Aug. 26, 2020

Make Work Visible

The ideas and actions that made it possible for an architect and general contractor to work happily together include thinking we have the power to make our work better and a knack for making it visible to let it flow easier. Can the Last Planner System (...

Bruce Cousins works around the country in design and construction. The ideas and actions that made it possible for an architect and general contractor to work happily together include thinking we have the power to make our work better and a knack for making it visible to let it flow easier. Can the Last Planner System (Pull Planning), Kanban, and Scrum play nicely? Bruce and I think so. The Easier, Better, for Construction Show is where people working to make building easier and better share how.

The show referenced IGLC Article “Digital Kanban Boards Used in Design and 3d Coordination” is available for free download here at Check out the Sword YouTube Channel to see more about Takt Planning at Follow Bruce on LinkedIn at



Today's episode is sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute. Join me and many others from the Lean design and construction community at their 22nd Annual Congress. It is being held virtually this year, the week of October 19th. Our theme is the ABC’s of Lean...Transformation through Actions, Best Practices, and Coaching. Learn more at


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Felipe Engineer  0:04  
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 the Lean Construction Institute. LCI is working to lead the building industry in transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone join me and many others from the lean design and construction community at their 22nd annual Congress. It is being held virtually this year, the week of October 19. Our theme is the ABCs of lean transformation through actions, best practices and coaching. Check the show notes for more information. Thank you, LCI, now to the show. Oh, hello, Bruce. Hi. My guest today is Mr. Bruce Cousins, Bruce and I have worked together many times, and many different ways. And we've collaborated on a couple different things. I'm very happy to have Bruce on the show today to share some of his experiences with building better in our industry. And I'll let Bruce go ahead and introduce yourself, Mr. Bruce Cousins, tell the audience who you are a little bit about yourself.

Bruce Cousins  1:38  
Hi, good afternoon. And we are shooting this in the afternoon. So I'm basically have been involved with lean and lead construction and continuous improvement for the last 12 years or so. We had a I came from a background, I'm an architect by training and practice for 30 some years and joined up as a national BIM manager for general contractor and and basically pushed forward when we didn't have words to talk about BIM. We got words to talk about Lean. And so those words really give us the benefit of understanding, sequencing, production planning, all those kinds of things, which we do both we do both with lean and BIM combined. We've been very happy with that combination. And so, so we're working around the country. I'm basically located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, having moved here recently from the Bay Area. And so this is where we've been, as everyone knows, probably the Bay Area was kind of a hotbed for lean implementation, and an exciting place to be because Glen Ballard, and Iris Tomlinson, Tomlin were in at at Berkeley, at the PSL lab. And in Stanford, it was Martin Fisher, at scifi. And so those two things were kind of our touchstones for most of the learning and communication with others. We were introduced through Glenn, I think, and through the lean construction Institute. So it's been a great learning experience for me. It's kind of a second career in a way. Not even in a way it is a second career. It is because I've been doing this now for with working with project teams all over northern California when I was with Turner construction after I left the other company that I was working for. So that's a bit about me.

Felipe Engineer  4:10  
Yeah, no, do you got a great backstory, Bruce? And, and for those that don't know? Yeah. Glen, is the common thread that put us working together about was it feels like about two and a half years ago? We were working on last planner 2.0 Yep. And you were heading up one of the groups there. We did some really good work around. What are some agile practices that we can bring into last planner system production control. For those that don't know, last planner, colloquially in the industry is often referred to just as poor planning. But for those that do know it means something so much more?

Bruce Cousins  4:47  
Right or reverse phase planning. That's that's another common term that people use. But But I will say that that was a very interesting, interesting experience. And a very challenging one, I fought my group was based on putting together last planner for design and design service providers. And that it hasn't the last planner by a practice approach and principles hasn't been widely accepted by the design. industry in general. And, and so what we did is we really were evaluating all of the reasons that people were resisting using last planner, InDesign, and through the design process. And so we refocus that a bit to really focus on the couple different parts of the design process. So the part that's the most iterative, of course, is the beginning phases. programming, of course, is pretty straightforward. You're, you're validating the program of the building, you're understanding what's going to go inside it, and so on. That's not really where there's a problem. The problem is, once you get through that phase, and you have the design program in front of you, then the challenges to really began to look at how that's represented as a physical thing, either a structure or combination of aesthetics, structure, etc. And, historically, the architects, there are two kinds of architects in effect. On one side, you have a design architect, who really has focused for many, much of their career on the design side, that doesn't mean that they're not technically competent, it just means that they're, they have a very good skill at integrating a lot of diverse things. And bringing together a design concept, out of out of a lot of, you know, a variety of information, huge amount of information, and really starting something new people don't even even a project like a data center or other kind of project that you might think is a fairly routine project, there's always issues with things involved with that that need to be integrated in that first design. In the in the design, it's as it is initiated, and that we call the ideation phase. And we really focused on that. And this is where we began to link it up with the Agile Scrum approach.

