Todd Henderson is a principal at Boulder Associates, leads their San Francisco office, and has over 20 years of healthcare design experience. An advocate and innovator of lean design within his company's culture and beyond, Todd is also currently fascina...
Todd Henderson is a principal at Boulder Associates, leads their San Francisco office, and has over 20 years of healthcare design experience. An advocate and innovator of lean design within his company's culture and beyond, Todd is also currently fascinated by Agile, Knowledge Management, programming microcontrollers, pickling, and homemade cocktail bitters. Most recently, he became a Certified ScrumMaster and serves his teams using the Scrum framework.
Todd’s specialties include healthcare design (medical office buildings, diagnostic imaging, radiation oncology, medical oncology, hospitals), building information modeling (BIM), lean, IPD, Last Planner System, CBA, planning poker, Agile, Scrum, CSM, public speaking, and rabblerousing.
Todd is a recognized Lean Leader in his architecture firm actively engaged in their lean transformation. He trains, mentors, supports, and cajoles colleagues (and clients) to fight waste, secure customer value, and strives to always do better today than yesterday.
Connect with Todd via
LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/toddahenderson/
Website at https://www.boulderassociates.com/
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Bio Link at http://thefelipe.bio.link
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Today’s episode is sponsored by Bosch RefinemySite. It’s a cloud-based construction platform. Bosch uses Lean principles to enable your entire team, from owners to trade contractors – to plan, communicate, document, and execute in real-time. It’s the digital tool that supports the Last Planner System® process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. Bosch RefinemySite empowers your team, builds trust, creates a culture of responsibility, and enhances communication. Learn more and Try for free at https://www.bosch-refinemysite.us/tryforfree
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Todd Henderson 0:00
Here's the thing, the thing that I've learned about me, that I've always done and can't not do is I go out, and I find ideas in the world and I drag them back to the nest and I try them out. And it's just it's this. You know, I've just discovered that like, Oh, that's the thing I'm doing and makes me happy and I can't not do it. And so this was one of those where I just in one of my communities that I circulated, someone had the notion of, of the internal podcast and my first thought was, that's the dumbest idea I've ever heard any, and yet, I wrote it down.
Felipe Engineer 0:40
Welcome to the EBFC show, the easier better for construction podcast. I'm your host Felipe Engineer-Manriquez. This show is all about the business of construction. Today's episode is sponsored by…
Boshrefinemysite is a cloud based construction collaboration platform that applies Lean principles to enable your entire team to plan, communicate and execute in real time. It's the digital tool that works in tandem with your last planner system process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. This easy to use platform is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and can be used on desktops, tablet and mobile devices. According to Spencer Easton, scheduling manager at Oakland construction, Refinemysite, in my opinion, is the best cleanest tool on the market the last, here's what our users have to say. We've looked at three other digital scheduling platforms and none compared to the straightforward approach refined my site takes from milestone planning all the way down to daily tasks. This program gives every general contractor and their trade partners meaningful collaboration, accountability and KPIs. Register today to try refined my site for free for 60 days.
Felipe Engineer 2:05
Today's episode is sponsored by construction accelerator that design and construction industries come up with and build great things. But we also build in waste in how we do those things, in our interactions in our contracts in our logistics. So what does this do for our bottom line, or our next project, the best firms maximize their value by removing that waste, and only doing what's essential to the work what makes them money. Construction accelerator will train you to see the waste and give your teams the lean tools and experience to remove it immediately. All online. Construction accelerator is made up of three to nine minute videos that can be watched again and again, in the field, at the office and at home. All broken down by topic. need to learn cool planning, we have videos on the process, how to set up a room and how to kick off the team need to set up a target value delivery project, we discuss all the aspects of TVD especially cost. Or maybe you just need to brush up on five as well. We have videos on that as well. You can download and print reference materials to use on site to immediately translate watching into doing subscribe today at tri ca now.com. Let's build an industry not just a project. To me show is also sponsored by the lean construction Institute. LCI is working to lead the building industry and transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Now to the show. Welcome to the show, Mr. Todd Henderson. Todd, I am so happy to have you on the show.
Todd Henderson 3:48
I'm thrilled to be here, Felipe, what a treat. Yeah we need stuff like this. We do more channels of conversation and kicking ideas around and sharing who's doing what.
Felipe Engineer 3:58
Yeah, right. Before we started, you mentioned that you did an internal podcast The purpose was, well, gosh, how far back do I go? You go back as far as you need to be done.
Todd Henderson 4:08
I mean, I could take a year in three hours, you're gonna be like, you know, talk to you need to wrap up the story. My partner, Jenny Hastings is in our Sacramento office. And she's the I'm actually people don't get this I'm actually mostly introverted. She's the opposite. Anyway, I bounce this idea off her and she was just like, all in like, we need to do this. And it just sort of we almost dared each other into it at some point, basically.
Felipe Engineer 4:35
That's a good way to do it. And then who's your target audience inside there?
Todd Henderson 4:38
I mean, the target audience was the firm and and you know, we had we had kicked it around for a year. Like this is a crazy idea, right? Yeah. But man, that'd be fun. And then the pandemic here and without, you know what, we're not seeing each other anymore. Across the firm. We've lost so much in this especially in the audio format, right? Right, we're most communications are typing to each other, unless you're talking on, you know, teams or whatever. And it just felt like let's give this a shot as a way to help share what's going on around the firm, positive stuff, encouraging stuff, by and large, highlight people who are doing something cool. I mean, it's the same thing you're doing here and way, right, it's just a much smaller audience, like, who's doing something that's worth elevating and bringing to the, you know, bringing to the front, we had a lot of fun, we haven't really decided to stop it. But I think we just both of us are just so dang busy, that we sort of did our their pilot year and kind of cooling now, we'll see if we go back to it at some point. That is beautiful. I love that you're, you're showcasing good things that are happening that, you know, a lot of times, especially the design firm, people don't have a lot of collision points with each other to bump into each other, you know, the day to day project, things happening.
Felipe Engineer 5:58
And it's a great idea so that people can drop in and hear what's going on.
Todd Henderson 6:02
So our very first episode, and again, this was like in April of last year, give or take, we you know, the wheels have just fallen off the global wagon, right, we're all suddenly working from home. And, you know, we've had a layoff, right? Not a big one. But nonetheless, that's a that's a cause for alarm. And we, you know, some furloughs and you know, kind of what what a lot of firms were doing to try to wait out because although, because the working more or less, slowed down pretty pretty quickly. So our first episode was a conversation with two of our founding partners, about recessions and about downtimes because they've gone through them, right, the firm's 3038 years old, or so. And it's just a conversation. I was like, hey, how is what was it? like for you? What have you, what have you learned from, from recessions? And it was, you know, that there wasn't another channel in the firm to sort of get that kind of a message out of, hey, it's gonna be alright, we're gonna get through this. Lean tightens calm and lean times go. It was it was very opportunistic, the way we tried to program the content. I love that.
Felipe Engineer 7:13
How long was the show like that first episode? I mean, it was less than an hour, it's probably half an hour. Okay, you tap on a couple things that are ton definitely have a sense of respect for people and the people that don't know Todd. Todd is an incredible facilitator. And I recently got to watch him working at the LCI design forum. And he kind of closed it down, and he closed it down and experiment with the the art of the focus conversation, which I thought was brilliant, it was the most fun I've ever had closing out of a conference ever. I love hearing that. People were like, on it, you even had to, like he was getting the play the music off on him to get off stage, if they needed to, like end the conference. And, and people were interacting on a digital whiteboard. And Todd said, He's like, just keep going people well, I'll keep this open for you. And, and people just kept on, they kept on going.
