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Real Life Lean - 008 Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Pull Plans

Happy Monday lean construction family and welcome to another edition of Real Life Lean. This newsletter is intended to give construction professionals worldwide 4 quick and easy resources to grow and continue on your lean journey.

Today's Summary:

  • Lean Article - Why you pull plan sucked and 5 tips so your next one won’t.

  • Lean Podcast - Fixed vs. Nimble Scheduling Methods

  • Lean Event - PDCA Thinking, Strategy to Everyday Application

  • Real Life Lean - Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Pull Plans

Lean Article

I was recently prepping for a phase planning session (see below in the Real Life Lean Section) and I was looking for some inspiration to get ready for our meeting. I found this article from The Lean Builder that breaks down 5 tips that will keep your pull plan from sucking. Check out this article that provides TANGIBLE steps you can take today to ensure your next pull plan sucks less. Total read time - 5 min

Lean Podcast

In this episode of Elevate Construction Jason jumps into a hurdle that many of us face on our project - how do we deal with the frustration when things don't go according to plan? We have to remember that our schedules are our plans and we must be nimble to adjust and adapt when problems arise. We adopt a growth mindset and grow as a team through these problems. Total listen time 13min.

Lean Event

Tammy McConaughy, who happens to be my lean coach at CRB, is extremely passionate about all things lean. Tammy provides practical and repeatable tips to incorporate the PDCA process on your projects, but also in your daily life. This webinar will provide insight on ways to continuously improve by using the PDCA cycle.

Real Life Lean - Lean practices in the real world

This past Thursday, our team had what we hope to be our final pull plan on the project we are working on. Knowing that this session would be extremely important to the close out of our project, I took the days leading up to the session to prepare. Here are 5 key things I did to prepare.

1 - Reviewed the goal of the session with my team 2 weeks prior to the meeting. We discussed what success looked like to us.

2 - Sent out a pre-read email to the team that defined the milestones we would be working towards and reminded them to look ahead for constraints.

3 - Set up the correct size room. I originally had reserved an area that was too small. After looking at the invite list, I saw we needed more space, so we pivoted to a larger room (still too small, see plus/delta below).

4 - Prepare for the meeting with visuals. We were planning how to get air on in the building, so I printed out full size sheets of our pressurization maps and AHU zoning plans.

5 - Did a final pre-meeting the morning of the session with our team to review the goals again and ensure we had team alignment.

Retrospectively looking at the session, we were successful. Here are some photos that show our set up and our session.

Drawings showing AHU Zones and Pressurization Maps

Final board after 2.5 hour session

Plus/Delta after session - our team will review the deltas at a team huddle to see how we can improve

Parking lot items to be discussed in separate meetings, emails or phone calls.

Have a Real Life Lean story you think would be a great feature in an upcoming newsletter? Send me an email at


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