IPD is a fast-growing contract delivery model for schools in Canada. Darlene Cadman is bringing years of IPD experience to the United States. She is an architect working primarily in educational facilities. She has decades of experience in a wide variety...
IPD is a fast-growing contract delivery model for schools in Canada. Darlene Cadman is bringing years of IPD experience to the United States. She is an architect working primarily in educational facilities. She has decades of experience in a wide variety of projects, studies, and facilities with recent experience focused around Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Lean.
The Red Deer Catholic St Joseph High School and St Gregory K-9 IPD project and the City of Red Deer Firehalls #3 and #4 IPD project have provided Darlene with experiences to advocate for IPD in school construction in the United States and Canada.
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I had taken my work home like I always do, but I forgot to take it back to work. You know, one of those situations.
Felipe Engineer 0:05
Yeah. Because you love it so much, right? Absolutely. Yeah. It's like I think one time you call me it was like six o'clock and I was still working. And you, you were definitely still drawing. And I was like, Yeah, I mean people that like their work. This is just the life we have.
That's right. You can call any time because we're probably still working are probably still awake. Exactly. I've had phone conversations with people on teams that like one in the morning because they're still working.
Felipe Engineer 0:34
Okay, so that's not that's not going to be me anytime soon. Okay, not you. Yeah. 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. This episode is sponsored by
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Felipe Engineer 3:39
Now to the show. Welcome to the show. Darlene Cadman Darlene, I am so excited to have you on this show. It's been forever since the first time I met you. I don't remember what you said. But you had me laughing I was in tears on mute. laughing my butt off. And then I I heard that, that north of the border accent and I just knew we've got a creative on our side. And so could you tell people hello and your best Alberta accent?
Well, I don't know if I have it. I just have my own voice. It's not an accent. It's just what I do. So Hello, everyone, Darlene Cadman, I'm an architect. I work with SPS plus here in Scottsdale, Arizona, but I am from Canada. I have not given up that passport anytime soon.
Felipe Engineer 4:28
The beautiful red Canadian passport is a right to keep it Yeah, I think it's right.
But it's very pretty. Yes. Like our money.
Felipe Engineer 4:37
I've been to Canada a few times. It's lovely, lovely country. I've been to East West Central Sault Ste. Marie. Okay, that's not Central. That's not considered East?
To me, it's considered east. In Canada. I think there's a line on the far side, the east side of Manitoba. There was my Northern accent right there. That's The line everything else is east and everything the other ways with so there you go, here you go.
Felipe Engineer 5:05
And I think it's worth noting that I was at a LCI event earlier this year. And there was I heard an accent from a mutual friend of ours. And I said, I don't want to be that. But American that says, hey, you're from Canada. Have you ever been to? What's the name of that town that you were working in last red, red deer, Red Deer? And he's like, are you gonna ask me if I know, Darlene? He did. He said, Are you gonna ask me if it was something like that?
And I got a call from Dion. And Dion says, Hey, can you meet me on this day at 8am? And I've got a client who wants to talk about IPD. Can you join me for that call and talk about the merits of IPD? I'm like, Yeah, absolutely. And he's like, yeah, it'll be at 8am. And I'm like, eight in the morning. Oh, my God.
Felipe Engineer 5:58
You were drawing? Yeah.
Yeah. So I said, sure. But it was a big project, because the date he picked was my birthday. And I didn't say anything. I'm like, Yeah, okay. Sure. So I get on the call. And he's like, Oh, hey, and then there's all these people from Canada. My birthday on a team's call. It was the sweetest thing. I totally enjoyed it. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, powerful. Last time I saw him.
Felipe Engineer 6:21
Deon does not he's not even from Canada. He's a very polite South African. Yes. So we'll give him the There you go. double double bells on international friends, darlings, international friends. For tickets, we'll come up with some nicknames for all your friends at party on teams at 8am. Darlene, you're not always a fan of IPD. And even sent me a video that I love. I love the video. But rather than playing the video, why don't you set up the video and just tell tell people what your attitude was the first time you heard about integrated project delivery, it was something akin to this.
Um, so it I think it was 2015 grade high school project, brand new Greenfield High School, just as just the thing I like to sink my teeth in. And about this time, I'd probably been working 18 years in the industry. So I've got a process. I've got it figured out. I know how I like to do my projects. And I'm like, okay, you know, I'm ready to go, I've got all my tools in place, I got my team, great client, let's go, you know, I'm in my comfort zone, I've got my blanket of comfort, all the good things that I love. And then somebody comes along and says, you know, we don't really have the current market conditions to be able to do this project with the money we're located in Canada, the Alberta government specifically they say you can build a school that must be this many square meters, not square feet. And for this much money, and it cannot be more or less square meters, and it cannot be more or less than that money. So you have very specific parameters. And at that time, the market conditions, the cost of construction was increasing to the point that, you know, there was no way we could deliver the project with the dollars that we had, we felt. So we were talking to the client and Craig had recently, my former boss from group to architecture, Craig whoever shout out Whoo, Greg. He had recently heard about IPD. And I don't even quite remember if he had heard about it from Chandos Construction, or if he had been at a conference somewhere and heard about it, as well as talk to Shan das about it. But he said, Hey, we're going to do this IPD thing. We're all going to work together on the same same contract model, we're all going to work collaboratively, it's going to be a totally new way of doing things. And I was like, No, hell no. I can't start over. I'm an old dog. There's no new tricks. We can't do this now. I just got it figured out. So I was not impressed. I was not excited. And it sounded like this crazy Voodoo witchcraft.
