Stephen Powell, Vice President of Program Management, specializes in include Healthcare Construction, Children's Hospital Construction Consulting, LEED BD+C, IP. Stephen shares the importance of understanding Lean Construction from the Owner’s perspectiv...
Stephen Powell, Vice President of Program Management, specializes in include Healthcare Construction, Children's Hospital Construction Consulting, LEED BD+C, IP. Stephen shares the importance of understanding Lean Construction from the Owner’s perspective and all project partners involved. We shared how Scrum continues making a difference for teams working on complex projects and how the Last Planner System, Takt, and A3 Problem-Solving can be used by anyone during any phase to deliver projects more efficiently for all involved.
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Stephen Powell 0:00
What we're going to be talking about so healthcare program management hospitals in the southeast
Felipe Engineer 0:04
On the Lean Construction Institute Virtual Summit, a professional from the southeast, and they said they were surprised at how Lean is not more pervasive in the southeast it does that surprise you that somebody from the southeast would say that?
Stephen Powell 0:18
No, I mean, just a little bit of history, I got introduced heavily into lean in Akron, Ohio. And I thought that that was an interesting place to get my immersion into lean, without Akron Children's, but, but to their credit, you know, you don't have as many people that feel comfortable with the lean tools, or the lean processes beyond maybe some of the construction teams. And so you don't have as many owners specifically, maybe looking at that as a course of entry into decision making and projects. And so you know, you just don't have as much of an educational function maybe that's immersive as you get into places like California or just into maybe bigger markets have other other offices that are able to play off of things that they're learning holistically from company culture, and then get clients to start to get more comfortable with taking some of that lean world into their operations too. So you know that that's the other thing I think that's probably what you'd better the official was there's lean operations that have been playing out inside a hospital facilities and certain clients like Akron Children's said, hey, let's let's take it all the way to the construction project. But you know, it's there's a small gap between the clinical lean operations and then what you know, your teams are doing out in the field now, working through like lean processes in construction, and just trying to gap gap it towards the program manager group gap it towards the leadership of a hospital and kind of get everybody on board. It just seems to be maybe harder to swing and hit on that consistently in the southeast.
Felipe Engineer 2:02
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...
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Felipe Engineer 3:28
Today's episode is sponsored by Construction Accelerator.
The design and construction industries come up with and build great things. But we also build and 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 to 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 pull planning, we have videos on the process, how to set up a room and how to kick off a 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 5S 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 trycanow.com. Let's build an industry, not just a project.
Felipe Engineer 4:44
Today's show is also sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute. LCI is working to leave 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, Steven Powell. Steven, you and I have been on our Lean journey for almost the same amount of time. It's hard to tell who got started first, I could take, I could take my roots back, we could pull out our, our lean wallets and see like, you know, who's got the edge, but I think it's pretty much safe to say it's a tie.
Stephen Powell 5:22
I think you're right.
Felipe Engineer 5:24
Yeah, the one big difference is, I'm on the, I've been on the general contractor side for the vast majority of my career, and you've been on the project manager, owner side developer, super duper focused in healthcare, your entire career, is that right?
Stephen Powell 5:38
Well, that's true. Yeah. So that's, that's the big difference in our lean journeys. I've, I've done it from the owners side and working with with folks like yourself on the construction or the architecture side. But yeah, superduper, healthcare program management guy.
Felipe Engineer 5:51
And I think we were talking to at the beginning about I even heard from a nurse turned architect designer, they've been on the lean journey for over a decade. And she was surprised when she got into the construction side that nobody knew any of these same things that they've been using in nursing for over 10 years. And he was shocked.
Stephen Powell 6:11
Yeah, well, the hard part is think about certain things, you know, the Kanban systems are just the way that I know in the world of Scrum and takt planning and things like that, that, operationally they're doing a lot of the things inside the hospital, but, you know, unless you get a contractor that's confident in it, it doesn't always come down to the fact that we start pushing it. And even from a design perspective, you know, getting designers that are comfortable with it. And I think it's actually fair to say it's getting better everywhere. It's an educational factor, you have to have really done a project that use lean tools, and you validated that they were valuable to an outcome. And there's more people, you know, I was 10 years younger, when I did Akron and so I got to see something happen and saw it work well, and saw the value of it that I now carried that mentality, 10 years into my career. And there's more people along the way in those 10 years that have gotten similar experiences. And we did a pull plan in Pensacola this past week. And afterwards, I was talking to a couple guys like how did you schedule before this? Like, how do you not how do you not take into consideration when the hospital needs to open or when the you know, behavioral health facilities open, and really looked at it with the end in mind and really understanding key milestones and working out in the backwards behavior. Things that become you know, roadblocks that you can overcome, because you're starting to talk about I'm in a pattern, this could be something in six months from now that if we don't start to think about how we would swim line across in this, we would get to a point where me as a designer can't give you something as a contractor and we we've hit an impasse that slows up, you know, a process or a construction
Felipe Engineer 7:57
that is true, and what and the answer for that as well. We just guess I mean, even if they don't tell you out loud, Steven, I know the answer. The answer is we just guess we put it in a P6 schedule, critical path method schedule, I don't just want to call out Oracle, left and right all day long. There's also Microsoft Project. And there's like, there's also
Stephen Powell 8:14
Well, there's some other Smartsheet. Now, yeah, we use Smartsheet for a lot of things now, but it's like, at the end of the day, it's like you know, you can go and put your logic or logic can do a lot of things. But when it comes to literally having the conversation with the right people in the room and trying to figure out, you know, the key milestones and then paring it down into a tactical tactical plan. You can't do that as easily without sometimes the sticky notes you can use definitely the virtual sides. But it's pretty crazy how much more efficient it does get if you are able to get the right people in the room and really put it up on a board and grease it out.