Felipe Engineer  7:38  
Probably more Bruce, one of my favorite topics.

Bruce Cousins  7:41  
I knew I could catch your interest,

Felipe Engineer  7:43  
You have my interest.

Bruce Cousins  7:45  
A few years ago, we were we we have every winter, the PTS l has a thing called the design forum. And a variety of us were struggling with this challenge of how to make how to make design last planner more viable for the design phases. And one of the things that we began doing was talking to the software industry. And and understanding how Scrum and agile both could really lend themselves to this. And what's interesting about that, and design is that that was more more comfortable for designers because it was more like they were doing already. And so it really took us to that to pull that stuff into the into the last planning process. And that's what we just finished. Stan Chu and I Stan is another architect who's now the head of hospitals and Gensler down in LA, and hospital design. And he and I put together a group and we worked with as Felipe said, we had some really significant other architects involved, who've been using last planner for a long time. And they were able to bring their ideas to the process and so forth. And then we we did a literature review to try to understand how that worked. What was out there and in the common literature in a more academic way, we'll call it. And then we basically pulled that together and started to integrate that into a paper, which actually will be published, probably in a few weeks from now, actually.

Felipe Engineer  9:35  
Oh, congratulations. It's a big deal to get a paper published.

Bruce Cousins  9:39  
It's taken a long time. And, and we've had a lot of iterations. And it's not an easy thing to write about because we're trying to write about a process that is very well entrenched in the design world. It's the way you're trained in design and so on. And so what we're trying to do is integrate the scrum, and agile approaches on that in that, into that early on, and make it and that and the most important thing about that we use what we call a Kanban. board which, and we use stories in his presentations. And, and those ideas, what what's important about that is that we can then be a little less, I guess you'd say rigid in the early phases of design. And the contractor, as a part of our team, has a lot of input into the design early on in terms of constructability, and some other things. But what's happened is that we've began to evolve our design schedule, based on the idea of how long it takes to make certain kinds of decisions. in the, in the past, again, what people did, what architects did is they, they would make up a schedule, and add a lot of buffers, and then lien buffers are waste, as we all know.

Felipe Engineer  11:16  
Yeah, they're just contributing to waiting there. 

Bruce Cousins  11:19  
And that basically is, is it waiting paperwork, if the variety of things, but in the buffers, what would happen is that it really, they would make up that schedule, then they would proceed forward with the design phase. And the contractors could never understand why it takes an architect three days to make a decision about paint, for example. So there was always ongoing challenge from the construction side, and that they didn't understand the culture in a lot of ways of the design phase. And so one of the things about the con bond boards, is they create a visual work environment. So when we make a decision about something, it's up on the board, it goes into the work in process, and then goes and is being worked on. And we can begin to pivot a little bit if something isn't working. Which a lot of times when you start with a blank piece of paper, you might go down up a trail that doesn't work. And we call that set based design. And, and a variety of the pieces and parts that we've taken from the Toyota way. And Toyota Production System, product development, a variety of let's call them ingredients to this recipe. And that's where the design and and last planner and design is now 2.0 and rep and Rick and really identifies and just and gives those cultural differences. A nice value. People people understand it better, basically.

Felipe Engineer  13:12  
So no, that's great. I remember Bruce, you know, we first started working together, you're jogging my memory here, you sent me a paper on Kanban. And you knew that I was a scrum master and that I love Scrum. And you're like, you should probably still read this fleabane. So you know what Bruce? I will and I did it. And it had a lot of good visuals. And it explained, you know what some of the nuances is I'd never, I'd never thought about konban separately. And for those of you that don't know, Kanban is like equivalent to having a sign or a card. And I just so happened to have some post some notes on the ready, just in case, Bruce, because you never know when you need one. So imagine a card with some tasks on it, or some scope of work on it that needs to be done. And it kind of just moves across the board in different categories of work. So you can see the work in progress. And the Kanban board. You know, for those that don't know, never seen one before, just imagine visual management, or a way like your Outlook calendar, there are only there are only so many hour slots in your work day, right. So just by by nature of everything you did was an hour long, and you only work some magical eight hours a day, which no one in construction does. But if you did, you can only fill up eight slots. And that would be like an equivalent type of visual konban system. But it's always been a really great exchange of information with you, Bruce, I feel like I I benefit every time you and I have talked and you share different ideas. And we've poked around at different things. And it's always been good speaking with you and talking about different things, especially Scrum.