Todd Henderson 8:07
It's still open, and it might feel still be somebody that they're given feedback for all I know. That's, and that's the thing, right? And I think my life would be easier in some ways, if I could shed this, but wouldn't be me. This is this notion that I found it. I learned it from an agile, you know, source, you know, it did, I did an online training. I was like, This is freaking amazing. And it started. There's a quote, and I think it's from Covey, I forget who said it, but the quote is to learn and not to use is not to learn. And when I found that I was like, that's, that's the thing. That's it, right? And that's just so I learned something, I basically deploy it everywhere I can, and just kick the tires on it. So so that that focus conversation as a way of debriefing the team learned it sounded really cool and very promising, immediately sprung it on, my team's like, Hey, guys, I'm gonna try something different today. And was just astonished how, how much better it was as a way of eliciting valuable feedback from teams. And then, and then, of course, among the organizing committee for the design forum. And they said, Hey, do you want to do the plus delta at the end? I'm like, I don't believe in plus delta anymore. That's something else but I have no idea if it's gonna work with 100 people on amuro board, but I'm willing to absolutely fail in front of everyone I respect. Could you tell how nervous I was during that?
Felipe Engineer 9:45
Yeah. I mean, you said it once of you ever totally professional is Todd was totally profesh.
Todd Henderson 9:52
I rarely get anxious about public speaking or anything like that anymore.
Felipe Engineer 9:57
For people that don't know Todd, it's like you're in this. You're on camera, like as a presenter in this type of event, and there's a audio person, a technical person on off camera with you, they'd never show their face, but they're like the whispering voice in the background. And you've got chat happening. You've got other people popping in. I mean, it's just pandemonium from the, for the presenters perspective. And Todd, you stay totally calm. And you were live before they told you you were live that that they caught you multiple times where you are live, but luckily, you didn't run your mouth. And, you know, let's talk about that. Good luck. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Luckily. And I was just watching you, and I messaged you, and I just said, Hey, Todd, you're live. And I don't think you saw that. I thought A while later, but yeah, you don't see it right away. Cuz the chance not in your face. Like you're trying to focus on looking at the camera sounding professional, hitting your mark on the timing. So there's a lot going on. And it's even with practice, it doesn't go when it's live as they practice it.
Todd Henderson 11:07
It's a weird experience to be talking to the little green glowing light on your laptop, knowing that there's some number of people 100 pairs of ears listening to you and judging you that you can't see them. You can't tell now, am I landing with these people? even hearing me you got zero feedback coming back? And yet you just have to plunder on trundle on rather. Yeah.
Felipe Engineer 11:34
Well, I'm glad. I'm glad the credit sounded good. No, it's from our perspective, my perspective in the audience and beard for me. And even in the audience, Todd, we can't hear how the other people are reacting. But thankfully, because he used a digital whiteboard mirror, we can see other people reacting. And that finally you can see that there are human beings behind the keyboards. And, and then it took off. And then then you saw me, you were if you were me, you would have seen me relax. This is working. Yes. And people were just going nuts. And we got so much incredible feedback.
Todd Henderson 12:10
And that's, you know, I'm a bit relentless in the notion that it's straight out of the toilet away the right process yields the right results. And I think if you bring a better process for something like pulling feedback out of people, you're gonna get better feedback. And
Felipe Engineer 12:31
we don't pathological but but tautological I like that we make that a world. Title, logical, tautological. It makes sense that it's tautological.
Todd Henderson 12:41
People, people don't get that or they or they kind of get intellectually, but then they just kind of go back and just do whatever they're doing processes everything.
Felipe Engineer 12:48
I love that in in the spirit of processes everything, Todd, this is a perfect time to introduce you to the larger global audience. Todd, when you introduce yourself, please also make sure you hit this mark, rabble rousing.
Todd Henderson 13:07
Fair enough? Well, so Hi, everyone. I'm Todd Henderson. I'm an architect. I am the principal with boulder associates, architects were firm of 140 folks or so across the country that does healthcare design, and senior living, interior design, graphic design, but in the in the healthcare space, we're specialists. And I've been here 2020 something years and kind of kind of forget now.
Felipe Engineer 13:42
Oh, you got a pandemic in there. So that's going to change the time span. Exactly.
Todd Henderson 13:47
Exactly. Last year was like six years. But so you know, I live in San Francisco, I helped found our San Francisco office, and I'm the office director for that. But I'm also a board member of the firm. So I'm pretty active on a multiple scales. And rabble rousing is a pretty good term. And I just am wired such that I find ideas and I try to foist them on my unsuspecting actually, they're, they're suspecting now my suspecting, teammates and firm, you know, staff. Many of those things go well, you know, Scrum is one of the one of the ones that I'm just really smitten with. And and I continue to explore in that space. Once I sort of got bitten by the bug of lean design and construction, my partner Ramana, Nickerson years ago, 12 years ago now went deep into that space and taking these ideas and figuring out how can we apply them to design and that was this waking up moment for me that kind of set My course ever since, in fact, I mean, the reason I'm in San Francisco is that we were awarded a position on the St. Luke's Hospital team with with Sutter Health cpmc. And we're partnered with smithgroup. And there was a co located, you know, integrated project delivery team. And remodeled tat means that, hey, you want to be part of this? Oh, heck yeah. And that kind of was just this amazing lab to just try stuff, and see what we could do to make things better. And it just it, it kind of changed how I think about the world. Honestly, once you once you realize that it's possible to have an idea, and to do an experiment, and make something better, and have that continue. It's almost like you've discovered that you've been holding a magic wand. It's a really slow form of magic. Magic, but you know, at least for me, it was like, Oh, well, what else can I do?
Felipe Engineer 16:03
Now you are the natural scientist, or were when we got to talking, you are already dabbling with agile, even when we already bumped into each other. You've been on that path. And I just kind of, yeah, I'd lightly just pushed you a little bit. And you went and you got certified as a scrum master. Just like that, like the next thing. I knew you were there already. And you were doing it. And it's, I get asked questions about Scrum in architecture and design all the time. And I always say, Todd, Todd Henderson, living proof that it works in design very effectively, in a high level I was, I was so happy to see that a you, you made that investment in yourself to get that training, because Todd, you're a high level leader at your organization. And I think it's worth pausing for a second for everybody, every leader out there listening, Todd's an example of what every great leader should do. And that's invest in learning. It's never too late to keep learning and sharpening that saw just to borrow another Stephen Covey quote, since we're both going to be Stephen aficionados here. It's a great thing that you did. And it sounds like it's paying dividends. And I want to definitely hear more about that. But before we hear more about Scrum by one of my favorite subjects of the whole world, what got you into architecture?
Todd Henderson 17:21
You know, it's funny, I, in high school, it's getting time to start applying to college. And I originally wanted to, I thought I wanted to do like electrical engineering. So I went to school for computers. And I thought, and I just thought kind of boring, and probably not very creative. Idiot, retired by now. And I don't know where it I don't I honestly don't remember where the notion came from. But I stumbled on architectures like, Oh, it's this kind of, you know, even marriage, of obviously, creativity, and invention and all that, but also a lot of science, a lot of a lot of detail and rigor and, and that side, right? I just, I went for it and honestly, never looked back. I mean, it just it just fit my temperament to a tee. I
Felipe Engineer 18:19
And off went, how many Raspberry Pi's? Do you have in your house right now?