Felipe Engineer 8:52
is amazing. You know how this happens in different areas and where we get our entries in. And you had a shocking entry in and I had a very weird entry into lean. I think it just goes to show that there's no like right way to get in. Just get in people.
Stephen Powell 9:09
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, you know, I laugh because when we were talking, you know, Akron, Ohio was not the place that I thought my Lean journey would begin but lo and behold, you have a hospital and a owner that believes operations from inside their hospital need to go out into the construction world and they look into owners rep to say we want you to help implement that. So getting a chance to live in the great state of Ohio great state and work with some great teams there. I got immersed in a lean IPD project. And since then, I've been kind of hooked on this is the way we should look to do business whenever we can.
Felipe Engineer 9:45
No, this is the way I got to get that in. I was on a show the other day and my guest was challenged me to say that this is Scrum like over and over again. So I don't want to do that too shows but I will Mandalorian quote out on all day long. Please tell us your background into how did you get so hooked into healthcare construction? If you could start there, or you could start with like after you were born, it's up to you or after?
Stephen Powell 10:12
Yeah. Wow, that's a it's an interesting world. I grew up in Alabama, went to Auburn or Eagle beat the Aggies this weekend. Oh, was when I went to college, I thought I wanted to be in health care. So maybe more on the world of pharmacist or in the the medical world and vowed two years and I decided that I thought that I probably did not want to do that organic chemistry kind of weeded me out.
Felipe Engineer 10:40
Oh, you didn't like was it? Was it just memorizing all the molecules or making.
Stephen Powell 10:45
Yeah, it was it was getting into the world of if this is the entry level drug, this is not the drugs I'm going to take. But that I luckily was a given a little bit of a nudge and a wink to say, you know, if you really want to get into the world of health care, and I did have a brother who had been sick as a child. So there was a little bit of a world of wanting to give back in that healthcare community in some way. So that's what had driven me a little bit more into the medical side. But I had an opportunity to go do construction management, and it was kind of said, hey, you know, there's a lot of hospitals getting built. And there's a lot of opportunity in the world to work for general contractors or owners reps, that would be building hospitals. And, you know, that's a passion of yours, you know, seek them out. There's a lot of great firms that do hospital construction. And so when I did my thesis, I did it on a hospital, thought I was going to go into the world of construction, and working on hospitals. And funny story is I graduated from college in 2008, in the little bit of a great recession of its own, and had two opportunities work for general contractors, a couple projects, but specifically, I also got an opportunity to work for an owner's rep out of school. So I didn't actually go into the construction industry. From a contractor's perspective out of college. Even though I had the degree, I ended up taking the role with the owner's rep in Alabama, and ended up working with both of the general contractors that I also was looking to work with. So I was good, I was gonna I was gonna work on the at that point, one of the largest hospital projects being built in the state of Alabama. So I was gonna figure out a way into it. And I determined that my wife is a physical therapist and graduated in Birmingham, getting a hospital project in Birmingham and being able to marry her and stay there, and not happy to travel in the first part of my married and career was a huge perk. And so that project was we'll call it IPD light is not the right term to use all the time. But there was some some scenarios in it around shared saving, collaboration that were good, we did not really get into the world of pull planning, or Last Planner, or a lot of the the realm of what I learned after that project that seems to have kind of taken my mind by storm after that. So I, I lived in Birmingham, worked on Children's Hospital and a little bit into that time, we had an opportunity to win a job in Akron, Ohio. And so I had the opportunity when the project was finished, to move and relocate to Akron, Ohio work on a project called Akron Children's with some great firms. And I'll never forget, when I was starting to learn about the project, and Target and Target Value Design, we we had a gap to target. Like, wait, wait, what I'm gonna move, I'm gonna move to a new to a new state out of out of my comfortable home for a product that still had some ways to go from Target Value Design and getting to the to the actual target. And I'll never forget the person that was the senior leader there. And this is maybe it's just willing and trustful. But he said, you got a good team and they're working together. And this process works. Just trust the process. As a younger program manager, I was like, Okay, I'm going to listen to you and I'm going to trust but verify the process. And so I got a chance to move to Akron and you know, got to work some really good folks from Akron Children's, from the design community and from the construction community and really got immersed in Big Room culture, the collaboration techniques of A3 Thinking, Choosing by Advantages of project leadership, structure and governance that does drive decision making. That really just made it very easy in the world of an owner's rep to say we know when risk are happening, we have ways to mitigate them. And in a lot of ways, we're all creating a culture of continuous improvement and change that, you know, schedule could be improved. If we all work together, costs can be improved, if we all work together. And scope can be maximized if we all work together. And so, you know, that project, in my belief, and from talking to other folks, it did all those things, and it did it well. And there was always ups and downs in any project. But you know, you look back on something that's going on 10 years, and I still have good friends in the in the professional community from that. And there's still a lot of things that I know, they're using that they play off from learning from that I use playoff for learning from that. And there, we're all in a situation where it was a good immersion into lean project management and IPD culture. And so since