Getting started with Lean PlanDo — the most advanced app for lean construction

Lean Station
6 min readApr 22, 2020

So now that you have decided to go LEAN with Lean PlanDo, this article should help you with getting started. The application is designed to be smooth and easy to use both on the web and the mobile. This article is a nice little guide to help the early stage users to get started and become power users. It is also a referral guide, a reminder guide or a guide that gets the new users interested. Here you go…

Creating the Project … It’s so easy !

There is no escaping here. The first thing you see after login is to create a new project.

With a few clicks and information from you, your first project will be ready.

Lean PlanDo asks for very few details to create the project. Choose the “production” mode to start using the product. We require other basic info like if you are a client or a contractor and the size of lookahead. We support 6 week and 8 week lookahead sizes. Well, the lookahead meetings are basically consultation sessions where lean consultants will help you in hand-holding of the application and lean planning methodologies. These meetings are disciplined to be held on a specified day every week to update past weeks progress, commit the works for coming week and plan out future works.

Clicking on ‘Create Project’ followed by a simple drag and drop of your Microsoft Project (MPP) or Oracle Primavera / P6 (XER) file will complete the process! We are sure that you have got one of them. If not, no sweat, you can get started with a blank project and build up your plan here.

Masterplan explained …

Once the master schedule file is uploaded, just wait a few seconds and see the Masterplan unfold in front of you. The image below shows a typical masterplan with activity names and scheduled dates to the left and Gantt chart (bar chart) view to the right. Click on the ‘Gear icon’ besides the project name to access project settings. Rescheduling activities in masterplan before starting off any actual work in Lean PlanDo will reset their baseline dates as well.

The masterplan of your project

Collaborate on activities

A powerful feature Lean PlanDo provides is to collaborate on each and every activity and task. Start off a conversation on any activity. View the complete comment history from your team with a single click! Attach files and images to them for users to view and reply back.

Its all about the Dates

Lean PlanDo maintains 3 types of dates to an activity or task namely Base dates, Expected dates and Actual dates.

Base dates are base planned dates set for any activity in any of the master plan tools. The expected dates are the updated dates of the upcoming activities based on the current progress. The actual dates are the actual execution dates of the activities.

Accessing activity detail view

Accessing the Menu

You can single-click to show up the mini widget and access the various functions on an activity, task or constraint. Click View all details to open the detailed view.

Accessing activity detail view

The Lookahead

Most of the work you do will be in the lookahead. Use the lookahead to plan ahead in the project.

Planning is done by all the users starting with splitting activities into smaller tasks and assigning them to sub-contractors and supervisors for their committed execution of the work.

Planning activity by splitting into tasks

The second and crucial step of planning is to identify necessary preparation works and/or pre-requisites for the start of any activity or task. These pre-requisites called constraints need sufficient time to be well managed, which when done properly, ensures timely start and completion of work. For example, any construction activity cannot start without necessary approvals and permissions from regulatory authorities which can take several weeks to obtain. The approval process involves several steps of submission procedures and requires co-ordination with multiple parties. A single activity can require the clearance of various constraints, but don’t feel lost. Lean PlanDo offers a rich constraint library which covers most crucial constraints for any construction project.

Adding constraint to an activity

A lookahead with advanced detailed planning is useful for the entire team with all the necessary information to run the project efficiently.

Lookahead with activities split into tasks and planned with constraints.

Task commitment

Getting a plan in place is half the job done. The job is completed only when the work follows the plan. Getting users committed to their work is a process that makes projects productive and develops a positive culture within the team. Sub-contractors and site supervisors together review the current week’s plan and commit for only the achievable work for that week. The task is represented in orange once you commit it and it will start appearing in the weekly Do-list.

Committing tasks in Do-week to the Do-list

The Do-list

The Do-list consists of a list of all committed tasks and the constraints to be managed for that week. It allows users to view their weekly tasks and constraints and update their progress and status on a day to day basis. A task appears in red-colour if it hasn’t been updated for that date.

The Do-list

Updating task progress is like a walk in the park. With very few clicks you can complete it as done. Refer the image below

Updating constraints

Constraints are updated in the Lookahead or the Do-list by recording the completion dates for the intermediate steps called conditions as well as the status of the same.

Confirming the Do-week

This process is to confirm the progress update of all the tasks by all the sub-contractors and freeze the progress for the week. Any tasks without complete progress or any constraints with a missing update will be flagged to be updated by the users before the confirmation step is completed.

The process is repeated by all the users everyday and it continues weekly through generation of the next lookahead.

A useful metric shown in the lookahead is the Workable Backlog. It shows the number of tasks that should be done(tasks scheduled in the do-week), could be done (tasks without constraints), will be done (tasks committed) and done (tasks completed) in the do-week. A real-time reflection of effective planning and execution of the project, this data provides brief insights about the performance of the project such as constraint management, site readiness, percent plan complete and plan reliability.

Workable backlog

Lean PlanDo has helped organizations to become more efficient by improving the planning capabilities of the team. Planning is central to getting things done — companies who realize this earlier, will achieve greater heights faster. Are you one of them? For more information, contact us here. Till then happy planning !



Lean Station

Lean Station serves construction companies, both owners and contractors by helping them adopt lean practices to improve efficiencies and build new capabilities