Felipe Engineer 8:55
So needless to say, I think yeah, if I if I had the original video up Darlene said something to the effect of No, we're not gonna do that IPD thing it's more like it was exactly that. Yeah. So it's people you can find that video in Chandos's website we might if somebody makes a comment watching the show. like can we watch that video I will absolutely share the link to that video in the show notes only if we get the comment so we're gonna let the we're looking at well let people decide people decide we'll pull from the audience if they want to hear that is.
So needless to say, gotta say, a shout out to to Shannon house construction because they put this video series together about the process the IPD process and had all of us come on and speak he had you know, tradesmen, the GC, the architect, the owner had us all in there interviewing and our thoughts progressively throughout the process, and it was interesting to see you know, everybody's like, You can see the way we evolved through it. And they did a great job putting it together I thought was really cool.
Felipe Engineer 10:05
It is really cool. And and you did. You did send me a picture of the team, the team collaborate, it's such a high level that they recognized that you didn't have an equal standing view of the plans and what did they make for you?
They did, we had stand up meetings in the job shack on site. And the table was so high that when I was trying to look at the drawings, not only could I not reach the top of the page, I couldn't see the top of the page. So they made a little wooden box for me to stand on in the job shack when we had our stand up meeting so I could see. So I could see everything. It was perfect. I use that thing a lot.
Felipe Engineer 10:49
That's awesome. I'll put a I'll put that picture right here so that people can see it. This, this box will point to it. And just imagine they don't actually have a picture of Darlene on the box.
But no, I mentioned earlier that yeah. I just know that my box was there. And I used to rush into meetings probably late and jump up on my box. So I was literally on my soapbox, maybe.
Felipe Engineer 11:11
Yeah, it does kind of look like a soap box. Absolutely does. I think actually, we got the idea from a box and billed for the microwave. Or the microwave was to lower put it in the microwave. Yeah. And I'm like, hey, yeah, anyway, it all worked out. Yeah, so that was so 2015, you get bit by the IPD bug compliments of Chandos. And I think, you know, we talked before, on a phone call, and you were telling me that we have all the same friends. And Mark, Mark who Allison? Absolutely, I met Mark who and let's give a shout out, shout out to mark who Mark who power powerful marcou also doing research in Canada to help the whole construction industry. He was giving a talk in Phoenix, Arizona blazing hot day. I mean, for him, I could see why he was sweating. And they made us eat outside, which is like, what? Eating outside of Arizona? No. rude. Summer. It was in the summer, it might have been the fall, but it's over 80 degrees that summer to me.
What's funny about that, though, is Felipe, you know, I've mentioned that you're a super fan, or that I'm a super fan of you and how much I love this show. And ever since I discovered it, I've been listening to it, I listened to it on my runs. I listened to it while I'm working. I listened to it when I'm drawing. It's ridiculous. I'm always listening to your show. One of the things that has struck me about a lot of the construction people that you talk to is the discussion of why people should or should not join this industry and the discussion of, Hey, you know, our industry is broken, and how can we fix it? And how can we make it better? Let's train them young. Let's train them young to respect themselves and others. Respect for people, right?
Felipe Engineer 12:58
Number one, number one.
So let's teach them respect for people and a different way of doing things out of the gate. Instead of them absorbing all of our bad habits and all of our bad thoughts. And all of our negative experiences. Let's have them start on a fresh foot.
Felipe Engineer 13:14
They come in like this new way of Darlene. We've had some new hires last year and this year, and I am just blown away at the caliber of the people coming in the mindsets that this next generation of builders are coming in with. I mean, for them, like everything is just possible, and they hear some some of the curmudgeons talk about things that they struggle with. And they're like, what struggle? There's no struggle. Like they don't know they don't have all this baggage that some of us had, like you'd like you said like they probably watch you know, video or hear a show about the industry is broken. They're like, Whoa, what am I getting into? Yeah. I don't want to start this. We have right now. Darlene, five generations of people in the industry, which is one of the highest numbers that's ever been people are staying in longer due to a multitude of reasons. And we've got to honor you know, the young people coming in like, hey, people with a little bit of experience. Darlene with your at the time you have 15 years experience somehow that cajoled you into trying it new? And you did you did evolve. And ladies and gentlemen Darlene said, You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Once you say Darlene Yes, you can. You can absolutely still learn. Yes, you can. That's gonna that's gonna be the call phrase for this show is yes, you can. You can do lean. If you're an architect. Yes, you can. Yes, you can. Even if you love only designing schools, which you love, you can do.
You can do it differently. You can do it differently. There's a different way. I think my curiosity about that and the idea of seeing a different way made me just want to try it anyway so I can not a quitter. I'm not a quitter, not to try not to do it one of the innovators in your profession or as you say, Pro, I just say profession, pro profession profession is a profession. It's a profession.
Felipe Engineer 15:15
Yes. You're bringing agile processes to architecture. And I think that is that's something worth expanding out for a second. You got exposed to Scrum in Congress planning for LCI lean construction Institute, what brought it to like, I want to learn more about this and bring it into my processes? Fear of failure. Tell me more about that. What do you mean by fear of failure?