Todd Henderson 18:25
Just two Raspberry Pi's. And they're not even running because I've actually found that they're a little bit too powerful from for much too big and too powerful and too expensive for what I do. So I would I have I probably have about a dozen microcontrollers. So little, little much, much smaller. Two square inches, five bucks apiece, and I don't care for which rabbit hole you send me down. Let's go.
Felipe Engineer 18:54
Let's go on to one of your favorite ones that you're gonna use and what are you using for? spool this up against it doesn't take much. I'll cut you off last time. Don't worry. If you promise that then I'll just I promise there.
Todd Henderson 19:09
Okay, so, promise, my love of tinkering and experimenting isn't just in architecture. It's everywhere, right? So I absolutely love cooking. Very obviously love eating, but eight years ago, came across the notion of cvwd. Have you ever heard of them? Oh, yeah.
Felipe Engineer 19:28
I've definitely heard of it. Yeah, it's tough to tell the people listening that that is French as you are. I mean, this here you are San Francisco Todd. And I know you weren't born there, but you blended in nicely with the population.
Todd Henderson 19:40
It suits me well. So to be very simply the way of cooking where you seal food in a bag immersed in water, and you keep the water in a really precise temperature. And that sounds dumb and not interesting but you can do amazing thing. So the classic is The classic example is to cook a steak. A medium rare steak is 130 131 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you take a steak, seal it and bag, drop it into water that you hold 131 degrees, you can cook the steak, so I did this just the other day, I cooked some flank steak for eight hours, you would normally not cook a steak for eight hours. But it doesn't overcook because it never gets hotter than medium rare. But what does happen is a whole cascade of reactions happen, the tough, the tougher tissues will sort of gelatinous and become tender and silky. You get this amazing transformation. Okay, so enough on that.
Felipe Engineer 20:42
Right now keep going. Yeah.
Todd Henderson 20:44
Well, the all the vegetarians are like whoa, ah, but you can do this, I did make potatoes this way that I'm not sure what any worse better than just doing it in the oven anyway. At the time of suvi cooker, the thing that sort of makes lets you do this was like a couple 1000 bucks. And I'm starting to get into programming and microcontrollers and dabbling in this area. And I thought, hang on, I need a temperature sensor. I need a heater. And I need a little pump or something to move the water around. And then enough brain to just read the temperature and right cow say Hey, no more heat. Do I know exactly.
Felipe Engineer 21:27
Simple things. You're speaking my electrical engineer language keep going?
Todd Henderson 21:31
Oh my god, well, so I go down the ramp. And it took me fully a year to like build this thing because I learned programming electronics was parts of it, how to build an enclosure. I mean, like, I'm actually it was like, someone was like, Oh my god, I'm making a product here. I have to like, it was the most It was the most fun thing. It eventually worked. I learned about the P ID algorithm. So the engineers in the crowd. P ID is amazing. As my one of my favorite things I've ever learned. I think about p ID all the time. And I made this stupid thing. And it's housed in a cigar box. And it's big, and it's janky. And it's just, it was so mature. And I'm so stupid proud of it. I still use this thing. It's not my favorite project. My favorite project. And it's cliche is my next project. And I'm calling I'm calling it suvi. dex. Almost decade later, I'm like, Okay, I know more. Now we have access to a 3d printer, the microprocessors are better. So I'm building a newer, better awesomer one, that's going to not be janky, it's going to actually turns out, it was gonna wind up looking sort of a whole lot like the ones that I if I was a smarter man, I would just go buy one at target for 100 bucks.
Felipe Engineer 22:46
100 bucks. Now
Todd Henderson 22:47
they're there. They're super cheap, because they're not. It's not complicated. But you know, it is so fun in the road to get there, to me is more interesting than the destination. I mean, I want this to be cooked, right? But it's the discovery and the learning and the problem solving. And you just it's always one step forward, one step back and you you just discover things like Oh, if I have a long enough wire that becomes an antenna. And transferring data across, it becomes really fraught and it takes me a while and a lot of googling to figure out why everything's crazy. And it's just that learning and that discovery is just, that's my drug.
Felipe Engineer 23:25
You're like a mad scientist. I love it. Because like, what do people in your house say about all these gadgets you have laying around? I'm sure it's not just contained in one place. I get a lot of Yeah,
Todd Henderson 23:37
yeah, no, there. There is some management that's needed to keep the keep the blast zone. I have a wonderful wife Joelle. And my daughter Cecily, who's 20 they and Anna we have a little chiweenie has a half Chihuahua half dachshund. Wow, all three of them. Just kind of look at me out of the side of their eye. And they just they just know that this makes me happy. And yeah, there's a nonzero chance I'm going to light something on fire. But you know, it's, it's what makes me happy. So
Felipe Engineer 24:13
I get a lot of I am indulged. I'm very lucky that way. You clearly have done your due diligence and you studied, I still think that we we haven't gone around into the rabble rousing enough. And we need to go a little deeper into that. What do you mean by rabble rousing as part of like, your essence? I guess I'll make you a rabble rouser.
Todd Henderson 24:33
I guess it would, I guess it would. It's it is for me, it is this drive to try new things. And it's almost honestly, it's, it would be as simple as that if I hadn't come across lean, and Toyota and the example of innovating in a direction innovating with a with a place that you want to go. Right, right. And so just the notion of continuous improvement to me is I don't want to be you. Don't sound stupid, but it's it's, it's kind of my calling again.
Felipe Engineer 25:04
That's not stupid philosophical. I'll give you a synonym.
Todd Henderson 25:08
I like that. Yeah. Yeah, that's it. No, it's I love it. I love it. It is just my way of life. And I wish more people felt similarly, right. I mean, honest, I think the honest truth is that in any population, you got sort of 95% they're just gonna do what they did yesterday until some force comes along, that kind of knocks them off that trajectory. Now people who know me know, I use a lot of metaphors drawn from random places. So one thing that stuck with me, from the only class in college I got an A plus in, which was, was freshwater biology, not an architecture class. You can love this biology class. Oh, so good. And, you know, salmon, right? salmon, they're a natural mess, I believe, which means that they are born in freshwater, right. And people generally know this. they hatch, they swim downstream, they, they grow up at sea for four years. And then they come back to their spawning ground. And that's the story that people know about salmon. And I'm looking at you and you're going, Todd,
Felipe Engineer 26:15
what are you talking about? No, I'm not. I'm like, there's got to be some hidden salmon story. I'm
Todd Henderson 26:19
waiting for it. I'm on the edge of my chair, Todd. Turns out there is because that story is true for 98% of the salmon. While the other 2%. Yeah, there are there in reaching back to mid 1990s. So any biologists let me know if I'm getting this wrong, but this is what I remember from then. The other 2% are composed of two different populations. 1% are called jacks, and 1% are called aces. And I forget which ones which but one of those groups, it comes back in five years. Not for interesting thing, right? So it mixes the gene pools, way to go evolution, right, because otherwise, each, each spawning ground would eventually diverge into its own species of fish, that the aces do something else. They come back in four years, but they go to a different spawning ground. And I love that. And when I read that, I thought, Oh, is that me? And what what? So why would this be important for salmon to come back to a different spawning ground? Well, guess what? Sometimes there's a landslide and where you spawn no longer exists. Also, sometimes a new waterway opens up. Maybe something happens. And now you could actually swim up a tributary to an unknown, touched spawning ground. Right? And so this is how this is just the way salmon are awesome. That's amazing.
