CPM Scheduling and Pull Planning

Two Pillars of the Bridge to Innovation



Satinder Baweja and Lori Vidak

Texas, USA




In business, there are misperceptions of and a need for innovation, especially in the construction industry, which trails behind other industries. Causes of this failure to innovate are examined. Two competing methods of planning are presented as two supporting pillars that will mitigate these factors, providing a process and an environment, (the bridge to innovation), that nurtures the many forms of thinking necessary for strategic innovation.

One pillar of the bridge, CPM scheduling, is shown to promote the necessary control needed to keep projects on track and lower risks, preventing an avalanche of challenges that so threaten the project that there would be little time for anything but reacting. The CPM master schedule, schedule updates and documentation build upon what is known to provide a reasonable security from which to launch creative thinking and give purpose to innovation.

The other pillar, pull planning, is shown to produce a quality CPM schedule, and when done regularly throughout the life of the project, encourages creativity among all the key participants in the project.

The proper blending of both methods becomes the framework of the bridge allowing companies ongoing travel from the shores of the status quo to the unknown future of projects and the industry.

Innovation Misperceptions

Because innovation is the introduction of something new, it requires creativity. Most consider creative thought to be the playground of thinkers like Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie, and Jane Austen.

However, this is not true. New ideas from so-called average people pop up by the thousands every day. Everyone has creative thoughts, or the occasional lightbulb, but few know how to encourage, nurture, and harvest them. Only a small percentage of them become noteworthy and even fewer motivate change within an organization.

So, why bother initiating changes to encourage innovation that may only clutter up the project management process with untested ideas? After all, the majority already deal with ongoing delays and challenges; they are expected. The resulting higher costs and lower return on investment (ROI) than projected are accepted. They are normal.

The Need for Innovation

Innovation requires thinking differently. Creative, associative, and critical levels of thought must be added to the analytical and lateral way of thinking (imaginenatincomau, 2016). All these thinking processes are pieces of and various steps to innovation. They are only a handful of the gazillion methods or ways of thinking that can be found on the internet. Why are people writing about, researching, and reading about different ways of thinking? People want to be better problem solvers and innovators. They recognize the need.

In the world of business, 90% of companies surveyed place a priority on innovation (SHUKLA, 2017). It drives wealth creation. Without it there is no strategy in strategic planning and no sustainable business growth (SHUKLA, 2017).


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 12th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in May 2018.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Baweja, S., Lori Vidak, L. (2018). CPM Scheduling and Pull Planning: Two Pillars of the Bridge to Innovation; presented at the 12th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium, Richardson, Texas, USA in May 2018; published in the PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue IX – September.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/pmwj74-Sep2018-Baweja-Vidak-cpm-scheduling-and-pull-planning.pdf


About the Authors

Satinder Baweja

Texas, USA



Satinder Baweja is the founder and CEO of Milestone Consultants, with over 25 years of experience assisting corporations manage large programs, launch products, and enter new markets. His expertise is in planning large scale complex initiatives and the turnaround of troubled programs and projects. He has a Masters in Engineering from Texas A & M. Satinder has lived, worked, and studied in East Africa, India, and the US, giving him a unique global perspective and an ability to work with diverse cultures.  He can be contacted at [email protected]


Lori Vidak

Texas, USA



Lori Vidak is the researcher and marketing director for Milestone Consultants. She owned and managed a small silk-screen and promotional products business for over 30 years. She is also a fitness instructor certified in aquatic and group fitness, Pilates, and kickboxing. Both her business experience and fitness training give her insights into creative problem solving, ethics, and stress management.  Ms. Vidak can be contacted at [email protected]