Booker Park Pull Plan - June 2018
It’s a running joke among WEAVERCOOKE staff that we should buy stock in Post-It Notes. Looking at the conference room that the Booker Park team had rented out in downtown Raleigh, it was easy to see why. By the end of the meeting, sticky notes were trailing across the full length of the dry erase board at the front of the room, and then winding around the corner to continue along the wall. For WEAVERCOOKE project teams, this isn’t an uncommon sight.
All of our key trade partners for Booker Park were represented at this mandatory Pull Plan session. Our project management team talked with our trade partners about the project as a whole, and then worked their way from a basic overview of the project down to the specifics of each trade. Mark Leuver and Courtney Field led everyone through the process with questions about constraints, limitations, and what everyone could realistically expect to achieve. There were a lot of questions, not only about the project, but about the Pull Planning process as a whole.
Implementing a Pull Plan schedule fundamentally changes the mindset of the construction team. One of the key elements is to get the most important trades at the table as we are creating the schedule. They bring knowledge to the project that can save us time, and give us a realistic idea of their constraints and needs. It also starts our relationship on a note of understanding and agreement, rather than one-sided demand.
The sticky note schedule facilitates input. Every trade partner in the room can see the schedule laid out on the wall, and where they fit into the bigger picture of the project as a whole. We can also create the schedule collaboratively with our trade partners and make changes to it easily while we are still in the planning stage.
We start a Pull Plan schedule at the end of the project and work backwards, continuously asking “What needs to be finished in order for this piece to start?” Once the basic schedule is filled out, we start looking for gaps that could be filled, places that we could make small changes that would allow our trades to get to their work faster, or finish it more effectively.
The pull plan meeting is the baseline for keeping the schedule on course using Lean methods. Once we have developed and reviewed the Pull Plan, everyone at the meeting is able to agree to a collaboratively developed schedule. The sticky notes continue to be used to update the 6-week look ahead in our boards in the trailers at each trade Partner meeting. As we go from Pull Plan to project start, our trade partners and project managers have already established themselves as a team, and are ready to work together moving forward.