Felipe Engineer 27:43
That salmon that are out there exploring the wild frontiers, the new waters, the ace, I think it sounds, it seems like the aces would be the explorers comment below amateur biologist. Let us know if Todd's memory is correct, because we dare not go to Wikipedia and find out for sure.
Todd Henderson 28:00
Oh, my gosh. Oh, yeah, that's devastating. sometimes find out that what I remembered from mid 90s biology in college is probably completely wrong or overwritten by now. But at least it's a metaphor. I love it. And I couldn't tell you how I got on this path. But oh, is rabble rousing? It's the thing I do, I just go and find ideas and bring them back. And it makes me happy. And I struggled for years to get people to adopt them. Right. And I've I've learned that in organization, there's a certain kind of wavelength of change. I love older associates. And I know that I need to be talking about something for about three years before it kind of catches on. And I've developed patients with that.
Felipe Engineer 28:39
Oh, it's faster there than it is here. Because where I am I have to talk about it for 10 years. Oh my god. Yeah. You're so lucky. You have no idea. And then I'll hear people say, I was I was talking the other day this week. Actually, Todd, and somebody mentioned something. And I said, Oh, yeah, I was the one that showed it to them this year.
Todd Henderson 29:05
I'm not kidding. I have that all the time. Yeah, stuff will kind of pop back up. Oh, that's great idea.
Felipe Engineer 29:13
You got to bring the pleasant this time. And the space that we're in title where we're out there at the front, the bleeding edge of change with adopting ideas that are arguably over 100 years old, in our industries, but I like that. So people are like this little bit of resistance. I mean, it kind of helps our game died, but you have to say when you're trying to bring something new, oh, yeah, if they just went with you right away. It can kind of mediocre your way through it. Oh, they
Todd Henderson 29:42
just run right off a cliff with me. It'd be that'd be terrible. You know, there's a lot I've got a lot of thoughts on that. I mean, give me some, you know, just with clients, right with, with their clients for design. I think this is true, not just in my firm. I think this is just true, universally clients that are more picky get better work, they drive us to do better, it, the ones that are easily satisfied are easily satisfied. I mean, so there is something there is a lot of value in being a being a bit demanding being particular being discerning. Right. And so that's in one space, but you know, yeah, the ideas I bring back to the nest I have from a terrible title or need heavy adaptation or whatever. You know, a couple years ago at the lean design forum, I led a like a lean coffee discussion about a call to lean backlash about the lean backlash.
Felipe Engineer 30:40
Good. And that's a good hook man.
Todd Henderson 30:43
The subtitle was, Why don't people like my solutions to their problems as much as I do?
Felipe Engineer 30:52
I'm gonna come to you to, like start naming my shows. I mean, I mean,
Todd Henderson 30:59
but my research study on that was really just that, as change makers, a lot of us were at least me have been just, we, our instincts are entirely wrong. We sort of tried to bludgeon people with with this is better, I really do have a better solution to your problems. If you if you would only see it, why can't you see that? I've got you know, I don't care that you've been doing this for 20 years? I've got the answer that you didn't know you needed. Well, you know, what, not too many people receive that message with thanks, usually be like, Uh huh. Wrong, you know, I'm doing okay, keep walking. And that's not a that's not a great, that's not something broken. That is, that is a signal that you need to do the work to partner with people on changing something if change is needed, on elevating something, and not see resistance as them not getting the message, their resistance is them sending you a message that you need to try harder, you need to work with them, you need to listen to their valid concerns. And not think as I have been all too guilty of doing I mean, you know, too many times that you really do have the solution to their problems, because you probably don't,
Felipe Engineer 32:19
it's hard to for, for leaders to step back really admit that you don't know something that looks just like what you you've been through. And you're like, I know exactly what to do, because this has happened like so many times. But the part that we don't see in the invisible part is the person's experiences that got to where they are right now. And the solution that could work for Todd with Todd's experiences might not work for Philippe, because I don't have your skill set. Like I definitely can't be ID program anymore. You know, but I mean, there's there's something to that. And I think your your approach to bring people with you and partner, you're going to find a better thing together, bridging, then you would just trailblaze and I'm not saying I'm good that how do you all at Boulder, like what's the go to typical way that you do planning?
Todd Henderson 33:15
You mean like work planning or space planning?
Felipe Engineer 33:18
Let's go with space planning first.
Todd Henderson 33:20
Okay. We don't have a typical way. It's, you know, that's something that's so, you know, by space planning. I mean, I've got a piece of property or a building and I need to put a healthcare use in it right on, right. I'm a rain what I've come to call arranging rectangles. rooms, right? We don't really have a typical way that you know, there's no, there's no kind of one way to do this.
Felipe Engineer 33:49
Okay, so let me let me ask this way. Do you go like when you're sitting down with the client, and they're describing their needs, or their problem, that you're going to help them overcome with building something? Do you think inside out or outside in typically, you and I'm talking just you, Todd and then we'll see how other people compare? Yeah, no, it's it's Yes. It has to be both. I mean, are you just do both? It
Todd Henderson 34:13
has to be it has to be Yeah, I think, you know, especially for what we do. I think if you're doing a museum, I think you can come up with a wackadoodle shape. And then carve holes in it and go Yeah, those are galleries. I may be I may be being a little dismissive of Museum, but
Felipe Engineer 34:30
there's a lot more shots fired against museum designers, shots, warning shots fired.
Todd Henderson 34:37
It's a very different design problem. What we do is we need to pack rectangular spaces into a compact arrangement with certain adjacencies but you know, the front door really is somewhere in the back door is somewhere and the electrical room, isn't it? So, so you, really is this dance of multiple theater Back and forth, to find that kind of equipoise in between. And if you design a building entirely inside out, you can really Bizarro looking building one of the one of our customers, as architects, and one of the things I love about this profession is it's got so many kind of layers to it. Right? All right, obviously, our client is our primary customers are literally paying our bill. Right, right. But you know what, the people are a customer, I, my license is all about protecting the life safety of building occupants, I take that seriously. They're a customer, even though they're not paying for the space, right. But the city that a building is in is a customer the quality of the urban environment, the how the building looks to people walking by the shadows, it casts the glare, it might cast, the damage it does to the environment, in its construction operations. Those are these successive kind of layers to the onion. And they're all you can sort of think of them as a customer in a sentence and so designed entirely from inside out, you probably overlooking the needs of some of those customers on the outside. It's simple way to think about it.
Felipe Engineer 36:13
Those not simple that was elegant. I like that I've been by some buildings where you can tell there's no regard for people having to be by them. no regard for people. Yeah, I was recently in Vegas, and one of the high rise buildings was oriented in such a way that it was, you couldn't pass by it without almost being blown off the street, that it was just perfectly catching the wind at like all times a day. And as soon as you got 20 feet away from the building. It was over. It was only because of how he was shaped and just bringing down gusts that never would hit the street. Otherwise, yeah, Ruby, that tweeny would just be blown off the curb. Yeah, it was intense. So I really appreciate that approach. And, and heading after it in a couple of different ways. I just saw an article in the news today in the morning paper that the economy is hotter than a ghost pepper. So things are gonna start to pick back up again. So as you all start to expand, what's something you look for in design partners that you want? at Boulder, if with that approach? Yeah. Well, I love that question. Because we're totally, we're way off any kind of script that we had, as promised.