Bruce Cousins  14:54  
Well, that paper that you're talking about was a very interesting one for me because we wrote For the international society, what's it called the I GLC international group for lean construction has a conference every year of a lot of academics, a lot of people from around the world actually. And so we wrote that paper and presented it in Greece. Because that was happened to be where it was that.

Felipe Engineer  15:24  
Just a great place to present a paper. Right, Bruce?

Bruce Cousins  15:27  
A pretty nice deal. Yep. Yeah. But, but the important idea there was, we had three different three different case studies. The one you're talking about that I wrote about was when I was working with with Intel up in, and I was a consultant with a company called ssop, which is a large, multidisciplinary, ad firm. And the project was for Intel. And what we did is we we convinced them to understand that the combine board can give you a lot of information, not just a pretty picture about what you're working on. But you can basically see how long it takes to do things. And that really, from a technical standpoint, is related to what's called littles law. And littles law basically says, You can only do so many things in a day, which was what you were talking about a minute ago, because you have so much resources, right. So your resources can only get so much done. And most people are really bad planners. And the book that that Felipe knows a lot about and is what is it? We can do. Bice we can do twice the work and half the time.

Felipe Engineer  16:53  
That's right, shameless plug to Jeff Sutherland, one of my mentors, the art of doing twice the work and half the time.

Bruce Cousins  17:00  
Right, which was the first book that kind of got us heading in this way, at the, at the BIM forum, at the design at the design forum. Excuse me. And so anyway, it was an interesting experience, because what ended up happening is the SSP firm now has adopted this worldwide on all their projects, they balance out their manpower better, they understood labor loading in terms of the design phase. And and then what happens is, it tells you pretty quickly, you can only do so much with the resources that you have. And, and so that the value of that is that you can get some fairly and we talk a lot about this than the paper is that there's some fairly good metrics from the Kanban. Board, besides just being a nice tracking of your, you know, a to do list, or JIRA, I guess what are some of the boards that are out there, but...

Felipe Engineer  18:04  
There are many, Asana, Trello.

Bruce Cousins  18:08  
And actually as we adapted one called carbonize. And carbonize. The benefit of that is that you can do multiple swim lanes, and it keeps track of them independently. And then it combines them all into one.

Felipe Engineer  18:24  
That's a nice feature.

Bruce Cousins  18:25  
It's a phenomenal way to do things remotely and around the world, and so on. So we've, we've, we always promote that idea. But you can also do it just by hand, don't don't convince yourself that you need some fancy software to do this. It's not that it's...

Felipe Engineer  18:42  
That's why I like you, Bruce, because you know that when I first started with this, I started by hand. Yeah, I wanted to make a habit of it. It wasn't until later that I evolved it to a digital software solution.

Bruce Cousins  18:55  
Right. We always teach it by hand to begin with, because it's really the only thing that settles into your brain. The computer kind of puts a little distance between your brain and learning in some ways. And if you're there by hand and with a group, you learn it much better much quicker. And then you can go off and use the computer anytime you want. 

Felipe Engineer  19:24  
Yeah, I want to pick your brain on something Bruce, that you just mentioned when you were talking about the designers and your experience back at SSOE. Do you like in the construction side like once the shovel hits the ground and we start building something we tend to we still have these these old ideas about if we get behind schedule, we can just start using overtime and catch back up. And for short, short bursts activities. It does work, but over the long haul it tends to slow things down. When you mentioned littles law, I think it's interesting. It'd be good for people to under Stan like in a design house. If the design gets behind schedule, do designers work overtime?

Bruce Cousins  20:07  
Do they? But but it's also I think the not unlike construction superintendents we could call we've coached a lot of construction teams to. And the tendency in the old world is to buy super tenants. I don't mean this with any disrespect, but they tend to be the people that put fires out, right. And our feeling is we like to take the capes off of superintendents, so that they're not putting the fires out anymore by using last planner and some of these other planning tools, the lean planning principles, etc. But the design side is a very similar situation. And the designers work night and day, so many times, and we've ended up by using these approaches we're talking about, they they have become much more we'll call it normalize. And that, by the way, evolved from design school, where you work night and day, I went to Cal Berkeley, for architecture school for my master's degree. And it was a sprint, a non stop sprint for three years really, to put together projects, and it's any building in the campus of cow, you walked by the the architecture building, and you would see the lights on night and day weekend, Saturdays, holiday whenever, because there was that kind of traditional approach to this. And in my firm, I just, I really thought that was crazy. And I pretty much wanted to figure out better ways to do this. And that's really where we got started with, with making our, our deliverables much more efficient, still being creative, still being very innovative. And and so one of the things we found, by the way, in our paper, which I think is really an important finding is we did a survey, as I said, of some of the literature, and we found that a lot of the winning award winning design firms were starting to use last planner.

