Yuhang Xu, PE, a Virtual Design and Construction Manager at an ENR 100 firm, became a Registered Scrum Master™ (RSM) in July 2021. He used the Scrum framework to create more flow, solve problems, and apply Lean Construction techniques daily with project teams involved in the coordination of BIM (Building Information Modeling).
The manager applied Scrum training leading a team of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, framing, and fire protection trade partners while coordinating a California courthouse. This 8-story, ~300,000sf building includes an underground basement, security screening, separate hallways for the public and staff, holding areas for in-custody defendants, jury assembly/deliberation rooms, and attorney/client interview rooms. The underground level is a concrete slab over a subterranean parking garage. Due to complexity and building size, the critical path method schedule included a planned year-plus duration for BIM coordination.
Read more about the project online using this link, Stanislaus County, New Modesto Courthouse.
During early conversations after training, I shared that applying Scrum with the coordination team would reduce the overall coordination duration and help with project procurement. Using digital collaboration tools like Mural, which we practice with during RSM training, would also improve communication and collaboration.
We sketched some preliminary coordination flow process changes on a whiteboard, and I predicted they would be able to complete the coordination between 4 and 6 months. The manager said this would not be likely but would give it an honest try. We agreed to buy the winning prediction lunch.
In my experience, implementing Scrum iteratively yields better results, and we agreed to start with already scheduled meetings without training the coordinators. The manager would first implement the daily Scrum, use Mural to make issues/constraints visible, and add more Scrum elements as coordination became easier. One big difference from the typical coordination schedule was to apply the concepts of single-piece flow and have each trade start in a planned sequence in floor area sizes under 20,000sf. Working this way would cut each floor in half and allow the trades to build upon each other to reduce clashes while following better practices for clash resolution.
The team was resistant to making this change since they were used to operating in traditional ways - model population in big batch areas followed by clash resolutions. This typical approach is the classic everyone starts at the same time. After a few schedule updates, the team realized they would need more than one year of total coordination duration at this pace. This scheduling problem allowed them to consider adopting a higher-intensity Scrum. They implemented more of the Scrum framework and completed the base contract coordination in half the time, TWICE AS FAST! Another benefit aside from completing the coordination in less than half the time included almost zero trade versus trade clashes.
Registered Scrum Master training for design and construction professionals focuses on leading teams using proven Lean Construction principles and tools. Prioritizing flow, using lessons learned from reducing batch sizes, and improving communication provided an immediate return for the training investment. RSM training includes implementation support and tailored guidance to overcoming resistance or using better practices for change management.
When asked about the most useful thing to make this Scrum implementation, the manager said, "Be nimble, be open-minded...use the Scrum methodology with Lean to help work with the team and keep everyone communicating."
Yes, my lunch was free and priceless.
Are you working with Scrum to deliver more value with less effort and have more fun? Check out these Scrum training resources to help you and your team(s) achieve twice the work in half the time.