Todd Henderson 37:33
So I'm involved in the hiring in my office, I've hired quite a few people. And it's as hard as hard work, labor intensive, and it's just hard to make decisions that way. But I look at it. This is this is a little hyperbolic, but it's a little like, nominating a Supreme Court justice, it shapes. It shapes how things are going to be for a while, we try very, very hard to kind of, I say hire for life. Even though I acknowledge that sounds a little creepy, you could say, but hire for the long term, right? And we don't binge and purge, we don't hire people, and then let them go. So I try to be very careful decisions. And you know, what I've, what I've finally learned, I think is I almost, I almost don't care. I'm not quite but I almost don't care. The specific skills a person has, you know, let's say I'm hiring someone younger, and it's so cute. They always, their resumes always have nowadays, I don't know, someone told them, hey, listen to all the software that you know, and give yourself a little self rating on like a five star scale for each thing. It's cute. It's neat, it's graphic, you know. And I've learned to utterly disregard that. Because you can learn software, especially people right out of school, they learn software, boom, just like it's not a problem. They've grown up learning how to learn software. So I don't hire someone because they think they know Revit. Also, they're lying. They're not lying. They just don't know Revit in school, so they think they know something about Revit. They love like what we actually do, right? I'm looking for someone with the right personality. And just, you know,
Felipe Engineer 39:22
even that's tricky on because you're probably I mean, knowing that now that you told me about your approach, you're probably thinking everybody in the firm right now. Plus this person, plus their uniqueness. So you're like, you're so like global with the thinking. That's why I can see it in your faces like you're struggling to just get it out because I can see your mind just flashing to all of these Rolodex of people and people you've looked at recently and people you've said no to for four reasons. You probably could put your finger on but you just knew it wasn't gonna fit.
Todd Henderson 39:54
Yeah, but and part of my hesitation here is that there's There's a real danger in that, you know, in the in the notion of, I hire people I like because that's probably going to trend toward I hire people like me. And that is a wonderful system, if you want a lot of people that look like this particular meatsuit, right, and what I want is actually the opposite of that, right? So I'm actually still in flux about how to think about, about making hiring decisions in a bit more rigorous fashion, so that we don't know. So that we, um, we de energize the circuits of bias of all the 100 kinds of bias that we can have. Right, I don't have a systematic way to sort of express that. I'm very proud that that my office looks like San Francisco, and in just a ton of diversity, and just some, I just, I look at my crew, and I'm just radiantly proud of them, cool people, cool people. But we have to be real careful with with that thing of hiring, based on subjective impressions, because that can that can very easily support outcomes, we really don't want to have workplace, right
Felipe Engineer 41:29
does your your hammering back in on that, you know, serving the client in that you need diverse thinking to solve these really gnarly problems, and you're not going to get it if everyone I mean, as awesome as you are, Todd. If you just had more tides, then you're less limiting what your firm can react to. It's like your salmon analogy. It's like perfect, you just gonna have like, off the shelf salmon, that all of a sudden there's a landslide and boom, your your whole entire species dies. Because you couldn't adapt. So having having the aces and Jack's is in your mix is just gonna make sure that boulder lives on forever.
Todd Henderson 42:07
Yeah, you know, one of the things that has caught my attention so the struggle I have is I'm I'm deeply in for graciously omnivorous about everything. I'm just Omni curious. And that is honestly a struggle, because that makes me involved in too many things and split into many directions. And so that's there's, there's a, that's the, that's the kryptonite to what I'm about to say, which is, you know, I get interested in different things. One of those things is this field called knowledge management km. And that has struck me as a way of implementing. Sorry, another thing about because I tend to tie things together, so to me, knowledge management, is lean, applied to knowledge work, it's how do we know who knows? What? How do we increase that and manage that? How do we do better at transmitting knowledge between each other? All I've got, I mean, if you're a builder, you know, if you're Mason, you've at least got some bricks or something. Right? Right, that have value. We just got brains, we got brains, and we got some computers and mice and crap and some pencils. So you should be really good at managing brains, right? And I swear, I'm gonna land this plane in a minute. So knowledge management is this whole other discipline that in community that I'm really getting a lot of great ideas out of, and, and enjoy. And tie it to lean because it just feels like a way of enacting kind of lean ideas in this invisible space of kind of knowledge. And then you have just a little over a year ago, and George Floyd gets murdered. And something about that woke A lot of us up. A lot of us middle aged white guys up and when, you know, we've been ignoring something that honestly, it's really bloody obvious, and it's right there and can no longer live with myself ignoring the inequities in our society. I'm certainly I feel very late to that. But to me, the the struggle toward justice and, and, and equity. You know, Ed, if you want to have it as a shorthand, he is also about Lean. Lean is founded on respect for people and I take that really seriously. And we're not respecting some people and we're, we today we are profoundly disrespecting some people and I can't live with that. And so there's that and it's also knowledge management, right? I mean, it's just waking up and saying, My goodness Where are the black architects? There are, there are I think 500 female black architects
Felipe Engineer 45:09
in the whole us, Baja arts time that's
Todd Henderson 45:13
staffed up. That's after up. And and that's just to pick up that's just a pick one particular right, one particular example of, of inequity and and problem right. And not easily untangled. But what part of that am I part of? And can I do something about not only as an expression of respect for people, which is just, you know, to me this bedrock concept that undergirds everything. But also, you know, it's gonna make us better, the more different people, not just that we employ, but that we truly respect and who feel comfortable and not just comfort when reaching for a word, I'm not grabbing it, but who, who really feel fully bought in to where they work, and can participate and bring their whole self. Just it just as they are in all their wonderfulness. That's, I mean, what does anyone want from architecture firm, but a collection of a whole bunch of different ideas and different experiences and backgrounds? So all this stuff, to me just kind of melds together and is hugely motivating. I know
Felipe Engineer 46:31
what you mean that it's, it's all connected. It's not separate. It's it's fractal. To get nerdy on people. What happens outside in the world is happening inside of organizations as well. And people are waking up. I mean, it's like the things that we even talk about as a as an organization as a company. And in projects now, I mean, even the water cooler talk is different than it was five years ago.
Todd Henderson 46:59
Oh my gosh, yeah, I remember my first job. A very first job out of college and identity for was in Baltimore. And in here, you go with the, with the ACE thing, right? And I thought, well, I'm from Oregon, went to University of Oregon. I had standing job offers in Portland for firms I'd worked for in the summer, and I thought if I don't get out of Portland, Oregon, now, I will never see any other places. Sorry, mom and dad, I gotta go. Try the East Coast for a while. And you know. So that's how I ended up in Baltimore. And the first job sites I came on to, and there's like, you know, the those those brown job boxes that the tools get stored in Yeah, you know, in the lid was up, and the inside of the lid was plastered with porn. Like, just like, right there, like, Okay. That's how job sites are. I mean, and there's a there's a you go, okay, you know, there's part of me, I can go back. I can see how that could be a thing. But it's nice that. But you can imagine that there were no women on that day. No women, right. And if there were they feel intensely uncomfortable, probably a lot of people would get uncomfortable. So it's nice to see the world really is advancing. You don't see that on job sites anymore. No,
Felipe Engineer 48:21
it's true. That is, that's one change. Yeah, I have other stories that I can't even share on recorded media about things that you don't see on job sites anymore. That used to happen in my lifetime. So yeah, that's powerful. Baltimore. Yeah. Either Baltimore's up. That's a story about Baltimore as much as I don't know. No, I think it's, it's, it was across, you know, everywhere. And things are changing. We're having more even diversity coming into the trades out of necessity, because we just need more people from anywhere to come in. We've got to attract people in and I think conversations like this Todd, that you and I are having, are going to encourage people to fall into architecture, like Todd did, like put down that application for electrical engineering and just go ahead and go architecture try it out. You can always come back and you can always, you know, use neither and go work for a general contractor. Like I did. It's totally possible. I think, you know, it's a it's very fascinating. How you and Romano have been so intentional with bringing bringing lean practices into your firm, and then using it with your clients and it's also attracted a certain type of clientele. To your firm like there's you're not going to get like the the one off developer knocking on your door and wanting just to do this one single job and never call you again. You probably have a lot of repeat Long Term work and especially like when you said when you went to St. Luke's and I think the client brought you in there to kind of round out the team because of the experiences they've had with you before. So I think that that says a lot about this type of approach. And finding your tribe and the people that you like working with. Oh, absolutely.