Felipe Engineer  22:22  
That is interesting.

Bruce Cousins  22:24  
The reason they, they appreciated that idea that, that they could send their people home at night and still get a lot of work done and do that. And it goes back to Jeff sutherlands book, doing twice the work and half the time. It's really about planning your work, understanding what you need to get done, making decisions that everybody can buy into and so on. Understanding your resources understand and a design firm, and I were on it with Congress panel a couple of years ago, and one of the guys that I brought on that panel is in a design firm in Iowa. And they've reset their whole design process around new way of thinking in terms of balancing their resources, and balancing their loads. Using their resource, utilizing the resources more efficiently utilizing Khan bond, and other things that we've been talking about. 

Felipe Engineer  23:31  
Yeah, it's amazing what can be done when when people just think that the way we're working today can be better. Right? Yeah, open up.

Bruce Cousins  23:40  
Yep. It's really, it's really asking yourself what your, what you're unhappy with or what you're dissatisfied with, and saying, Okay, how can we? How can we make this change? How can we improve what we're up to?

Felipe Engineer  23:55  
Yeah, human creativity. Bruce, as you know, it's one of those forces of nature that seems to be limitless. But I wanted to ask you to, you've had a lot of work recently, I've been following you on social media. You've had some really good interesting posts on tech time planning. Can you tell people that have never heard what tack time is what it is and, and how we're using it today in your practice, and tell people where to find you to like, Where's your Where's your website? How can people get ahold of you?

Bruce Cousins  24:22  
Yeah, yeah, the website is sword integrated building solutions. It's a we have some training videos, there's a tack time video, by the way, on the YouTube, you can look it up, please subscribe, as everyone always says. And we want to we're not making a lot of money on it. At this point. We're just trying to figure out what people need. We have a field version of lean we call lean unpacked, which is done by the product field team at lunch or noon or whenever 15 minute exercises six parts, that we have a little bit of free version of that on the beginning, and an A for subscription version on the on the last three or four. So, yeah, that's thanks for asking that. So yeah, tag planning really is, and I'm getting, I've been aware of it for many years. And it's a part of the Toyota Production System, by the way. And one of the benefits of tax planning is it's basically creating the cadence, or the cadence of a project and project workflow. And so we've gotten closer and closer to production planning, in projects in the last few years. And one of the things I really began to see is that some things, even practice that do the last planner and the other things we're talking about, still have a, you really need to create a much more refined flow of the project. And that's what we do with TAC planning. So we want to get that cadence going. And by doing what what we ended up doing, basically, is we evaluate all the trades, work processes, we ask them how they're doing, we work with them to try to understand what their flow is. And then basically, what we try to do is eliminate all of our eliminate any constraints in the in the flow of their work through the process through the project. So you don't have low overloading in areas and work areas. So it really works. It's important, because construction is location based their location, the attack planning that we talked about, and how we coach it, it's it's really understanding what you're doing with the density of workers throughout a project. And the good news is, and we're talking a lot more about this now with COVID. And the separation of workers is you really want to try to have only a few workers and spaces at a time. And then we we schedule that through the project. certain areas have more more activities than others. And we call that work density. So we evaluate the area with work density, but at the same time, we still only allow certain trades into those areas at certain times to finish their work. Now, it doesn't always work. But it works very, we found that it improves the flow. There's a couple of companies around the country that are doing this now. Bolt is one of them, they just did it on the big Cathedral Hill project with Southland in the Bay Area. And BMW and we're working with a German company called driessen summer, and the product that they developed was a really great last tax planning digital project product that has built in a Kanban board and a variety of other things. And the idea there is that you can balance the workload across a project and, and really create that continuous flow through the project. Looks great. That's a simple explanation. But it's a it's it's working again, another big another company that's using it is or a lot of the pharmaceutical companies BMW, Porsche, a lot of different companies are using it for and And in those cases, they're fairly like a manufacturing facility is fairly straightforward. But we're, we find it best used on like a school or on a hotel. Those kinds of projects, they're very repetitive in terms of their locations.

Felipe Engineer  29:32  
Yeah, there's a good analogy that a lot of I've heard, I've read a lot of papers about it. And we've got some folks experimenting with it that I know some friends of mine, but I like the analogy that people often use, which is talking about the trains. Yeah. Right. So they'll say like it's a train. So you've got like the engine, which is, you know, the the source the goal setting for what the team is trying to accomplish. Like what's the school we're trying to build a school building so that kids can learn And the train might have like a layout crew at the beginning. And then right behind them the next car behind them fueling it could be the the footings or the excavation team, the train train car. And then the next car behind that could be you know, rebar, and then the car behind that could be the the concrete plaisirs of finishers. And then so on and so on all the way until kids are in the school. They're there in the caboose. Right when it's all done. They come right in at the end. I think for those of you not familiar with tact, it's spelled t-a-k-t right, Bruce?