So what brought me to Scrum and most recently to the, to the master class, right? So, I would say that the IPD project that we did for St. Joseph, and an St. Gregory introduced me to concepts of lean planning, last planner system, all of poor planning all of that. So I got introduced to pull planning and the whole idea of poor planning. And as we work through the project, we got more and more into it. And I'm sure it was Mark who who said, Hey, you got to read this Scrum book, Ray Sutherland. Got some interesting stuff in it, which I listen to your podcast with Jeff Sutherland as well. Jeff Sutherland.
Felipe Engineer 16:24
Yeah, George and Jeff, father and son the dynamic duo.
Yeah, so I've listened to both of those. So I did read the book years ago, and I was like, Okay, um, I was a little overwhelmed about the idea of, you know, it's the product owner, you know, creating the backlog and always feeding the machine, and what are the things that need to be done? And I know, it was a little overwhelming to me at the time, and I kind of just filed it away as something like learning for later.
Felipe Engineer 16:52
people listening to the show, when you heard Darlene take that breath. I mean, she moved in her chair like 12 inches. So that was like a super big pause. Like, there is a ton of information in Jeff's book. Absolutely. He gives the whole backstory. Yeah, it's the book is called the art of doing twice the work and half the time.
Yes. And Markku for telling me to read the book. And Mark, because I read the book. And I went, oh, wow, that is a lot of information. And I know I can probably apply it, but I'm not really sure how, and you know, I'm just busy doing my work. There's a cartoon. It's a far side cartoon. I think I love it. I love it, too. I think it's a far side cartoon. And there's these people running by or trying to run by with a wheelbarrow and it has square wheels on it.
Felipe Engineer 17:38
I know that one.
Well, yes. And they're like, hey, do you want to hang in there holding up a round wheel? And they're like, No, no, we're too busy. We got to get this going. And it's like, that was me that and that's still me. Some days, I'm still wandering around on my square wheels trying to push the project ahead.
Felipe Engineer 17:55
The bad part is totally that even though your cart has square wheels, it will still move forward just with a ton of effort.
Right? Yeah, a ton of effort. So I was like, Okay, this Scrum stuff's interesting. I don't have time to learn that now. Clearly, I'll do it later. Later. Seems good. And then somewhere along the way, I moved down here to the States. And I've been here for two years and a little bit now. And my whole world fell apart. Because I no longer had the safety and security blanket of knowledge and processes to hold me afloat. And Damn, you guys do everything differently. It's like, it's like, we're not even the same country. Wait a minute.
Felipe Engineer 18:42
We're not in the same country. Not even the same country. How is this possible? You're not the 51st state? Oh, we're not? How many provinces are in Canada? 10. We're not the 11th province. No, but you're missing all the territories? Oh, yeah. All the territories.
So when I grew up there were like 10 provinces and two territories, but then they added some not even sure what they call them now. It's like new math, new geography, new geography still. But growing up in Canada, I always felt like the states was an extension of us or we were an extension of them like that. We were connected and similar. You know, we're all democratic societies all part of North America. It's a little warmer in the south than it is in the north. They think we want wander around on dog sleds and live in igloos. You guys spend all your time on the beach wearing flip flops. I mean, clearly, we're the same. Clear so I came here to Phoenix and started working on projects and first of all, there's no IPD in schools here. Nope. Where's that records? crap?
Felipe Engineer 19:49
Yeah. What? No. IPD in schools in Arizona. Yeah.
So when I stopped crying I discovered that they use a process down here called Construction Management at risk. So CMR.
Felipe Engineer 20:10
Is how they that's how the American says CMR.
CMR, I know, what are you saying? I came down here, all the schools are being done with this CR, c, m a r process are at risk. And my goodness, you guys go through a lot of hoops just to get a permit or to get things approved through fire. And it's just so different. And even the way that the interaction between the client and the architect, there's just everything was different. Long story short, I came down here and it was a big record scratch and I was like, I came in like a new student or a new hire. And I'm all bright eyed and bushy tailed. Yeah, ready, preach lean and IPD. And there's not anything happening. And nobody wants to listen, no audience to listen to you talk about the benefits of of IPD, which is I mean, for people doing cm at risk, the IPD contract, it sounds scarier than it is.
Felipe Engineer 21:08
But in reality, it's a cost plus contract, or only your profits at risk, you're not going to lose money, which is CMR, you can absolutely lose money, you can lose money and CMR all day long, and not recover. But I'm gonna tell you don't tell people, okay, I'll think about that out.
I get down here, everything's totally different. And I'm all bright eyed and bushy tailed. And I think that, you know, everybody's gonna want to let me preach the gospel. But I got lost in the learning and lost in the fear of doing it wrong. screwing it up, which I made lots of interesting discoveries, and definitely did things wrong, which are forever, I think I have scars from the things. So I've learned lots in the past few years. And so now I feel like okay, I'm starting to feel a little more secure and understanding the process, I've developed a bit of knowledge and how things work here. And so now that I'm on the inside of understanding this, now, what can I do, but I came in guns blazing, thinking that everything was gonna, you know, happen, everybody's all gonna want to adopt lean and do the things and, well, you can't really do that if you don't know what it is they're doing. So you have to understand what is occurring, what is the process what is happening, so that you can improve from there. So in the past few months, I've been feeling like I'm coming up for air, and I can look around and say, oh, okay, I'm actually in it. Now I see what's going on. Now I can look for ways to improve. But you're in survival mode, I was in survival mode, I think for fully two years, at least, you know, just trying to stay afloat. And I did, I did not have the room to even look at it to even consider Scrum to even consider. I mean, I kept trying, and I think I apply a certain amount of it to everything that I do anyways. But to really start capitalizing on this opportunity really has just come recently. So that's why I am now looking at it and trying to incorporate it into everything that I do as much as possible, because I'm a bit like you fleabay or I think you're like me, or maybe we're just the same. And it's hard to stay on task. It's hard to stay focused, especially when you're busy. Right.