then, I've kind of went more on my l ean journey with the idea of helping clients, if they couldn't take on IPD structure, where do we go about influence as much as we can from the Lean IPD or in your world, Scrum world, that's things that make this all better for everyone. And so, did a little bit of coaching in Oregon, before I moved to Dallas, and then I had, you know, the opportunity to move to Dallas and work with another children's hospital. So I have, my first part of my career was very children's pediatric centric, and it was awesome. And I'm not gonna ever say that it wasn't like pediatric facility in hospital construction is a jewel. But I, I actually, I showed up a little bit too late for this, but it was definitely the the way they selected the team on the project in Texas, when I first moved here was pretty awesome to go and do basically a Lego building construction where they created an ownership structure in the room for the interview, and you had a budget here, you had material lists, you had to make decisions, there was design changes. I mean, there was there's everything about like the the mock up of this is why we're gonna pick you is how do you interact? And how do you the the human side of project management. So when I heard I was like, well, I'll work on that, that'd be awesome. And, and we, we were able to do a lot of a lot of things set up from a governance perspective, pull planning. And, you know, in a lot of ways Target Value Design in the best we could without certain incentive structures. And it was just funny, because I learned there, I was like, creating some of the continuous improvement culture and looking at different ways to do things in a better way. Lean ways, you know, efficient ways. That was my first entry level into Scrum. So they had a Scrum board. And it caught me because I was like, Oh, why don't we do this all the time? Like, why not? Why is Why is Why is owners reps, do we not simplify? Well, and go, what all we have to do this week, guys, okay, who's gonna do it? Alright, you take it, you go do it. And when you're done, leave it over here. Let's all like let's, let's organize our week. And so I was like, this is, this is this is this is the way you are. And until I do it, it is tricky. Because there's a point in time where as an owner's rep, you may not be having the same level widget structure because you're not building something. But there's still a point in time where each week has the key things that need to get accomplished. And each week, you have the ability to level load, how things get accomplished, if you're organized around it. So I've done a long way around. But I've spent the last six or seven years in Texas, working with healthcare clients in Dallas and along the lower coast, had some challenges different places trying to figure out how to overcome situations in management and in the last couple of weeks, have taken on a role as a VP of program management for Meadows and Ohly, working on large healthcare projects in the southeast, spending a lot of my time, kind of helping ramp up some of those projects currently. And we'll be looking to really, it's been interesting having this podcast is really be able to in a smaller company, work to say what's the best process what's the best practices what, what do we want to do and how does Meadows and Ohly program management solutions really look like in 2022 In five years, and how do we become, you know, the best program management company that we can become? And so things like Scrum and being on projects where you get to work with other general contractors and architects that understand we only to do things better. And we need to be looking at ways to do things through the lean lens. You just keep balancing and balancing it. So it's, it's a great world that we're starting to think see, not just in California, it's not always going to be as easy to find the client in Birmingham, Alabama, or in Woodgrains, Georgia that really, you know, can buy into, you know what they want to press on that like Akron Children's did. But it's definitely something that's pretty exciting when you do start to say, Okay, if you like me, and I like you, can I tell you about lean guy tell you about the world that's out there, and how we can construct things better? easier, better, for construction.
Felipe Engineer 18:22
Yeah. Yes, Stephen? Okay. I gotta just, I gotta just pause you right there, cuz I'm about to explode. So all the people listening to the show so far, if you're watching this on YouTube, you would see that I've been elevating in my chair, the more Stephen talks, the less I was connected to the earth, I just started floating up. There's so many cool things that they you said just in your intro, and how you got started. And I definitely want to come back and unpack some of those, but like bonus to use even for, for blending in the show name easier, better for construction. Because I mean, that's just exciting. Right there, you did it so perfectly. And I think, you know, also, you're in the early part, this is what a testament to, you wanted to give back. And right from day one, because of experiences with your brother, you had a chance to really have an impact for so many children in hospitals. And I've had, I've had the chance to work in hospital construction as well. That's actually most of my career has been hospital construction. And then, you know, other types of construction later. But it is I mean, there is like nothing like it to be part of something that's going to impact the health of people, and especially the youngest and most vulnerable of our population, which are children. So amazing. And my goodness, you're spoiled. You got to actually stay in Birmingham. After you got married.
Stephen Powell 22:13
It was it was one way like, oh, man, this is this is the way to do it. way to do it.
Felipe Engineer 22:18
Yeah. And then now you travel. Like I think when I met you this summer, you you traveled, we were like comparing frequent flyer situations. And I think we're both at the point where if we want to go have dinner in the city in the United States, we've got the points to make it happen and have
Stephen Powell 22:36
the crazy, I think, Felipe we did definitely talk about the show when it was I was on a layover in Dallas, I live in Dallas, but I met you for dinner on a layover in and out of Dallas. And it wasn't it wasn't over a day it was it was about five hours. So it was a it was it was a good dinner. But it was it's just yeah, I do travel a lot more since the Birmingham days. So it's, she's a saint. That's why I wanted to marry her. She's a saint. So perfect.