Bruce Cousins  30:37  
Yes. Tea a tea. It's a German word. A German word for its. Yeah. For for cadence basically. Yeah.

Felipe Engineer  30:48  
So I think, yeah, we'll definitely put links to your YouTube channel so that people can check out your video on tact. Yeah, for those that aren't familiar with it, that's an easy do. We have the technology? Bruce, I'll make it happen.

Bruce Cousins  31:00  
We also did, I wrote a paper, the construction blog. What's it called the construction blog?

I wrote a paper on it there. There's Adam franssen, who wrote the initial paper on it. It's quite well covered and in a variety of locations nowadays, in a good way, in an introductory way. So yes, you don't have to boil the ocean.

Felipe Engineer  31:27  
No. And I think another good thing to share with folks, Bruce, and since you've used it with teams, can you can you give us any contrasting information, like what the was typical schedule planned? For the same type of work? And then what did how much benefit to tack time bring to the team like as far as earlier or faster or less? You know, whatever the benefits are? Let me know.

Bruce Cousins  31:49  
Yeah. So they, I'll just tell you quickly, we in the paper that I do have on my YouTube channel, which was a webinar, I basically, when we first started with a 475 unit apartment project down in Santa Clara. And, and we were working on specifically By that time, on the interiors, we'd already done pretty much the shell and, and all that. So that was all finished. But But now we were going to go proceed through the interiors. And the benefit of that was that the superintendent had a lot of work. He's fairly new guy, meaning that he came from he had been a kitchen installer before, and now was a superintendent for the interior. So this whole 475 unit complex. So really what it did for him was it gave him a picture of what he should do next. By working with the trades. So I can't tell you that it saved hundreds of hours. But we did on the on the overall project because we had a whole project. And and a meeting that we had starting from the exterior and all the enclosure stuff, the roofing and so on. So we started way out at the beginning, on the whole project, we made up 120 days of recovery time on that. So that can show you that.

Felipe Engineer  33:20  
That's amazing, Bruce.

Bruce Cousins  33:23  
All the way through. Yeah. So it wasn't just because of tax planning. But so yeah, it's very, it can be very, very beneficial to everyone. And it was in that case, that's kind of why we were called in, because they were behind schedule, and they really needed to figure out a way without throwing more resources at the project, they only have so many resources these days. You can't just load up a project with people, they'll get in each other's way. It's unsafe, all kinds of reasons not to do it. But that has been the traditional way, by the way is that people would say okay, let's call that trade and bring out more people to catch up.

Felipe Engineer  34:03  
I think that you say the traditional way, a lot of people listening, probably nodding their heads, like we still do that today. Like in the construction industry, right, Bruce?

Bruce Cousins  34:13  
We we don't worry, we know. It's like, you know, we're, we're oftentimes as friendly as we can be coaching people that are resisting to the and some of these things, by the way are counterintuitive. They are a little for the first time they're not easy to to get your round if you've been doing it one way for a long time. But what we found is very quickly, people pick up the thing and they realize they're not working all the hours. You know, they're they're less stressed. So, yeah.

Felipe Engineer  34:48  
I remember going to a two day workshop in Berkeley, at ptl. Sal hosted it. And they were teaching tag planning and we got to the part where we were leveling the workload. Yeah, like leveling resources. This was something totally foreign. And there were quite a few superintendents in the mix and some design people, you might have even been there. I was there. Yeah, I feel like you were there with me. Yeah. And, uhh...

Bruce Cousins  35:16  
That way that was put out by Greece in summer, and the same company that developed this. And that's one of the companies that I've seen, I have checked very carefully around the country in the world. And these guys really know what they're doing. And so that's why I've hooked on their train.

Felipe Engineer  35:38  
Yeah, no, it makes a big difference. When you have somebody that's got some reps with the new process to help guide the teams, they can see really quickly where, you know, people don't know what's the next step is so that knows that. That resource leveling was just, you know, out of left field. So we're doing regular last planner, system, five Connect conversations. And then they're inserting this additional conversation where we look at crew size, crew availability, there's a whiteboard involved, their dry erase markers, they get used, and then you figure out the magic of maximize maximizing for flow. And I think it's, it's pretty powerful. And with because it can be location based Bruce, even though like a repetitive hotels, a good example, a residential unit or school, I think when you break, I could see it being broken down by location on any project being very successful.