Felipe Engineer 23:31
Right. Crazy. Sounds crazy. Here we are. I think that makes more sense. Now having you in the in the scrum training course. You You knew a lot more than you let on to sneaky, you are sneaky. I'm scared to write the test because I don't think I know enough. You definitely know enough. And in the class for people. I mean, people that don't know this class was incredible. They were pulling ahead. We had burndown charts that were just like burned down to a crisp because this this group was like pulling out so much. And I remember listening to some of the the breakout stuff and we're Darlene is she was darling, your natural Scrum Master just natural and if you'd like team captain or Scrum Master, whatever you prefer, what do you prefer? I don't care. I don't even care. So master Darlene Scrum Master Cadman. decat. Master decad Scrum Master extraordinare. There's got to be a sound for that. There should be a sound effect for it. That's the one. That's it. Yeah, that's for sure. You were you had in the training, you have to act and take different roles on and right away. You were volunteering for things so I knew you were you were on the edge of your chair. It was it was cool to see you engaged people. When you meet Darlene. If you know what Scrum is. You'll see what I see natural Scrum Master.
I think maybe I'm bossy. And I want things to come out a certain way. And so I'll, I'll guide I'll nudge I'll bark, whatever it takes. Somebody said to me the other day, because I had, we had a deadline that we had to meet. And it was one of those ones you couldn't plan for. It was like something that just came up and smacked us in the face. Sound Effect, please.
Felipe Engineer 25:26
God, face smack.
Exactly, was one of those ones he couldn't plan for. So we had a, and we have a whole bunch of newer interns here in the office, which are just fabulous. And so they were helping out. So there's a whole bunch of people sort of working on this, working up to the deadline. And somebody said, What are you like a border collie running around barking at the dogs barking at the sheep like, I'm like, I kind of animate, which is not a good way to do it. That is the opposite of Scrum that was a very poorly ledboard.
Felipe Engineer 26:02
A Border Collie is actually a phrase, servant leader in other spaces, like in the Myers Briggs space where they talk about combinations of skill sets or dispositions. And there people have created memes. There's a whole meme universe out there online about people acting as Border Collie. So Oh, it's kind of fascinating. I've been myself also called the border collie. So just have that in common. And the first time I heard it, too, I was this is my effect. I wasn't sure that was a good thing. Yeah. It's like it's not it doesn't come off as a good thing where you're like, what if Darlene is the border collie, does that make everybody else cattle or sheep? I mean, cuz that's not good. That doesn't sound good either.
And it's not gonna work on a respect for people, which we are if we have respect for people, they're not people that are people.
Felipe Engineer 26:56
I one of the talents you have Darlene is you have this knack to just know what to do next. And I think that's a gift that a lot of people don't have, especially in design where people are need to iterate and be hyper creative. You're balancing that. You're bringing that to your profession where you know how to take action right away. And every time we've been in meetings, and even in the LCI meetings and you're, you're out talking about what to do like I never worry about your report out. Like never once. I always know that. I'm never thinking about it. So that's good. Yeah. When you're reporting on happens, I'm already thinking like, yeah, that's, that's how it's done, ladies and gentlemen. Darlene has it done right? And your cards or your Trello skills weren't perfect when we started, but now they're decent?
Well, I had the multi piece flow, not the one piece flow, doing everything at once she had her first time that we flipped into the filter view.
Felipe Engineer 27:47
And we saw what the volunteer group was doing. I was like, Well, according to this Trello, this volunteer group has like seven people simultaneously working on seven different things. I was like, I had to ask you at a coach at a nudge you and my Border Collie way back to like, what are you actually working on? Now? Let's move some things back over to to do. Oh, you mean, I'm not doing all these things. But I've been I've been part of Congress planning teams since 2017, or 16. And this is the first time that we're sitting in the summer. And the volunteer question is already handled, like you got it fully dialed in. I don't think I didn't notice that you tried logging into the session. 30 minutes early, like noted. She is ready. It's go time.
Yeah, because I'm in one of our conference rooms at the office that we recently made for things like zoom meetings and whatnot. And this is the only plant that doesn't actually need sunlight. I have no idea how it stays alive.
Felipe Engineer 28:45
Yeah, for some architect, it's an architect. It doesn't see the light. I just had a realization this plant is basically an architect. Wow. So you just have to like water it and ignore it, and it'll just make stuff.
Yeah, it just makes stuff. Oxygen, apparently, where we make a lot more waste. But that's another story.
Felipe Engineer 29:15
Oh, my God. I mean, you made you made the awesome jokes that just get the audience to get so engaged. I mean, a lot of the people that listen to the show are not architects. So when they hear stuff like that, Darlene they're inevitably gonna laugh out loud a little bit. Right? So but we'd love the architects, architects. Oh, no, that's totally true. Respect for people. We need the designers to make the magic that I mean, taking what a client says, and making it real. That's a talent. That's a real gift that a lot of builders don't have. So we definitely need you forever.