Todd Henderson 50:20
And, and, I mean, they they brought us in. So you know, Romano had had really taken lean ideas to heart and work very hard, kind of pioneered applying them to design. And our clients that project Sutter Health, I think we can mention that
Felipe Engineer 50:40
you can make you can mention Sutter Health, they're, they're proud of their history and what they've done.
Todd Henderson 50:44
They should be they should be they've changed. If we can change the world, honestly, by just saying, you know what doing it the old fashioned way is too slow, too expensive and too stupid. We got to figure something better out and they they set some things in motion. It's pretty wonderful. Yeah, no, they were not a huge, we're not a huge firm. We can't do an enormous bed tower. on our own. Right. We're just, we're just not that big. But we are agile and flexible. And, you know, by that point, a bunch of us had had really gone deep into trying to think about Lean. And I think that's what got us a place on that team. And it was that was, I mean, just just a seminal experience in my career. And it just so much fun. So interesting. distance, such a different order of engagement. Yeah, I think about it all the time.
Felipe Engineer 51:42
How many years was that design phase? Because I feel like we've been talking about that job for like, 10 years.
Todd Henderson 51:51
Oh, yeah. It was like, it was like 13 years or something like that. But you have to, you have to I think we were like the third architectural team. on that thing. I think they designed it twice before, something like that. And that's a lot about San Francisco politics. And, and the way that that project was bundled with a bunch of other projects, etc, wanted to do around the city, and a sequel, which was the big environmental impact review. That was years in the making, the thing is literally like, a foot and a half thick, the document so that we can say 13 years, but it was it wasn't just took us that long to design a building.
Felipe Engineer 52:39
There's a lot of things happening. Yeah, a whole lot of things happen in politics in a city. I mean, even even smaller cities. The political environment, heavily affects what can be designed and built. I don't think people you know, outside of construction that don't work in it can appreciate how powerfully influential local politics are. And what we try to do.
Todd Henderson 53:04
That was an eye opener for me, because I'd never been involved in something that that had that level of kind of public scrutiny. Usually, there's usually my stuff. There's a there's a city council meeting, and they go, Yeah, looks good check. You know, off we go. Right. But this was a whole different thing. But But you know, you mentioned you mentioned Ramana, and so so several years ago, we did, have you ever done Strength Finders?
Felipe Engineer 53:30
Of course I have. Yeah. Yeah. Got my strengths memorized. Um, you tell me yours. And I'll tell you mind.
Todd Henderson 53:37
Okay. My top. So input, learning, responsibility, and analytical. And then there's one more I'm forgetting.
Felipe Engineer 53:49
Well, my number one is also input. Todd is as you were talking, I was just completely lit up. Like, this is my guy. Todd is gonna be my bro. Like, we're gonna be partner forever and in my top 10 also have learning in my top 10. So we have to in the flow, that I've got individualization context communication, and the ever fun. Whoo. Oh, you have Whoo,
Todd Henderson 54:19
I have Whoo. All right. I'm not surprised. I'm not surprised. I mentioned I mentioned my partner Jenny. And she's the only person or firm who has woo and she's got lights like her number one thing. And when we when we were sitting around having done this, and we're talking about them, we all like oh, we understand Jenny now. And, and now she's our Director of Business Development because that is the right place for her.
Felipe Engineer 54:44
Oh my god. makes total sense. So for people that don't know woo is an acronym stands for winning over others.
Todd Henderson 54:50
You cannot do it cannot do it. It's impossible. Yep. That's it. Yeah. And so you know, my, you know, of my top five Four of them are about inhaling, inhaling information for the pure joy of it. And the descriptions of some of these things are kind of funny because like, Oh, yeah, you got me pegged. Right? Yeah, like,
Felipe Engineer 55:15
I got you. I mean, you're on a construction podcast. And we talked about salmon for like, I think 25 minutes. And I let you go with it. Because I have input, I needed to hear the story, like every time you pause, because I'm not like your normal people that don't have input and learner in the top. So and you're like, I'm gonna land this plane. I'm like, don't land the plane. Let's refuel on the air. And let's just keep going time.
Todd Henderson 55:40
I never really did land the plane. I don't think doing that. And I'm not I'm a big skeptic of personality tests. I mean, the the,
Felipe Engineer 55:49
the Myers Briggs the disc? Yeah. I mean, it's, the research is out. Like there are no there was no, if there was no research. Yeah, exactly. We did sorry. Sorry, psychologists, and all the, the, you know, the little cottage industry that makes a killing. It's probably like a multi billion dollar industry worldwide.
Todd Henderson 56:11
I'm sure. And it's garbage that the Myers Briggs is garbage. The enneagram is makes the Myers Briggs look great. That means enneagram is I'm just gonna I'm Carol, people get mad. It's a freakin horoscope. That's the best I can say about it. Yet, then, yet, I have found in spite of my skepticism, I have found Strength Finders to have resonated with me in a way that others haven't. It might be garbage to. But boy, I haven't found evidence that it is it doesn't feel like it is so open to that. But but it showed me something about who I am and let and help me go, Oh, that's why I do that. And that's why I struggle with you know, being distracted. Because I'm too like, oh, squirrel, but Romano. His one of his top ones, if not his top one is ideation.
Felipe Engineer 57:06
And it makes total sense. Soon, as you said it is like instantly Yep.
Todd Henderson 57:12
And then remember him in this discussion saying, Oh, that makes sense. That's why like, when I'm driving down the highway, I often miss my exit. I am so I've been thought. And I was like, yep, that is full on him on that totally described,
Felipe Engineer 57:29
I was in a meeting that he was leaving for a pool planning session. And his ideation 100% lit on and I was just like watching the person next to me definitely was all like about the business like they were full on activator, let's go mode like, this is killing me, we're wasting time. And I said just hold on a second. Wait for it, it's coming. And he did something with like, looking at milestones that I have. I appreciate. And it's probably like three times more. Or it's 100 times more than I've ever seen before. But I appreciate it. I have borrowed some of that. And how I engage with especially designers, where the milestones are not as always not so well defined at times in the design phase. But he took people through, like, an hour just there's no other word to describe other than ideation session on like what it isn't. And if people had had to do homework, Todd before they could even come here, like he had him do homework. And he had like a, one of the people in your office was like in charge and making sure the homework had been done. And then people had to show their work. And it was ideation i think is definitely they got him in. Don Clifton, wherever you are. You got Romanos number, well in it.
Todd Henderson 58:52
Maybe the broader point is just that thing of diversity and of of collecting a lot of different people and then then set them loose on the thing they're good at. Right, right. And good stuff happens when you do that.