Bruce Cousins  36:31  
Oh, yeah. Yep. And, you know, when you mentioned that, the process is worked with the trades, you know, the people, you know, the respect for people is the first, our first one of our first ideals of the Lean principles. And that's what we're really working with is we're working with the trades. And if you have ever done a program, there's lean training, there's a thing called the parade of trades. where, you know, after having done that exercise, or that simulation, you know, that you can only do so much work, and, and the roles that you take in that in that exercise by rolling it six or 12. If you don't really get any faster forward, the average roll is 3.5. And that's what we that's why we do the trade leveling the you know, the leveling stuff, is we want to make sure that people aren't ahead of themselves finishing work before that work is ready to go. You know, and it's very deep. It's not just this kind of short, descriptive description. 

Felipe Engineer  37:48  
We're because we're definitely not doing it justice right now. But it's, it's...

We just hope to get some curiosity around trying to do and if you're a superintendent out there listening, or an architect in design, especially in production design, you can definitely apply some of these concepts and and make it a lot easier for your people to deliver the quality that they want to deliver.

Bruce Cousins  38:11  
Yep, yep. So. So yeah, right, this has become one of my favorite things to look at. And because it really solves a lot of problems, I don't just do it just to have a new and shiny thing in front of me. It really is clearly solving problems. But I will say that we still have to start at the beginning with most of our projects, because a lot of people haven't been doing all this stuff. And so these improvements that we benefit from tax planning. It's not that advanced, I must admit to but at the same time, as I say, it really solves problems. It makes things way more production, much more flow and much more efficient. So

Felipe Engineer  39:03  
it definitely does. No, thank you for sharing. And I know that's going to spark a lot of curiosity with folks, and we're gonna have to put links to your paper. We'll figure out a way Bruce to make that available. Yeah. through some creative linking. I'm sure we can.

Bruce Cousins  39:19  
Yep, yep. And we'll have, as I said, the last plan, or 2.0 is a series. It's not just about design. There's, I think, five sections. The interesting thing is last planner has been out there for 20 some years. And so Glenn did what he called a retrospective. And that retrospective really took him through Okay, we've seen this happen and be used for 25 years across the world. What can we do to improve it? And we individually went through with expertise in different areas and tried to figure out the next version of this Last Planner 2.0.

Felipe Engineer  40:08  
Yeah, no, it's great to see it evolving. Like even in the, on the Agile side, the scrum framework and some of the other agile systems that people use, they do get evolved. They do change on some quite regular basis. 

Bruce Cousins  40:24  
Let's see, that's what your great, great champion of agile and Scrum and and have been, are well known around the world now. As a as the innovator in that area. It's very, it's very bad for construction there.

Felipe Engineer  40:43  
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. for construction. There's, there's actually, I'm not sure about the timing when this show is going to be published. But they're we're working on a project with Scrum Incorporated, to do a webinar, that's going to just be construction, Scrum, people sharing stories about how they've used it. And I'm fortunate enough lucky to be a panelist to be speaking about it. My experiences with it over the last half decade plus they can take me around the planet, that's for sure.

Bruce Cousins  41:14  
Yeah, yeah. It's been great.

Felipe Engineer  41:17  
Yeah. So Bruce, is there anything else that we might not know about you that you want to share with people listening, that are thinking about adopting, especially for people and designs, and you have so much design experience? Is there any advice you'd want to give to new designers coming into the construction industry now?

Bruce Cousins  41:37  
Hmm, well, I'd say keep keep your eyes open.

Felipe Engineer  41:42  
There, Siri. So the question verse. Let me let me put Siri to bed for a second. Good night. Siri. The question is for for new designers coming into the industry, or even even older designers listening to the show, like, Hey, I know some older designers listening to show Thank you for listening, make sure you hit that like button. What advice would you give somebody that's thinking about adopting some of these lean methodologies on their work?

Bruce Cousins  42:07  
Yeah, well, for new people, I think design has been taught in the same way for many years, for centuries, almost. Since the bozar, and and all those timeframes and so for, for new people, make sure that you come in with your eyes wide open, there are firms around the country, really good firms, h KS, big firms, little firms canon design, a lot of different firms that are actually using and implementing lean in their design process. And so keep your eye out for that and go learn from them. And for you, older guys, and gals, you know, there's a tremendous amount of opportunity to learn through the design forum, which is basically held twice a year, sponsored by P two SL from Berkeley. And there's one in January usually and one in June. Now that's changed a little bit. We've been doing them virtually now. But But there are some really great resources for engineers, not just architects but engineers are coming to those and and offering and what they do and like the lean Congress, the design forums, etc. They're really offering their personal experience with personal examples. And it's it's a very friendly, and I walk away every time as many years I've been doing this, that we always learn from that few days of meeting with those with everyone. 2020. Congress is going to be virtual.