Yeah, I think that we do. And just remember we get it wrong a lot too. People only see the end. They see you know the success. They see the success of construction, they see the success of the design. But we fail a lot. There's a lot of places along the way where we have to backtrack, where we have to find where we might not have heard something right, or missed out on some coordination piece or whatever it might be. But there is a lot of failure on the road to success. Right?
Felipe Engineer 30:19
Absolutely. It's the whole way there is fail that people don't see the the mountains of eraser, you know, material on the ground next to design desk. And I mean, that's just the best part of the process to use your well done process. I've got it dialed in. Now. I think I always say process. Now you have to it's the best way to say it the correct way.
Right. Actually, you know what? I went on Google one day, and you know how you can google a word and then you can click it and then the Siri says it or whatever? Yeah, she says process.
Felipe Engineer 30:55
Yeah. What's the super American? So Siri is Apple and people that are Google are just cringing that you just called Google Siri. I know, I'm mixing my things. But you get the idea. I totally get what you're what you're laying down there.
That's right. That was I talk with my hands. How do you keep an architect quiet? You make them sit on their hands?
Felipe Engineer 31:17
I didn't hear that joke before. That's a good one.
It is a good one. I'm literally I have my hands stuffed under my leg right now.
Felipe Engineer 31:24
So that they're not like, just what I'm playing around. Let them let those hands free Darlene
Always knocked over a drink or somebody water glass or soup or whatever it is. I have done that all my life.
Felipe Engineer 31:36
Why did you fall in love with education so much? In this particular educational space design? What's your school specialty that you'd like to go after?
Okay, that's a good question. So I think I got into when I was in school, growing up, be a real architect. People would ask me like, what are you going to specialize in when you're done and I'm like, we specialize in things. That happened. I didn't know anything about the industry. I went into this completely blind, which is perfect. As far as I can tell, it's a perfect way to go. And I literally fell into schools because the company that I ultimately got hired for, which was also a complete accident, with nothing but schools. Funny story, I'm at the school. I'm at the university. I just had a baby. I did my thesis, the first week of February, and I had my baby the first week of March, she's the love of my life. She's just a she's my, she's my everything. And I was back at the school, putting my portfolio together to go out and find some work. And there was this guy at the school in the studio, and he's wearing a suit. And I look over at him. I'm like, Who are you? What are you doing here? You're wearing a suit? Are you looking for someone? I clearly thought the man was lost, lost clear. Clearly, you're wearing a suit in the architecture faculty, Have you lost your mind? So I was very rude to him. And he goes, Well, actually, my name is Craig Weber. And I'm here looking for people to work for my firm in red here. And I'm like, read your has an architecture.
Felipe Engineer 33:29
Hold on. That's a ton of like, what is it? 500 people in that town?
Yo, it's 100,000 now, but I think at the time, it was like 70 It's huge. Now. I was very rude to him. And, and he's like, yeah, I'm looking to hire people. And I'm looking for interns for the summer. And I'm like interns. How about full time staff? He's like, yeah, I'm like, you want to interview me? So I insulted him eight ways to Sunday and asked for an interview. And he said yes. Which I thought was interesting. So we hit it off. He thought I was completely sassy. But apparently he likes abuse because he hired me. And I worked for group two for 20 years. And then I moved to the states. So it was a good find, despite our auspicious beginnings, so it's cool. It is cool. So I started on schools. And I discovered along the way, so this was 1999, which is like forever and forever. And a day ago, we got to the point where people started talking about 21st century learning and how can we reallocate space? I've mentioned that in Alberta, the government allocates a certain amount of money for a certain amount of space. And that space the program is given to you. It is all divided out into this many classrooms. This much space for administration. So there's not really a programming exercise that we typicallygo through.
Felipe Engineer 34:51
It's all designed by the government.
Kind of, but we were creative. And by we I mean the firm had a way of looking at things Craig and I'm Dave Cheatham and Graham like Peter, the people who are really into the schools at that firm had a different way of looking at things. They're like, here's a pool of space. This much of it is instructional this much of it is non instructional, instructional, what if we pull it all together and look at it a different way? What if we look at 21st century century learning spaces, and how we can create instructional spaces that are flexible, and all the things that are learner focused, the third teacher, all of those sorts of things coming into play in the way we design schools, and I just, I fell in love with the creativity and the wonder of it, and the possibility of it as one of those kids in school that didn't have a problem with the standard deliver teaching sort of methodology. But for some students, that just doesn't work. And so I could see the merit of learner focused education versus teacher focused or standing deliver. And it just became really fascinating to me to see how the whole thing could play out in and the architecture, the physical environment support this educational pedagogy. It was amazing. So I just fell in love with it. And I haven't turned back since. So it's, I continue to try to push and seek better solutions from all all of the clients in all school boards in all schools that I work on. And sometimes you have the ability to find more flexibility and more interest in a different learner for focused pedagogy than other school divisions. Some are more traditional, some are not. So it's just kind of the wonder of the whole, where are we going to land? And what is this going to look like? And how much farther can we push the the system along the continuum? It's really exciting for me.
Felipe Engineer 36:42
I mean, every time you talk, you always you bring up your schoolwork, which is, I mean, that says that you'd like what you do. And I think that's really important. People should be out there, take a take a page out of Arlene's book and follow your passion and be engaged with what you love to do.