Felipe Engineer 59:08
And now that you said, is Jenny in the Sacramento office. Oh yeah, I think when I went and saw Romano, I think Jenny greeted me at that front door. And I was just like, wow, Jenny is just so nice. I was like, I feel so welcome. Like I could just come here every day of the week. I mean, now make sense. So she's got a weird number one, Jenny for listening to the show. You won me over. Congratulations.
Todd Henderson 59:37
She can't help it either. It's fun to watch her in action. Yeah, you know, there's something powerful about understanding what you're good at. Having a sense of what your what your colleagues are good at and then use each other to the best purpose. You know, business development will she's in charge of that now. And hallelujah because she He enjoys it. Me, not so much, right? The fear of rejection the thing of like, Hi, I'm an architect and talking about that stuff. I do it because it's my job. I mean, I've literally have to, yeah, but it's, you know, and once I get going, I'm fine. But just, you know, so we team up on stuff, and she'll set the thing up, and then we'll go and then, you know, you get a sense, you wind me up and I, I'll start chattering right, pretty easily use each other for what we're good at. And there's something there's a powerful message in that, I think,
Felipe Engineer 1:00:34
yeah, and I still I'm not buying that you're an introvert. By no stretch of imagination. I've seen you work a room, like a boss. And you and you work to conference where you can see people like a boss. So get some get some your predisposition thinking what you are, I'm going to reclassify you,
Todd Henderson 1:00:50
but you didn't see me utterly collapse and like folding on myself for several hours after that. It's just like, hide from the world. You
Felipe Engineer 1:00:58
shouldn't just call it I would have told you how it went. Like, you got my cell phone number.
Todd Henderson 1:01:03
wasn't wasn't from from worry about how it went actually really psyched out what it's like, just the like, Okay, I need to recharge. Okay, okay.
Felipe Engineer 1:01:13
I've been burned him, right. That sounds legit. But, Todd, I'm not gonna let you get off of this call. Until you talk to me about Scrum and your firm.
Todd Henderson 1:01:20
I was hoping we would talk about Scrum dying to hear about it. I think about Scrum all the time. I kind of refer to everything I do as an experiment where they use but we've been experimenting with this for a while now. And the thing that got me interested, was actually a call a friend back east. who showed me planning poker, do you know planning?
Felipe Engineer 1:01:44
Of course I do.
Todd Henderson 1:01:46
Okay, okay. For folks who are listening, it's a way of estimating work. That's how big the different tasks are, that you're doing. We could go down that rabbit hole, but maybe it'll stop there. For now it's been in it. It opened my eyes to a different way of thinking, well, maybe let's go down this rabbit hole for a second. So that's where I started was just with that one tool.
Felipe Engineer 1:02:05
Yeah. For people listening, like check Todd's LinkedIn profile. He loves planning poker so much. It's in the additional about me. And I was like, you're probably the first architect ever in the history of planet Earth. Like, you're definitely when I see you on the street, you're getting high five by me. Just so you know.
Todd Henderson 1:02:23
Right on. I love it. I love it. I'm at best. The second guy I learned this from I learned it from an architect in in like North Carolina that was
Felipe Engineer 1:02:32
well, we'll check his profile or her there. Yeah, I bet you it's not there.
Todd Henderson 1:02:38
But it's this brilliant thing. The struggle in architecture, I think in construction, right? You can measure how much you've got done, because you can see it and the person can literally put a tape measure on it. Right, right. Or you can measure the flow of materials to the job site architecture. Now you're kind of not so much. Right? Right? How many pounds? Just one idea away? You know? And so we have struggled forever? I think probably since building the pyramids, honestly, with estimating how much work? How much work do we have? How about how long is it going to take you just to just that just simply that and this was this way of using research that goes back to like World War Two and a tremendous Britain, the RAND Corporation, tremendous body,
Felipe Engineer 1:03:28
hold on, hold on a second, kind of get the bell tied, you go to the head of the class, first person I've ever I teach Scrum, you know, for scrumming. And we referenced that and you're the first person it's a natural conversation to mention the RAND Corporation where they got it from. So I've got to give you two bells here. I mean, if we were on a game show right now, Todd, you'd be winning like the multimillion dollar prize. So you got to keep going
Todd Henderson 1:03:56
right on? Well, it's amazing, right? Humans suck at estimating absolute values. We're not evolved to do it. We're great at estimating relative things. I can you know that you can imagine someone saying that water buffalo is twice as big as that water buffalo. Let's go kill the smaller one. Because it's less likely to kill us or whatever. I mean, you know, the 1000 ways to imagine how that how that evolve is a useful thing. Whatever room you're sitting in, I said, Okay, tell me how many cubic feet of air it contains. You'd have to do measurements, and you'd have to do math. But if I said, how much bigger is it than the room where you take your shower? Oh, yeah, probably say, Oh, yeah, that's about five times bigger. And you would do no effort at all because our brains are adapted to do that. And that's the magic of relative estimating. And in design, that is a fantastic way for us to get our hands around. How much do we actually have here because we're, if we're trying to say it's gonna take me three hours to do this task. That's an album solute estimate. And, and I can tell you through years of trying to do this right with with experimenting with lean across the firm and, and intense efforts that we're planning. We suck at that because you get into the task and you discover, oh, it's way more complex than I thought it was, or an architect's plus are less are silly hearts, we are such optimists. You're just cursed with optimism, I think can't be sure someone can prove me wrong on this. I don't think you can be a pessimistic architect because we exist to try to make things better. Right?
Felipe Engineer 1:05:39
Well, for strengthsfinder Todd, when you find an architect that has deliberative in their top five strengths, you will have found your pessimist. Okay, so you look at look at your architect, go look at our, I'm gonna go look at our Yeah, and then talk to that person, you'd be like, wow, they're just so pessimistic. And they're going to tell you like, no, they're realistic.
Todd Henderson 1:06:00
So and every client that's listening to this knows exactly what we over promised, like, like no tomorrow, because, broadly speaking, don't know what our limits are. And we're just so optimistic that things are going to go smoother. So yeah, that task gets about three hours, and I add up all my tasks, and I got a 40 Hour Workweek, and it's gonna be great. And you are going to get a third of that done. And so doing relative estimating is actually this way of circling around where you're not trying to put hours to it. You're just trying to say, This is big, and this is medium. And these are small, you give these kinds of points, and they go, you know what, my team, I know that my team. Right now I've got a team headquartered in our Charlotte office, and they can do about 100 points a week. reliably, they can burn 100 points a week through our work plan. And if we plan to 100 points a week, we know that we're lying to somebody, we're not going to get it done. Right. Right. And so that was my entree into into Scrum. And it took me I played with that with just just relative estimating for I mean, gosh, three, four years. And then and then yeah, went and went and read the saw Jeff Sutherland speak at the lean design forum actually bought his book while he was still talking. Then like an idiot, I waited a year to read it. And then I read it and went holy buckets. This is amazing.
Felipe Engineer 1:07:26
Don't feel bad because because you know, JJ Sutherland is Jeff sun. Oh, grew up in his house, and totally dismissed Scrum his entire life until 2009. He read the person that you know, the Jeff raised it took him until oh nine to be like, you know what, I'm gonna give this a shot.
