Pull Planning Informs Entertainment Client in California and Florida

Pull Planning Informs Entertainment Client in California and Florida


We were approached by the client to team with the builder to provide design integration expertise in design and pre-construction. As design integrators, we were challenged to bring lean thinking to the team, including implementing LPS. The work was comprised of two large facility structures, a collection of dining and retail structures, and two land-wide scopes of site work, all located on a site in California and a parallel site in Florida.

The Challenge

More than any other factor, scale and ability to reasonably exercise oversight influenced our approach and challenged the way we would normally work on a smaller scale project. With a team that eventually exceeded 700 members in design and pre-construction, we needed to develop a work breakdown structure for managing the team.

The Process

With five major partitions of work, a single big room quickly became unwieldy and inefficient. Following a strategic workshop to plan our approach, we scrapped the single big room and stood up big rooms for each partition. Each big room came with the requisite elements, including LPS implementation for each, and featured:

  • Pull planning sessions for major milestones
  • Pull planning session for design breakdowns
  • Weekly status and re-planning
  • Additional twice-weekly check-in sessions

Functionally, we developed 4’ x 8’ ruled white boards that could be transported from room to room as needed. This allowed us to bring the planning to the work. In addition to the manual planning wall, we logged all planning activity in BIM 360 Plan, allowing us to capture metrics and monitor trends for the various partition teams, as well as for the overall project team.

We ran each pull planning and status/check-in session with three staff: one to facilitate from the front of the room, one to coach team members one-on-one, and one to log commitments and status the plan in the BIM 360 Plan. This level of support enabled each partition team to become more effective and reliable.

The Result

The team struggled with initial deadlines prior to implementation but recovered once LPS was firmly in place. LPS was implemented at the big room level but was not carried down to the cluster group level.

Lessons Learned

LPS was scalable but required the right level of support in terms of coaching.

Properly Supporting the Team. We found LPS to be scalable, but only with the right staffing. We recovered from a breakdown in implementation where we initially asked staff to cover too many planning sessions on their own, quickly realizing that each needed to be staffed with a facilitator, a moderator, and a scribe. RECOMMENDATION: Right-size staff for effective LPS results.

LPS where the work occurs. We were successful at the team level (in the big room) but failed to fully implement LPS at the working group level. Though the team reached a level of reliability in promising and in meeting milestones, the TVD effort in the cluster groups never took hold. This led directly to the team underachieving in driving toward the target cost as the cluster groups never got past a fire-fighting mentality. With a sound LPS foundation, the cluster groups could have better leveraged the risk/opportunity approach for greater savings. RECOMMENDATION: Drive LPS implementation to the working group level.