It's funny, my, my husband, my husband and I have been married for we never remember, I think 14 years. But we've been together. We've been together since my daughter was two or three. And so he's adopted her and it's funny in so many ways. She is more like him than she is me. She's very business oriented. She just has a different way of looking at things. But she is also very creative some way she's like me, but she will not be an architect.
Felipe Engineer 37:26
Yeah, that's lovely.
My daughter who grew up on the prairies in Alberta is a surfer. very unexpected. I think she would like Scrum. She's very organized when her and I are stressed out. This is one thing we're very similar about. We're both really stressed out, we take a junk drawer or a junk room or for me it was the whole office. And we organize it. And then we feel better.
Felipe Engineer 37:50
I got that's another thing Darlene You and I have in common.
So I've listened to your podcast, quite a few of them. But I have not heard how you became the lean person that you are and also the scrum master. I've heard lots of little bits like you've experienced what it feels like to not be respected. You've experienced construction, literally from the ground up.
Felipe Engineer 38:15
Yeah, this is the part of the show where you get to ask me questions. So my parents said to me in high school, they said, Hey, when you graduate from high school, you could come work with us in the factory. And I was like, not because it's a factory, but because I just couldn't go work for them. Because I'd worked for my dad as a kid. And my dad said to the people you're working with, he's like, no one is going to accuse me of having favoritism on my son. So I had to work like 10 my dad worked me 10 times harder than anybody else. Yes, he did. And then so I was like, man, I just, that's just not for me. Like I need to find my own way. And a friend of mine, just by chance, Darlene, a friend of mine, his name was Jason, a fellow electrical engineer says hey, you're kinda not like all the other engineers. You kind of run your mouth. Pisces, for starters, for starters. Yeah, exactly. And he specifically said, you run your mouth a lot you'd like to talk. It's like, why don't you tour the site with me and see what you think if you want to consider construction, and I was like construction hires engineers. Okay. I think about that, like I was studying like cell phone technology. All kinds of other systems produce a lot of computer programming. And so I toured the site. And I said, Man, this is incredible. But I said, How long is this building gonna last that you're building? And he's like, this is designed for 50 years. And I was like, What? 50 years? That's amazing. Like, we were looking at cell phones. They're getting replaced at that time every two years. And now people write play cell phones like every six months and so I changed majors and started interning one of my first internships where I got to actually do construction work. For a wastewater treatment plant, oh, good times, but I was like, Man, this construction is fascinating. And the stuff there, everything was just gigantic scale, like 60 foot diameter piping, you know, underground structures that are, you know, more than 100 feet below ground. But we got to go on some super deep tunnels, a lot of cool stuff. And I just said, this is this is it. This is this is for me, like I'm, I'm hooked. So I get out of school, and I start working for a general contractor somewhere like, so check this out. I'm an electrical engineer trained in engineering, and they're like, you're going to sit down at this desk, and you're just going to do data entry for 10 hours a day. What type of waste is that? That's not utilized talent? Yeah, yes. And that's a little bit of that is the hazing and just getting you in like it's worth it needed to be done at the wastewater treatment plant. Did you see a muffin Master? I did not. Do you know what it is? I don't know what it is? Well, I'll let you look it up after a muffin master.
And it's amazing the things that get into the system. When you get into stormwater and stuff. If there's a mix of that, like the trees.
Felipe Engineer 41:07
I had a, I had a wastewater treatment experience.
Well, there's an IPD happening. Dion Wilner, is working on it in Lloydminster, which is a city that is on in two provinces, it's half in Alberta and half in Saskatchewan, and they have an 80 or $100 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade that they needed to do. And it's IPD. And I was there at the beginning. With Dion, talking to the client about why IPD is a good idea. Even though this was infrastructure, and not a vertical project, that IPD is going to help you it is going to create all sorts of efficiencies in the design and how you develop the project. And ultimately, the construction, the timeline, the schedule, all of it. So I was there at the beginning. And it's a very, very, very small wastewater treatment plant very small. They had one muffin, Master.
Felipe Engineer 42:01
One muffin master this one.
But um, yeah, it's it's interesting, but that's the first in Canada, I believe that one was the first IPD project that was horizontal infrastructure.
Felipe Engineer 42:16
Or, you know, another first, another Canadian first Canada leads the way but after you did the schools, and you just close out, well, that all of that stuff got me onto this path of continuous learning. And because I had had all this training in electrical engineering, and I wasn't using it per se. I was using a lot of the concepts and some of the theory, but we're now doing something totally different. We're at the end of taking designs and bringing them to life. And eventually, Amazon said, hey, you've been reading all these books on lean, check out this red book. And Amazon suggested Scrum to me and it just hit me at the exact right time. And I became a scrum master, like the following Monday practicing myself because my team wanted nothing to do with it. Okay, Philippe has lost his mind. Everybody stay clear. Yeah, I even I got so crazy Darlene, that I've never said this on the podcast. I came into work on Sunday. And I set up, I bought a whiteboard my own money, and set it up in my office and created my Scrum board. And so that on Monday morning, I was going to hit the ground running with it and try it. I was gonna try it. I was going to experiment. See what happens for a week. And I found out in that first week, Darlene, I was losing like something north of 70% of my time, sitting in meetings where I didn't really even talk that much. Yep. And then so I started making little tweaks and changes. And I kept I kept at it on that job. That was a hard bid job. That was a traditional design bid, hard bid, lowest bidder wins, and then construct. And oh, he was amazing. Those are some of my favorite projects, like people people like to harp against. I was just talking about this with a superintendent of mine. Here in Vegas. I'm not in Vegas now. But we were in Vegas. And he was telling me like how much he misses the hard bids. And I was like, Yeah, man, you could do a lot of innovative creative stuff on our day.