Todd Henderson 1:07:43
Read it. And then you know, me, I've got a sort of diehard do it yourselfer like, okay, I give this a shot. And it was after that, about a year after that. And I was like, maybe I should get some learning about this. Rather than just read the book and give it a you know, Hey, hold my beer, watch this, too. And that's, you know, went and got Scrum Master training that blew my mind, because it showed me how it sounds cheesy and cliche, but it showed me sort of the deeper meaning underneath the steps. I had gotten the steps and the mechanics from the book, but not so much the why and the Peter Green was the was the trainer and he's just I've seen him in a number of things. He just freakin brilliant agilus. And just the way he approached, facilitating a team, where it wasn't about him and just so much
Felipe Engineer 1:08:34
of kind of some of the Agile is learning and all that they're like, Zen masters, Todd, yeah, people that are into zen, like some of these agile coaches, I mean, they can just go with the flow, like just connecting on you with wherever you're at an entire class to where you've got a lot of mixed experiences. Like, I'll do classes where some people have read Jeff's Red Book, they've read JJ his book, they've read the scrum guide, like 30 times, and then the person next to them doesn't even know the definition of Scrum. And yet they're in this class to become a scrum master. That's like a massive amount of variation right there to be we talked about that
Todd Henderson 1:09:11
term. I just find Scrum Master to be the most embarrassing term ever.
Felipe Engineer 1:09:18
It's the same. So inside of inside of the the scrum world, only two people can change that term can't waver. And just
Todd Henderson 1:09:27
Yeah, and so inside deliberately made it kind of it's kind of embarrassing. If you don't throw it around too much.
Felipe Engineer 1:09:33
Inside of all those circles. People are mounting pressure to have that term changed. And so when, when Jeff had Willie wagons spun this out in Europe, to teach Scrum in schools, when they the first one of the first times he exposed it to the kids. The kids said, yeah, we don't like that term. Remember, this is like the early 2000s. And they said what if we Can we just say team captain, and so on and Scrum and agile, they don't say Scrum Master. They say team captain and I even told the people that Scrum. Like I said, team captain makes more sense because the team captain plays in the game. And 99.9% of Scrum masters pool work and backlog and they playing the game. So I started telling people recently, team captain, I was like, you read the scrum guide, the team captain is the scrum master servant leader. They even say the genuine leader, I think it's gonna eventually change on interesting. Yeah, probably probably for the better. There's Yeah, there's there's rumblings every year. And it looks like the guide is getting updated now about every every other year, roughly. That's good. So they'll keep evolving and adapting, it does change quite a bit. Like he said, like, the early guide was like, you know, stack of papers like this thick when it first came out in 1995. And then they were they had way too much of it now, it's, you know, 12 pages plus a cover page.
Todd Henderson 1:11:01
Yeah. And not only that, but but we've been, you know, I've been basically trying this on my teams, you know, and to largely great effect. I mean, you know, definitely learned some stuff, right along the way. And you know, both personally about how to how to how to make change happen. Especially like how to not, not try to make change.
Felipe Engineer 1:11:26
How to support change, create a condition, so change can emerge.
Todd Henderson 1:11:30
Yeah, exactly. But by and large, the teams who've tried it, generally enjoy it, and genuinely find value in it, it tends to stick. I think we struggle, I'll just be candid, with not rounding it off. Yeah. Not not cutting corners and be like, wow, we don't need these, you know, whatever. The retrospective, or perspectives are weird, let's just maybe stop them. Right. That's like, if you keep one thing, if you keep that you're going to be okay. So there's always there's always work to do. And there's always more, but it's been fun. And one of the one of the biggest things to me when I've had those, like fist pumping moments, is with regard to our younger staff. And that when you have a workflow when you have a framework for running your project, that is founded on transparency, and honesty and courage. Forget the two other values at the moment.
Felipe Engineer 1:12:26
Todd Henderson 1:12:28
commit focus, oh, my God, focus, if you mean it, and you live in it, and you actually, you actually aren't just saying the words, but you're actually really trying. That's a wonderful learning environment, kind of for everyone. But especially for people who are newer to architecture, what you learn in college is like a 10th of a percent of what you actually need to be an architect. We're still a heavily apprenticeship based thing. Nothing wrong with that. No, there's nothing wrong with that. And I think there's a lot that's right about that. Except that architects aren't trained to be trainers. Right? Right, you pick up, you pick up the habits of whoever trained you. Let's hope you had someone good, right. And so it's, it's been huge to watch newer staff where a lot of firms, they get handed a stack of red lines, or these days, it's a Blue Beam full of red lines. And they don't know why spreadsheet or combos, get it done. And now the team is self criticizing and self improving, and having real conversations about how do we be a better team? How do we do better work. And it's all done in the open with big hearts, right. And that's not for nothing. So it's been cool. It's beautiful. I think it also supports not micromanaging, supports, it supports the team leadership, helping set the direction but not how things get done. And that gives people the room to figure out the best how now there's respect for people built into that
Felipe Engineer 1:14:01
one of the first teams that I used Scrum with was actually a San Francisco architecture team. And they were like, we can't we tried using whole planning, it didn't work. Because they were I mean, they were in programming. So this is you're talking about just so many decisions need to happen with over 100 stakeholders, and it's like 100 different votes to go in 100 different ways for almost every decision. So we scrubbed it, and they took something that should have taken 60 days and they did it in less than 60 days. I can't remember now how much faster it was. And it happened just in the dialog and I used my story training to talk through what their tasks were. We took a spreadsheet of things that had to happen. And we talked through it as stories and they carbonized it and they made like cards using some digital technology like a smart sheets or something like that. And they've created their Kanban board, and then they iterated through it and people stepped up Todd on their own and took ownership.
Todd Henderson 1:15:04
Isn't that gorgeous? When that happens, it was just kind of burst out of your chest. He was so great. He was unlocking human potential is so beautiful when you see it, man, you just open that hole evident. We
Felipe Engineer 1:15:19
got it. We got to talk more. We haven't talked about mobbing and pair programming, swarming. I mean, there's I got to get your turn down to the there's a whole Scrum patterns book. That's free. Yeah. That's online. If you see if you've been to Scrum plop.org
Todd Henderson 1:15:33
Honestly, I stumbled over this like a week ago and I have it in my tab in my browser and
Felipe Engineer 1:15:38
there are there are nearly McCollum like 300 recipes for these these different things. There's almost 300
Todd Henderson 1:15:45
Yeah, I love about that is it's built it's it's it's modeled after a pattern language by Christopher Alexander, who is this architect that's heavily influenced University of Oregon, where I went to school and he did the campus plan for University of Oregon.
Felipe Engineer 1:16:00
Oh my God, what a small world.
Todd Henderson 1:16:02
I just I love connections between things. Just thrills my goofy architect heart.
Felipe Engineer 1:16:09
That's amazing. I think this whole conversation for me has been great, pure magic. pure magic. I love it. You brought in Christopher Alexander. I've been wanting to talk about Christopher Alexander on this podcast for so long. We talk about his book every Scrum course we talk about this, the thing that cannot be named and how Christopher brings language into that and talking about things like beauty. I just want to thank Todd for coming on the show. I'm gonna give you the last word in just a second. But I want to give a shout out to all the listeners, all the watchers around the world tuning in every single other week because that's when we release on Wednesdays. And absolutely love. There's been an outpouring of feedback on the website, giving reviews for all the shows. Thank you listeners for supporting us and encouraging us. Todd needs to hear what you loved about this show, as do I,
Todd Henderson 1:17:03
Felipe just an honor to be on your podcasts and a blast talking with someone where I mean kicking around ideas like this that just lights my brain up and just thrilled to be here.
Felipe Engineer 1:17:17
You're welcome to a very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer Manriquez. The EBFC show is created by Felipe and produced by a passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe, everybody. Let's go build!