Felipe Engineer  43:48  
Yep. And Jeff Creighton is the the current chair. He's got a great team. I'm the Scrum Master, helping the team the team did accomplish more than twice the work and half the time. scouts honor, it's an amazing to see LCI adopt Scrum in Congress planning this, this is the second year in a row. They've had that and I've been lucky enough to be asked back twice. If I'm a good boy, maybe I'll be asked back a third time verse. What do you think are my chances? High?

Bruce Cousins  44:17  
Well, you may have to have some disciples come and help you. Like me.

Felipe Engineer  44:23  
Yeah. I think the plan for next year is it's going to Phoenix. It's going to be closer to you might even be able to drive there.

Bruce Cousins  44:35  
I still fly. Drive. Yes. It's not that far. It's about eight hours.

Felipe Engineer  44:43  
Yeah, no, that is good. And have you, Bruce, in your experience, especially now in your practice? What kind of changes have you have you had to pivot with going virtual versus in person?

Bruce Cousins  44:56  
Well, we actually really like it. I think I mentioned before we started that I've used I used to teach and I still do the AGC lean courses. And we just are putting those all online right now virtually. So you can still get the lean cm. We just had a conference this week with all the instructors from around the country. And so your local AGC will offer a virtual course, where you can take the course over I think it's 38 hours and get the lien CME certificate, which is really turned out to be it for me when I first did it, both teaching and learning about it. It's great. It's like a graduate course in lean and it's concentrated. And when I first came through lean, we had a little bit here and a little bit there and it was kind of a mix but what we've what the lean course does at the lean cm through the AGC is and and also, by the way, I will say LCI Shouldn't I don't want to short circuit LCI, but LCI has some really great lean courses. Online, too. So there's, there's a lot of opportunities to learn that you don't have to go out. And so back to your question, I have enjoyed it. Because I can get out and ride my bike here in Santa Fe. Or take a hike with my dog quite easily. He used to take me when I was in the Bay Area, sometimes two hours to get to a job that's only 40 miles away. So I can't say strongly enough that I'm happy not to be commuting to those projects. And I can fly to San Francisco where I add a project recently. In the morning, I get on the plane here and arrive in San Francisco at 8am. and ready to work for a full day at the San Francisco Airport. So there you go.

Felipe Engineer  47:03  
Yeah, yeah. That's that's really good, Bruce. Good, good perspective. And a fast pivot just shows that infinite capacity for changing and creativity. Another positive example, another great data point, to see your, your creativity is unlimited verse, I like that.

Bruce Cousins  47:21  
Well, you know, I'm not the youngest guy in the world. And it just keeps those old brain cells working. You know, I've been doing all this stuff we've talked about with lean, and just setting up the cameras and figuring out what to get and how it works with zoom and how it works. We're using goto meeting a lot. And we also Microsoft Teams on a few of our projects. And so we've, we've, we're learning, it's not easy. We're going to have a workshop in about two weeks in Oregon, which I'm not going to attend physically. But we're putting together all our exercises for that workshop in a lean way. I mean, in a virtual way.

Felipe Engineer  48:07  
Nice. We'll make sure we'll, when you put that out there, Bruce, make, let me know I'm following you on social media, I'll make sure I reshare that for folks, getting a new perspective is priceless. And you know, I would work I wasn't as lucky as you to be exposed to this better way of doing things. So early on, I worked for quite a quite a few many years before discovering these lean concepts and other alternative methods for design and construction. And it's been very transformative ever since.

Bruce Cousins  48:40  
Yeah, I have to give credit to I was with a company called whites construction. At the time, when we first started with BM, I was the national BIM manager leader for for setting up them throughout their company. We have nine offices. And at the same time, we were implementing lean. And so what we did is that three of us, a senior superintendent, myself and another couple, another guy who was the VP of operations, we basically call ourselves managers of continued of operational excellence. And so we go around and on every project and we'd offer our services and if they didn't want it, we'd say okay, we got plenty of other places to go. 

Felipe Engineer  49:29  
So what decade was that? Roughly verse?

Bruce Cousins  49:33  
Well, that was we started I started in 2006, 2007.

Felipe Engineer  49:37  
That's pretty recent. I mean, that was like, in my mind, 2007, 2006 was yesterday.

Bruce Cousins  49:43  
Well, we also that was when the lean Congress was in Boulder, Colorado, and we had some 40 people at the most and this last four years, we've had 1500 to 1600.