Felipe Engineer 23:02
Perfect. Shout out to Mrs. Powell, who is the saint for sure. Yeah, sure deserves credit. I know my wife absolutely takes care of me and allows me to do all the coolest stuff that I do with amazing support, we can never say enough for what it what it's worth, it's priceless to have that type of support in your family. And, you know, I want to come back to Target Value Design. And I like the for those that don't know the difference, because people just shout out TVD will say a lot of acronyms. But we'll unpack we'll try to unpack those. The difference between design and delivery, as that delivery includes my favorite part construction. But we it's it's one of the smallest parts, as we know, what kind of runway like on that job you mentioned, you know, the job of the size where there's a Lego competition just to vet the team out? How long was that job in planning, business validation before shovel hit the ground?
Stephen Powell 23:56
You know, it's pretty interesting. I think that from an owner side, we typically are having six to almost a year and just trying to capitalize understanding of what the product is going to be that project. And I think, you know, Akron was the same way. There's what you think you want. And then there's the let's get the right team to go get exactly what we want. I think that has kind of been the nice part of a few projects that have the delivery mindset that you're going to bring on the contractor early. And you're going to go about trying to validate, you know, programmatically, you have a good idea of what you want. And you have an idea of what you want to spend and you probably have an idea of how long you want it to take. But we can want all those things but you know, you can't Amazon, everything and make that work. You have to you have to get the right you had to pick the right team and you have to be able to then go validate it but it is it is interesting that I guess there's a terminology that a mentor told me before you know, a lot of what we want to do when we get chance is go slow to go fast. So really validate can, you know, confirm the scope is right confirm the team is right, confirm along that that pattern how the design should flow to get the right information first and not have a lot of open ended discussion later on that, that creates changes in design. And when you can do that in a delivery model that has target value around what the components should look like, it just it can work well together, because you're not getting to something that is designed. And you don't have the ability to influence that design along the way. It it's definitely been more challenging in the last 18 months with just what the supply chain and escalation of construction products and services have been. But beyond that, there's a lot more things that are controllable in that pattern of target value design and delivery, which is it's a it's another one of those where if you have every chance possible to do it that way, we want to try to do it that way, knowing that the outcomes are proven to be much more desirable.
Felipe Engineer 26:19
That's right, like you said before, the owners have the opportunity to maximize their value with actual less dollar spend. Now that effort, I would argue that the effort to do TVD is the same except you spend the effort in different places. There's more effort up front, and then the you just have a smooth transition through design smoother construction with less issues less firefighting, and a super smooth people take occupancy and start utilizing the building and healthcare construction start treating patients. But I think what I wanted to touch back on is, you know, some of the owners that use these types of process, the serial healthcare builders, and most hospitals are serial builders building every year, either tenant improvements space, you know, upgrading surgery suites, or in the case when COVID happened having to use more ICU space to isolate patients. The time up front is yours. So I mean, I was thinking of a job that's three storeys tall, to medical surgery space with some patient rooms, and the runway before the construct before a general contractor to get hired or have a chance was five years, there's five years of planning
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Felipe Engineer 28:29
Because of financing, and just approvals and then programming with an architect and then later, possibly changing architects and then doing schematic design and then engaging documents that you can put out on the street and then get competitive bids as like five to six years before two years of construction.
Stephen Powell 28:51
Right. So like that's no offense, no offense to the services of master planning, but there's money that's paid a lot in hospital design towards things that could be and yeah, you're right. It's like we're gonna build a tower here in the next five to 10 years. And as it gets closer, someone else will probably master plan that once more and then he may hire an architect who will then do another master planning effort and then you start the process of this is real. So yeah, it is it's definitely an opportunity to be able to, to address that along the way. But the good part is with that time and you start to kind of explore what opportunities are for contractual models what opportunities are for management then you're able to think more efficiently set up how you want to govern the project run the project when it comes time to select the team and I
Felipe Engineer 29:49
want also for people that don't know if you've never had the chance to be part of a target value design or delivery like Steven is perfectly described it I mean, you should you should be thinking like right now like why are we We're not doing this thing. Here's here's the one crazy thing that he kind of just jumped over when he went up to Akron. And that's that the client is going to come tell you and say like, even though we all know, I've got this much money, let's say I'm at this level of cash from this job, we're going to pretend like, I don't have this much. And we're going to lower that. And we're going to target some percentage loss, which just magically is always like 20% less, because it creates a good challenge condition. Yeah, right. It's
Stephen Powell 30:30
20% 20%, it's always a, it's like, like, I give it to me, let's go through 20% less. And if you get the eight thing we still do, we still try for 20. And that was the good mark,
Felipe Engineer 30:40
