Pull Planning

It’s easier to pull a rope than push it. It’s more effective to pull a schedule than push it. So leave the salt-n-pepper behind, don’t push it, and lets dive into the basics of pull planning.

When you begin pull planning, it might seem a little backwards, but you’ll never want to schedule a different way when you see how thorough it can be. We want to take your BIG planning from last week, and establish the timelines for your main goal, and the interim milestones. For every Item on the pull plan, each represented by a sticky/post-it note, we must identify the task immediately prior.

Your sticky!

When filling out your sticky notes, make sure they are all coded the same, so anyone looking at them knows what each item means.
– You need to specify your crew size, how many people will it take to complete the task? This is important to know how many people are working on a project or site at a given time, and will become clear when the plan gets put together.
– How long will it take you to complete the task? If the task will take more than one working week, you need to break it down into separate weeks. Each week you will plan the following work’s week, so a task that goes to between weeks cannot be planned independently.
– The predecessor activity is the trigger that allows the task to start. What is the previous item that needs to complete in order to start this task? This helps align tasks in order, but also helps prevent any items getting forgotten or left behind. Identifying what you need, helps others see what they need to provide you.
– A well defined task is critical – Don’t say you want to hang dry-wall. How much drywall? Where? How many people and how long will it take you? Instead, let’s say hang 1200 sq ft drywall in the west corridor between columns C and F. That’s defined, meaning its measurable. We can clearly determine if we met success for the fully defined task, or need to add it to the next week’s scope.

To start Pull Planning – you need to know your tasks. The first few steps for pull planning;
1. List out all your activities and tasks – each and every one of them
2. Place them in chronological order
3. Create your stickies like above, breaking them down into short defined and measurable tasks
4. Create additional stickies for all the items you discover along the way that you missed in your list of tasks (we all miss a few).
5. Start pulling from your completion to present day, assuring all predecessors are met. If you don’t have a predecessor, make another sticky, leave no task un-defined.

If you’re looking to Pull Plan – start with what’s here… the planning itself takes several sessions sometimes, depending on the project. The next post will go more into how to place tour stickies and how to create a schedule when you’re done. Then we’ll get into our weekly work plan creation and Percent Plan Complete (PPC) tracking.

Stick with me! Take this next step and prepare those stickies, things are going to get sticky before they feel more organized.