on June 15, 2020.


To manage projects based on Lean principles including global optimization, transparency, reliability, and flow, Lean learners need to learn an alternative approach that includes different language and techniques that better support production system management. By helping us model what happens in the real world while focusing on a few key concepts, simulations help Lean learners focus on how they would diagnose problems and determine how to deliver the project better. While Lean learners may think they are learning something during simulations, instructors are really getting them to reflect on how things happen and why. In essence, simulations help with “learning to see” waste and other problems on projects (Rother and Shook 1999) so Lean learners can develop strategies for waste removal and problem solving to generate value better. How did the Lean Construction community adopt this training approach for Lean learners? This paper explores the Lean Construction community’s use of simulations (particularly the Airplane Game and Parade of Trades® ) and creation of the Pull Planning technique. This reflection provides a foundation for instructors to share training practices and collaboratively refine their teaching approaches to accelerate the rate of Lean learning and implementation.


Simulations, Pull Planning, facilitation, action learning/research, learning



Tsao, C. C. & Howell, G. A. 2022. Development of Simulations & Pull Planning for Lean Construction Learning and Implementation, Proc. 30th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) , 1075-1086.

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