we still want. And so But what people don't realize that it's by design, there's been a lot of research done as to why you want to set that target below the allowable cost that the client is willing to pay for. It creates innovation, it creates this necessity and makes a natural gap, where people are like, man, we thought it was this much. And we were ready for this. And now we have to figure out how to do with less, you have to innovate in order to close that gap and still provide that same functionality. So that's why it's done like that on purpose. It's more challenging upfront. But what ends up happening is that you end up getting hopefully, you have some shared savings. So if you do come down, everybody wins, because we spent less money, and we still deliver the same function, or even better function. Right, Steven,
Stephen Powell 31:30
right. And the magic sauce, I think in some of that is, there's ways to do it inside the 20%, there's times you can put it beyond into the target costs, right. So that's that shared savings mechanism. I think the other thing that is key is you also try to make sure that profits are managed to where that innovation isn't a detriment to your fee structure. So like, it's pretty nice to be able to set this up, understand what everyone's gonna make pretty on par to start, what the incentives will be. And then everybody does go and try to deliver the best, most efficient and cost efficient and certain ways project for an owner, without the worry that if I drive 20% of this project, I'm not going to make the same amount of money that I take home and you your upside is dramatically increased by the process that sets up
Felipe Engineer 32:22
and everybody who's listening to let's not have this experience, because it's the vast majority, Steven, as we know, don't have this opportunity. They've they've just been in traditional, traditional is predominant. Last numbers, I check with my buddy who's been who's done $2 billion of IPD work integrated project delivery, he estimates it's still less than 5% of all construction in the United States. And so that means that, you know, nine out of 10 jobs is going to be traditional, or more than nine out of 10 is going to be a traditional delivery so people don't even know but the people that do have these experiences like Steven, you take it forward with you like you've gone, I'm sure you left Akron, you went to the very next job. And you're you said it, you're like I'm gonna What am I going to bring with me so we can make this better? Didn't even have to look at the contract. Right? Right.
Stephen Powell 33:11
Right. And, and, and the fun part is, is anytime you got a chance to position the contract and set things up, you know, I worked on a project recently in Omaha, Nebraska, the Children's Hospital, Omaha was true IPD project. And it's just getting back into those situations and understanding how efficient that is when you work on more projects that aren't. So as an original person, I don't always get the chance to work on every project that is but I loved going to Omaha, Nebraska, just seeing a team work in a collaborative space and use a lot of the same tools that we did in Akron, and have a contract that sets up to allow them to always be looking for the better solution and not really worrying about certain things that you do in a more traditional setting. Because you had things set up from the contractual onset and the team behavior, I love that
Felipe Engineer 34:06
it's just to put like, bring an analogy to it. So I want everyone to imagine the most beautiful apple pie that you love where you know, we're approaching Thanksgiving, Steven. Let's imagine either a pecan pie, or pumpkin pie your choice. So you've got that Buckeye that so you can see what I'm leaning towards pecan. I spent a lot of summers in Texas. So pecans are plentiful. We've got they were plentiful there. But so imagine this pie. And so everyone thinks that in order to do this project, we're only going to have a sliver or a slice of that pie for profitability. But when you go into target value design and delivery, you actually increase the pie. The pie is bigger than you can even imagine. Like you're gonna think you know what it is and as people work together collaboratively, you start looking out for each other you end up walking away with margins that are sometimes two and five times greater than traditional design, bid build, work or even design build work. So people, you're gonna make more money, you're gonna have way more fun doing it, you're probably going to do Scrum, because this is a way
Stephen Powell 35:20
to be, well, well, well, the funny thing you say like, so if you have all the opportunity there, there is a key performance indicator or some success metric structure that goes along with it. But because of that, you need to look at tools like Scrum, you have to find things to say, if I need to be measured, and I need to create a key performance outcome, you have to look for tools that will help you prove that out or manage to that, that that indicator, because the indicator is what will drive the bigger pie. And so, you know, it has to do with quality. And it has to do with race, coordination, things like that. Like there's a lot of things like Scrum, or pool planning that helps you manage certain areas of that delivery to where your key performance indicator, you know, where you're at all the time, because you have something, a process in place that helps you check to say we're on track, right,
Felipe Engineer 36:21
super reliable process. So I think that's really critical. And I want to go back to that job where you said, you come back to Texas, and you're you're getting involved immersed in the project. And you notice that they're doing Scrum. You're getting exposed to scrum the first time who who brought scrum to that project team? Well, it
Stephen Powell 36:40
was it was interesting. I don't know if it was you. If or if it was just, you know, I got a I got one of the books from I think it was Matt Burnett was one of the senior project managers. And he either he gave me the book or I got the book and I started kind of looking at it. And around the same time, I'll say this is my Felipe introduction and plug LCI out in Anaheim was one of the many times that you've talked about Scrum, but I wasn't I was in the audience pack house. Yeah, back then they were mostly staying remotely
Felipe Engineer 37:17
Before COVID we could actually stand shoulder to shoulder.