Felipe Engineer  49:58  
Almost 2000, Texas breaking record last year in Dallas, Fort Worth and Fort Worth proper? Nearly 2000 people coming together from all over the world? I think they had more than 15 countries represented as well.

Bruce Cousins  50:13  
Yep. Yep. And so I want to just briefly say, shout out to Greg Howe, who passed away just recently. He is one of the co founders of the lean construction Institute with Glen Ballard, and amazing guy. We had some, you know, he just slipped my interests in terms of this stuff, because he was so thoughtful and so generous with his idea. So, and we lost a great guy there, but but he really contributed to this worldwide movement you're talking about?

Felipe Engineer  50:54  
Oh, absolutely. And I think, you know, other people, other thinkers, like allow you goldratt, who's famous for writing the goal. He also published a little paper called on the shoulders of giants. And we're definitely Bruce, you and I are carrying forward some of the things that Greg taught so many people. The outpouring that I saw when it was announced that he'd passed away earlier this year, was unbelievable, worldwide. Yeah, just worldwide people from everywhere.

Bruce Cousins  51:25  
And I was fortunate enough, I went to Ireland last summer for the GLC meeting. And he was there and got to say a few things with him and chat with him a little bit. And there are, there were quite a few other, we'll call senior leaders in the BIM. I mean, the lean thinking there, and it was a great opportunity. I'm thrilled that was at Trinity College, couldn't ask for a better location.

Felipe Engineer  51:55  
Yeah, that's beautiful. I love the way that the you were there. The way that the Irish hosts introduced Glenn and Greg, as the grandfather's of lean. With so much love, reverence and respect was just something that that I keep with me in my mind and think about often. Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. 

Bruce Cousins  52:20  
And, yeah, I mean, just just the way they conducted meetings was so great. You know, where, where you'd have a speaker, they would speak, you would ask people to hold their questions, you give the key takeaways, right on the board, and so on. And then you'd have your questions after that. I mean, just that one little thing was really, which we did it every Congress, by the way, until it got too big to do that.

Felipe Engineer  52:47  
Yeah, yeah, that's been it's become like a worldwide phenomenon, as people like, like Greg Hall and Glen Ballard, and Iris Tomlin, and so many more. Like those of you mentioned, I mean, there's just been in for many different industries to not just in construction, but there are definitely plenty in that space.

Bruce Cousins  53:08  
Yep. It's been a journey. And I'm enjoying it, we were with the speaking of journeys, we were with the original Google headquarters project. That's where I went and joined Turner, and the 40, Niners Stadium, a few things. In fact, on my, on my YouTube channel, I have a little video where I interviewed all of the main people from turn about their experience as on an IPD project, and how they can including the senior Superintendent all the way through to the project engineers. And so that's a good thing to look at. If you're interested in IPD. There's some reality there few reality check.

Felipe Engineer  53:57  
So nice, integrated project delivery, for all of you listening, that are just amazed at all the acronyms that we throw out there. I try to always make sure we say the acronyms at least one time for people that don't know.

Bruce Cousins  54:10  
Right, and that was another thing, by the way, at the at the lead meetings. If you didn't understand something, you raise your hand in the meeting and said, I don't get it. What do you and that was called pull the and on cord, which was taken right directly from Toyota.

Felipe Engineer  54:27  
Yeah. And it's grown it that tradition is grown. Bruce on a closing note to just close it all out. Yeah. I mean, when you and I came together, it was great that we're operating the space through Glenn just basically called his friends and said, we're making this little team to work on last planner, you know, for people using it, to improve it on how people are using it. And just like so many other spaces like the link constructions to and others that you mentioned, at Berkeley and some of these other places where people can come together like idlc Just have like an amazing collaboration. It's a great story. And I think it's not every industry has that luxury of having these little think tanks coming together. Totally voluntary. People like you and I are getting put together, working closely together, forging strong relationships. That's something really positive. It makes me very hopeful. Yeah. But yeah, I just want to thank you so much, Bruce, for coming on the show. You've been a pleasure. 

Bruce Cousins  55:27  
Well, thank you so much for having me. Yeah. And, and my dog didn't bark too much. 

Felipe Engineer  55:33  
No, no, your dog did not. What's your dog's name? Shout out to your dog.

Bruce Cousins  55:38  
I put her in the bedroom, so she wouldn't.

Felipe Engineer  55:41  
Okay. Addy. Addy. Addy was well behaved today.

Bruce Cousins  55:48  
All right. 

Felipe Engineer  55:48  
Bruce, thank you so much. I will stay in touch with you. And yeah, keep on making it better out there.

Bruce Cousins  55:54  
All right, we'll keep going. Thanks very much again.

Felipe Engineer  55:57  
Take care.

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!