Oh, my goodness. I quote the red book when Sutherland mentions that the Gantt charts were invented for World War One something or other and that they're still being used today. The moment you make a Gantt chart, it's wrong inevitably. But Yep. Yeah, I use that with people. I'm like, Oh, look at this again, chart. awesome thing
Felipe Engineer 44:38
I tell people to like when Henry Gantt invented the Gantt chart for the military, the military was investing six months to sometimes two years on training the supply chain. So when they when they created those those lines on the piece of paper and they're like this thing's gonna take this long. They kind of had a little more certainty because the representations were based on actual rates of production with a highly trained military, highly trained, and then when, when construction went to adopt that, we never had a highly trained construction force to the same manner, we have a ton of variation. And the every Gantt chart ever made doesn't account for that variation. That's why every schedule just slides to the right. And things come in later. I mean, even now, in 2021, the vast majority of projects are late worldwide. It's not a specific to North America. It's worldwide.
Yeah, because a conference success rate on construction projects these days for successful handoffs and, and meeting schedules, like 52%, or48 to 52%.
Felipe Engineer 45:44
As a coin flip the likelihood of a scheduled activity being completed as forecasted, as a 48 to 52% chance of actually meeting what it said it's going to do, as some of the people looking at this darling. They're like, Oh, it's you know, it's 2021. You're telling me that two years from now on Friday the 13th, you're going to be hanging casework on the second floor. I doubt it. And there's a video on my YouTube channel, darling, you should watch. It talks about breaking an agile myth. You actually plan more when you're adopting an agile mindset, not less. Yeah, I get turned on to Scrum. I study I go and get certified as a scrum master with Jeff Sutherland, and just says to me, he's like, you're the first construction person ever, that I know of to come into this? And I said, he did. And I said, Jeff, you're a pioneer. I said, I won't be the last.
So if you were the first person in construction that Sutherland saw, did you create the lean movement in construction? No,
Felipe Engineer 46:45
no, no. The lean movement construction was started in construction. I one of the early ones. I don't, as far as I can tell. And might I might actually be the first one. Like so in 20 2020, scrumming contacted me and they said, hey, we've noticed that we're talking to some people in Europe, and they're mentioning you, like you're in America. Like and you work, an American construction company. And we start the more people we talk to about this, the more your name comes up. I was like,
their contact tracing, and it all comes back to you. Exactly. It's like a child pandemic.
Felipe Engineer 47:26
It's like I tell people like it's it spreads around. And I do I do my best to spread it around. And this just continues to grow. Like I was speaking in Paris this week, virtually Darlene ahead. There wasn't a leap we nice, you know, more fresh than I know Spanish. So that's good. That's about it. So the the people, the organizers in France, they have a an agile company, it's bricks, and they have this like agile BIM Meetup group. And they were saying, like, even they contacted me, because they said, Every time we were looking into see where's this happening outside of us are bringing it to architecture and like you're a prolific writer about this, and you've got all this content, like, clearly, you've got some experience with it sounds like I do, how's it good, helped me a ton. And I want to be able to help other people as well, that one help, and they want to have some more freedom themselves. And Jeff has been amazing and gracious to mentor me to make sure that I've got what I need so that I can keep innovating and going that direction,
you have many more gifts than that as well, Philippe I do so not only are you influencing others, and spreading the word about agile, but you do it in a way that also makes it fun. That's because we have so much in our lives is stressful and hard and difficult and requires so many so much energy. But having fun, should not require any energy. And having fun is something that fuels us. And Philippe when I speak with you, I have fun when we're talking about anything, doesn't matter what it is, or when we're in a when I was in your Scrum course, we had fun, you have sound effects, you have confetti, which I love the confetti, I made, I made sure that my Trello board is confetti enabled as well. And one fun really fuels everything, I think as well. Because, you know, you can go to a we've all been in that lecture where the teacher or the person drones on and on, and it's not fun and you retain almost zero. But if you have a little energy in it, you're going to retain a lot more and you're going to learn. So you have more. You have so many gifts, Philippe and I'm so excited that I have met you in the course of this amazing experiment that we call life. And it's just so great. I'm just so happy to have met you, Philippe You're amazing.
Felipe Engineer 49:49
Yeah, we're gonna work together forever. Darlene I told you, when we were talking before is like this Congress thing for LCI ain't gonna be the last time we work together. Yeah, definitely not. There's gonna be a More of the Felipe and Darlene show exactly 100% 48 to 52%.
Yeah, my last firm because of the project we we were doing up there, which was the schools and then immediately after that, we did two fire halls, fire stations for the city of red deer. And so that immediately followed it and that one was also IPD. So we were part of a study with the University of Minnesota. Oh, that's not a Canadian, right, Minnesota.
Felipe Engineer 50:27
I mean, it is a Canadian name.
So, um, we were, there was, we were involved somehow in that study, and then also the IPD guide book, which is fabulous. Craig from my office, my former boss was also part of that, as was Mark who Allison and I believe Tim Caldwell from chanteuse construction. So we're all part of that.