Stephen Powell 37:20
And, and it was it was kind of, you know, immersed in the fact like, okay, like, and I think I met some of the LCI, community practice leaders in Dallas around that same part of the of the conference. But it was just interesting, because I came from the construction side, and it was something that they were doing for their office staff, we know it was a small office staff for the project up in Plano. And we happen to office with them. So I could just be kind of a fly on the wall and what was happening. It was a team of two for me and the truth of who was the pm that I worked with. So we couldn't do Scrum as well as I wanted to at that point. But as I started down a path of looking at, you know, when I can sit in a team, and I'm managing with the team, and and this has actually been the hardest part as an owners rep is that, like, I'm immersed in the idea, let's do, let's do anything that helps us. Continuous improvement, if there's a way that we can do something better, let's try to do it. But if you try to do something, and it doesn't work for you, or you're not committed to it, then I'm not going to drive you to it because I'm not, I'm not in it the same way you are. And so that's been the interesting part about Scrum for me, as I get the larger teams. I can start to introduce the concept, you know, I don't know if you did this by design, but you know, we were using Trello boards. You know with Teams and Planner, there's there's other ways to do similar scrum boards, and it's easy to do virtually. So you know, I'm in the swing of perfect world, and it's not a Microsoft plug. So if you need to cancel it, it's but other places where you can have, you can have a hub of, of information that you land on, whether it be an owner's rep team, whether it be you know, a project team, you know, having the ability to use something like a Microsoft Planner or a Trello or something in there and create the scum board, virtually, it's been pretty cool to watch in the world of COVID. Because you can really manage your daily work plans and you can manage your weekly work plans in that virtual environment on a platform like teams that I just, I hope that we keep in every way possible. Parts of that going forward where people are really looking to say this is our own little colo spot virtually where information will reside and live and you have tools that make it pretty easy to implement scrum procedure on your project, if you just kind of can set that up with anybody on the team that's willing to maintain and keep it constant. And you have to I mean, that's the thing I think is true about all the tools but specifically Scrum or, or pool planning is you have to be committed, you have to stay strong in it. And you have to hold each other accountable. In the fact that it's is it's good for you. It's the way that we can do things and have more predictable outcomes and really validate that we're on task.
Felipe Engineer 40:35
Amazing that that that happened. And happily, we'll just say thank you to if it was me. You're welcome. If it was somebody else, you're welcome. Definitely. We had a great time. in Anaheim. I'm always amazed at how many people that I meet take today that their first time meeting me was that room in Anaheim. I started to sort of wonder like, what what kind of magical room was that? Like, oh,
Stephen Powell 41:00
well, you know, it's a Disneyland was Disneyland was really close. So it was just you know, that the magic was around us.
Felipe Engineer 41:06
Yeah, exactly. We had posted notes flying off the stage, it was incredible. For those listening, like these, these tools that Stephens mentioning Trello, since its inception, that team has used Scrum, to develop that product and that solution, and even the parent company that recently acquired them a few years ago. Atlassian also uses Scrum and their solution. And Microsoft, a lot of people don't know this, Steven, but Microsoft has been using Scrum for almost two decades now. So not always, since day one, and not every single team they have. But in significant numbers. I've got some friends that work over there. And so I'm always happy to hear that it's spreading. And it's spreading because it solves a problem. Because projects are freakin complex. And like you said, you know, with two people, it's not as cool. When you get to three or more. It becomes magical. There's a big difference between a two person team and a four person team. And then you go up to like a 10 person team, you need to start splitting teams up into into smaller sub teams. And then we're talking about Scrum and Scrum. But that's a whole nother episode outside of what we're going to talk about. But we could definitely, definitely go there. I think that in order for that collaboration to happen, where people can hold each other accountable, like you said, you know, one of the values that really that I think about in scrum for that is courage. Because you have to do something different. Like when I brought that to LCI, and that way, it was not like everyone in that I knew at the time was like making my phone ring off the hook to get the stuff. They were like, what is that software stuff? It's that's what people mostly think like, it's just software as going to talk to somebody in Brazil. And they were saying like, we're trying to show people that it works in engineering, too. And thank you for all the stuff you say about it, because it helps people to see that it actually does. Yeah, it actually does work and surprise. It wasn't started in software. It got started in hardware manufacturing. And then it went into finance, and then software and then information technology. Those those industries have really picked it up in a big way. But we're seeing it now. And in retail, we're seeing it in product design. It's getting even bigger in automobile manufacturing. I've got friends at Toyota and BMW that have confirmed and I've seen scrum boards to prove it. Steven with my own eyes I've touched. I've touched scrum boards at BMW. And I've seen and heard things from Toyota, because they're both of those organizations are very smart by not letting pictures come out about what they're doing. Yeah,
Stephen Powell 43:49
the Toyota way. It's scrubbed out, right.
Felipe Engineer 43:53
Jeff Jeffrey likers, new version, Second Edition. He talks about some different features where in my mind, it's all Scrum. Yeah. I can talk to Jeff about that.
Stephen Powell 44:04
Well, and I think if I'm not mistaken, you're like, you're the scrum czar. Within construction. You are now the guy but no, it's your I mean, it's just crazy how far it expands from a process and a mechanism that can work well across all those different platforms like it is it is pretty impressive. Just
Felipe Engineer 44:25
another big technology company. I can't say their name. But they have a Construction Group. And they build, you know, billions of dollars of facilities across the world. And their construction group is now connected to me and we're looking at how can we bring scrum into their construction. And so it's growing because it always solves a need a problem. And Jeff always says when I say Jeff talks about Mr. Jeff Sutherland, my mentor my hero, who I can't do enough for Jeff, thank you so much again, every chance I get to thank Jeff he knows I appreciate him. Shameless plug Steve and John even wrote the foreword to my book, as you know,
Stephen Powell 45:02
boom. There's the book. There's the book congrats on the book.
Felipe Engineer 45:06
Yeah, thank you, man. It was it's not. It's not like a light little read too. It's it's got some weight to it. And there's actually there's some stories in here to bring it forward so that it people can see themselves no matter where they were, oh, this is like my story, I can see an entry point in. It doesn't have to start like in grade school. It doesn't. It doesn't matter. You know what side of the supply chain you're on. I've had even tradespeople come through and pick up scrum off site. fabrication facilities, architects, architects in spades. So many architects have really flocked to it. It's just so like it just hand in glove with what they do and how they iterate on things. So now it's just thank you for bringing that up. super appreciate that. Like any chance to talk about Scrum. Oh, it's amazing. It's like it's your sweet spot. It is. It is my favorite subject. I always like I've got Jason Schroeder even saying everything is Scrum. Like there's a whole bunch of videos. And I hear for people listen to his podcast because he puts a show out every day LV construction podcast people, it's a great show, go check that out. And he talks about how even tact is Scrum? Which I totally agree.
Stephen Powell 46:19
I would I would
Felipe Engineer 46:20
do is I want to go back to ask you a couple of questions. You know, from a program manager and owners rep side being on the owner side, you have so much influence on how projects run, I would say even regardless of contract type, what are some of the ways that you encourage your teams to pick up some of these lean methods and values?
Stephen Powell 46:43
You know, it's been pretty interesting having the chance to work with bigger contractors who kind of already are more built into understanding Lean tools and the processes. But I think what's been the best part is as an owners rep, you know, we can start to, to influence a little bit when we're able to talk with an owner and kind of explain to them, Hey, I think you need to do target value design or target value delivery. And here's why. And like, you know, if you look at what's happened in the last couple years, you know, if we're trying to confirm what we design you can afford you you have the influence to say, Hey, I know a way of doing that a lot better than go hire the architect having design it. Let me send it out to three subs and they'll bid it. And so that that has been a nice opportunity to explain and have the the history on on other projects where it's worked really well. I think that the other area that I hope to, I mean, this is part of why I want to be on your podcast, you know, I feel I feel an urge to be as best a mentor as I can and have people look to folks like you or myself for a way to say well, what are you seeing what are the things I could do? Five years from now? What do I need to be proficient in? And being able to say, have you looked at Scrum? Have you looked at last planner? Have you thought about getting into an LCI community practice? Have you thought about speaking at LCI? Or have you thought about just, you know, looking at some of the things like the ripple intent Breakfast Club areas where there's just you're getting like people in a room looking at similar outcomes from let's do construction better, let's do project management better. And you're leading them to tools that could exist to make something easier for them, right? Like a scrum board. We talked a lot about that for a second. But like, it's true, like, it is a simple thing to say, if you want to do something better try this. And the same thing when it comes to last planner, you know, just invest in post it note, you know, hashtag is trending. But you know, but you'd be surprised. You'd be surprised what you can do with the last planner, high level it I wouldn't say it's the true LPs, but just high level pool planning to kind of wild people and saying, let's just take this issue and work it back and try to figure out if there's a way to think through this differently and just create the conversation. And so it's as an owners rep. I think sometimes it's just being able to create a little bit more of that collaboration is I want to say I want to hear from you. And there's no wrong answer. But we got to figure out a solution so that we can go back and all commit to a client that we can we can commit to a solution commit to a decision. We're all aligned and I think the tool that is the Link tool that I guess I'm more near and dear to my heart that I don't use as much as I used to and I I feel like that's what I need to continue on, I'm recovering a three Holic. But but there's, there's a point in time where you know, it, it's it's informing people of the tools that exist. Luckily, a lot of the firms we're bringing on board, even sometimes in the RFPs are saying, you know, explain to us your lean or, or it really is a lot of time, it's going to use the word lean, lean, lean principles and lean tools within your organization. And so you were a large hospital, kind of not using that as a gauge, but you're kind of expecting most of the architects, most of the contractors to know that you want to have a collaborative process, lead design and construction project that needs to have levels of tools and information that we can all start to build off of. And it's just funny how quickly if you set that up, right, and you have like, the right setup from the owners representation, you start to do okay, we're going to do a pull plan on when design is going to be done, we're going to go and we're going to house all of our information in the same place, and we're going to transparently share that. We're going to, you know, transparency, look at the overall project budgets and try to work through solutions, whether it's given tech, it's just, it's that's the nicety of the owners rep side that I think we can all strive to do the best we can with and I know, folks like James piece and others, we get everybody in the boat together, and we all are trying to do it the same way. It just is a much more controllable outcome and enjoyable experience.
Felipe Engineer 51:38
That is exactly why everybody needs to pick this stuff up and keep learning. Look, listen to how much fun Stephens having just describing his addiction to a three problem solving. I mean, so everybody's just be like, Oh, how do I? How do I Where do I even learn that? Where do I get started? Well, luckily for you, you're listening to this show. And we've already got some free blogs that have this information with templates to get you started. So go to the E BFC show.com and click on Blog and just search for a three and you will find templates to get you started. So if you don't even know what we're talking about, it's it's all there with examples. So you could you could get and have as much fun as Stevens.