Felipe Engineer 50:53
Shout out to Sandoz Shen DOS, I always say it ROM das, this is like going to turn into a chandeliers commercial, or like we just the in Canada, they're very impactful.
And they have really helped to spread it. And they've also done great work with it. There's other contractors out there doing it, I think, PCL, del nor Clark, there's lots of construction, other construction companies up they're doing it, they just kind of, I feel like Chandos just really has helped clients to get over the fear of trying it, because there's so much success that they can turn to, and they've been so successful with whomever that they work with.
Felipe Engineer 51:38
And I like how you you said even like yourself, and Dion, that hasn't experienced any work at the same firm, you're going to talk to a client about why IPD would make sense for them. That is just, that's a beautiful thing right there. That's a gift clients. So everyone listening to this podcast, if you're thinking about IPD, contact Darlene, her contact information will be included in the show notes down below. Yes, you can get a hold of her, you can hear from a designer's perspective why it is so much better than the than the old way. Darling, I'm with you. When I hear Value Engineering, I cringe because I know what that means. It means that work that I mean, people spent days weeks months on is getting thrown away unnecessarily. If you just want to add some critical information in the beginning, all of that waste, wasted human effort and talent gone.
So upset. And I think I think that the way the system is set up here, in many places, I'm not going to say here, the way the system is set up allows for that to happen by allowing for increased scope and increased cost based on somebody's new definition of what it should be. If you don't give them the more precise scope and more precise cost information early on. And you give the team whoever it is not free rein but the ability to make certain decisions for you along the way. And then accept some of them like yes, you know, we will add a million dollars to the project. Because we didn't realize how much we really needed XYZ, whatever it is, right? So if you're accepting of that, you perpetuate the belief that Value Engineering helps out in some way. And and is a benefit. And I don't know how to change that myth, except to experience it. Because like you said, not everybody learns by just having a lecture or experiencing learning in that way. Most of us learn by doing. And I learned best by doing for sure. Because usually I screw up really big. And then I learned a really big lesson about something. So you know, and I feel like somehow along the way, Value Engineering has not been defined as a failure. If you have to value engineer, I feel like everybody has failed, because nobody's winning when you value engineer. So if you're not designing to certain targets, with or constructing to certain targets, and you don't have that precise information, how can you be successful, but you know, take a simple, simple, simple metaphor, like making dinner, I call it supper, because I'm from Canada. That's what we call your task is to make dinner, but also you make dinner you serve dinner. Turns out, you didn't want seafood, you wanted something else. So you send everybody back to make dinner again, but you don't necessarily define what you want for dinner. You just want dinner. So you make dinner again, it comes out and turns out No, he didn't want chicken either. So you go back and make dinner again. It's like why why would we do this? Why wouldn't we just say I'd like a hamburger please be direct. Let's join these things. But you know, it's It's a failure on all of our parts if we go in that direction, because for myself, did I not ask the right questions to define the scope well enough, did we not? Were we wishy washy somewhere along the way? How do you have everybody be accountable to those definitions of success, and the only way I can see that happening is in a contract like IPD, where everybody's on the same page. And you're not, there's no subterfuge, there's no, you know, games at play. There's just everybody working together to have a successful product at the end. And I mean, it sounds like utopia, and we're skipping through the, you know, wild flowers and stuff that it's it's a real thing. I've experienced it. And it's like, once you've experienced it, you don't want to go back. No, it's so clear. The definition of success is so clear and attainable. Who doesn't want that? So the only thing that meets my passion for IPD is building schools. So we still have that play pay can still build schools.
Felipe Engineer 56:01
Yes. And you can still build relationships with people and meet wonderful people and have these great experiences and navien IPD projects is just not as great.
Felipe Engineer 56:14
You can you can bring target via delivery, with I mean, a lot of parts of it to traditional contract, even a CMR.
And I'm doing that's what I'm doing. I'm working with some contractors that I've actually done a few projects with, and we're doing TVD we're doing it, we've established our outcomes, we have determined what each of the buckets are, and we're working towards them. And we're trying to be mindful them along the way. So we're doing it.
Felipe Engineer 56:41
I think you're just creating a little slice of heaven in Arizona.
Maybe, but I'm sure there's people on the other side that are no different than me when somebody said we're gonna do IPD and I'm like, What do I have to learn now?
Felipe Engineer 57:00
I guarantee you, it's learning so hard. Thank you so much, Darlene, for coming on the show. You've been an absolute pleasure to have on the VFC show. All the listeners out there, please give Darlene your support. Drop a review on the site. And let us know what you think. or feedback from the public just what we want. That's exactly what we want. That's how we're gonna iterate and continuously improve. So tell us like, what parts of her accent Did you find the most fascinating?
Right. I'm pretty confusing on my accent though, because I like to assimilate and so I just start you know, speaking American here and there. I like all y'all. That's my all y'all pluraleyes y'all. I can't even believe that. That's a thing. It's amazing. I really use that.
Felipe Engineer 57:47
It's a time saver. Right. All y'all time savory.
I don't even notice it. Felipe. It seems totally natural. Your name is actually Felipe, we. Thank you so much for having me on the show. Felipe. It's been amazing. And I enjoy your show. I learned so much from it. And I love the broad spectrum of people you have on here. Even crazy Canadians. You need more? I have many suggestions.
Felipe Engineer 58:12
Absolutely. Let's make it happen. 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!