Stephen Powell 52:21
You can also be a recovering or actually a newly a three a Holic because it isn't enticing
Felipe Engineer 52:28
it is enticing I use the A three process to relocate and buy a house and and I and my three included a CBA choosing buy advantages. Are you shot?
Stephen Powell 52:39
I just know when I'll just be I was just thinking as I look around my office when I talk to some of the people that you had five s their their kitchen or five s or office and like that's the one I did not I was I was in a three guys five minutes. I'm sorry, everything is not easy. I did not make toast efficiently.
Felipe Engineer 53:01
I just don't like dosed I just yeah, we even saw like we even did the industries of advantages for the houses we looked at my wife, house unseen, picked the house we live in right now,
Stephen Powell 53:18
through the choosing by vendor had more advantages and therefore like that's the one and
Felipe Engineer 53:22
it was a runaway winner. And wow. And she was she was confident enough in the decision that we could make the deal sign on the dotted line and then we moved in, in less than 35 days. Yeah, it was really fast. And it wasn't like the Yeah, we don't have a deadline. It was just because everything just clicked into place. We were I was using Scrum with the realtor unknown to them scrum Jedi do Yeah. Yeah, we had a lot of fun like my wife and son got to weigh in and you know share all their opinions and what factors and criteria were super important to them on on the house and then you know everything just
Stephen Powell 54:06
well you know, the funniest part of your thing like you choosing by advantages is the one that you could take that like what what should I eat tonight? What's gonna give me the best advantage of like satisfaction. But you can take it you can take it and and it is a much better selection process than the traditional pros and cons.
Felipe Engineer 54:28
Yeah, pros and cons is so outdated. People who got to stop every time I hear pros and cons. I think back to Jim SIRs book that brainwashed me right. It's like nails on a chalkboard. I don't correct people though, Steven, like if they say pros and cons, I just roll with it. And I say, you know, you can also look at it that another way. You can look at all of your alternatives and decide what is the advantage and one over the other? And they just looked at me like it sounds so logical. It is. It is it totally is. Now that's a that's a lot. That's a lot. That is a lot. This is I'm still up, I'm going to be like just a floating through the world. For the rest of the weekend. Steven, you've charged me up with so much on a scrum your last binary, you're a three addiction, which I love. And we share in common that we don't find this just below Camera Line, there might be a stack of books that need to get put away, that it's not. I'm a little ashamed that there's a bag right there that's in the wrong place. To get that I might not even tripped over it three times. So it might be a sign to move that.
Stephen Powell 55:40
That's great. Yeah, that's been fun.
Felipe Engineer 55:42
Yeah. No, it's been a lot of fun. I really love to have you come on the show. I'm gonna have to have you come back on again, because there's still so many more things to unpack. And I think I want to hear more about this poll plan that you did in Florida, for sure. As you're spreading this across, you're like, we're gonna say Steven Powell, the pied piper, of Lean for owners.
Stephen Powell 56:06
Yeah, I don't know if I'm quite the pied piper. But I'm trying and I appreciate shows like this. Other things that have been or other people that have been on your show other people's blogs. I mean, there's such a community now that we can all get into and really learn from that. It's just exciting. So this is awesome.
Felipe, it's been great coming on the show. It's exciting that you make content with all the rays of our industry, trying to make things easier and better for construction, which is key to what I want us all to try to do. And so yeah, I hope that over time, when I have some different experiences coming out on my new role, we'll be able to talk again, and hopefully in the world of content, you you're developing something that we as mentors can go about saying, if you haven't had a chance, go check out Philippe's podcast, go read Joe and Keon book. There's, there's great people that are doing some great things in the Lean world. And you just have a lot at your fingertips. So thanks for letting me come on your show and talk a little bit about the owners' side of things. And just have a nice little chat with you about what I've been able to see and do and share some of my excitement that hopefully carries forward to other people to get excited about what you're talking about Scrum and Lean.
Felipe Engineer 1:01:43
Thank you so much, Steven, it has been a pleasure to heart this hearts for you, buddy. I got one I'm gonna move my postal note over to done as soon as we we end the show. But it's just gonna go right. I'm gonna make another one in backlog, get Steven back on the show, and definitely hang out with you a person every chance I get
Stephen Powell 1:02:04
in real life, man. Well, you know, it is funny, though. I mean, like, that is the point. Make it relatable. And you'll be surprised how many people get on board. And so that's the best part about Scrum. And that's the best part about some of the lean things. I remember doing them. Mr. Potatohead becomes relatable about how quickly you can put one together. But yeah, it's, it's Hey, this is a lot of fun. I'm glad you had me on.
Felipe Engineer 1:02:26
Yeah, no, I'm glad. I'm glad you're on to. And you definitely you're coming back on again.
Stephen Powell 1:02:30
We'll do it. We'll build some time up. And hopefully I can come back and we can hit on a few of the other things that I did not get a chance probably to talk to
Felipe Engineer 1:02:40
you some some guests even have way more than what can be contained in this time box called the show. And you're one of those guests. So
Stephen Powell 1:02:49
I appreciate you.
Felipe Engineer 1:02:51
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.