Many people start with Lean tools first, most experienced practitioners later focus deeper on Lean thinking, values, and mindset. Stan Chiu is Director of Healthcare for Gensler’s Los Angeles Practice and is a leader in Lean Design and Integrated Project...
Many people start with Lean tools first, most experienced practitioners later focus deeper on Lean thinking, values, and mindset. Stan Chiu is Director of Healthcare for Gensler’s Los Angeles Practice and is a leader in Lean Design and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). Stan firsthand knows and believes in the power of respect for people and continuous improvement. His projects have been recognized for design excellence including National AIA and SCUP Honor Awards. Stan serves on professional and institutional boards including the Lean Construction Institute bringing nearly 30 years of experience in complex projects focused on the Health, Wellness and Education sectors for clients such as Sutter Health, Samsung, UHS, the University of California and the Mayo Clinic.
Follow Stan on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stan-chiu-0890337/
Today's episode is sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). This non-profit organization operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices. Learn more at https://www.leanconstruction.org/
The EBFC Show Intro Music: California by MusicbyAden https://soundcloud.com/musicbyaden
Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/al-california
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/oZ3vUFdPAjI
Felipe Engineer 0:00
Human beings have the ability to create. But the deeper you dive into it, it's more of a co creation. Right? So there's some things that we can control some thoughts, some ideas, my hands have limits to what they can do. I can co create in the environment that I'm in and you put me in different environments, my abilities change based on where I am. So I like that idea of a dance implies that there's a there's a given a take.
Well, it's a bit of I mean, for sure, there's a school of thought, at least in the training of an architect, I would say, the practice to where, you know, you hear words like rigor, and, you know, there's a kind of heroism to regardless of what I encounter, or what feedback I get, I'm just gonna keep going this way. And that's honorable. You know, and that, that that other more nuanced, choreographed thing is, is is is a different deal. So I couldn't do this without you, Felipe.
Felipe Engineer 0:56
Likewise, welcome to the nbfc show, the easier better for construction podcast. I'm your host, Felipe Engineer Henriques. 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. Check the show notes for more information. Thank you, LCI. Now, to the show. Welcome, Stan, how's it going?
Hey, I'm good. I'm good. I'm good. How are you?
Felipe Engineer 1:40
Good, man, it's good to see you.
It's good to see you.
Felipe Engineer 1:43
Thank you for joining me on the the easier better for construction podcast. You know, guests like you are the perfect guest, because you're definitely working to make our industry easier and better for all. And the work that you do touches many, many 1000s of people I know, in your career, you've probably you're probably close to a million person impact. I'm sure if you think about the scope and breadth of jobs you've been on, I bet you're you're over a million people impacted. Wow, I I had not thought of that. Huh? Hey, you may be right. Yeah. So with that, for a while? Yeah, with that, Stan, why don't you introduce yourself to our audience and let them know who is statue.
Felipe, thank thank you so much for for inviting me to this. And, and I don't know that I have all the answers to that. But there are some things I know.
Felipe Engineer 2:37
Give us, give us the things we know for sure.
That I know for sure. I'm an architect. An architect, a husband, a father. And you know, a lot of my work as an architect has been in the healthcare area in our industry, for quite a while now probably going on close to 30 years. And I've gotten to work with some amazing clients who have have are driven to do things better, you know, who, who think about both operations and experience kind of as the at the core of what they do. And some of those clients who've had have introduced me to lean or kind of had an expectation that I would would adopt, would be open to slash adopt that mindset of really, really understanding with those with the values that drive a project are that the building is not a product, but it's a shell either it's almost like a machine, it's a it's a vehicle for doing something else, like delivering health care, it isn't, it isn't the end product, it's just the beginning of of a whole lot of stuff. By like your million people. I mean, it's this sort of ties directly into that, but that's really about what these projects are. It's it's not it's not the building itself. So So from that I've gotten heavy exposure into into lean and design thinking and, and through, you know, people that use Scrum and, and then better ways of doing things through prefab and modularity and design approaches and all that sort of stuff. But But, but in all that, I think that the biggest of big umbrellas is a way to do things better. So rather than legacy based approach of this is our system, and here's how we do it. And we're going to teach you to do things this way. And we don't want you to ever change. There's this improving mindset improving, learning, growing, you know, adapting back to what we were saying before mindset. And so you can always do better. And then at the heart of it, I think when we're at our best it's also organized around a deep kind of respect, care compassion, support for the people who are using these spaces to either do work or or, or have work done for them. Yeah, so absolutely free. We're really lucky in that regard.
Felipe Engineer 4:57
Do our math okay.
No, I feel it. Yeah, there's so many people have been have taught me so much. I mean, it's really it's amazing. It's, I feel really, really blessed. LCI has been a big, big piece of this, I sit on the board of the lean construction Institute and, you know, in that organization has really evolved over the years. And I, I, you know, there have been so many great chapters of this journey. And I'm, I don't know.
Felipe Engineer 5:31
And I want things I know, some of the things I experienced, I know something about you that I pay attention. And luckily, you and I have gotten to share a stage or two and present on different topics. Last one, I think you and I were together on was the design builders to western region. Yeah. Which was great in Napa. Oh, my God. You remember, the wine glasses were like this big. poured a tire wine bottle in a single cup. It was awesome. But I remember you saying something about early in your career. Stan, you worked as a carpenter?
Felipe Engineer 6:08
Yeah, tell people what that's about because that's very unique. I think for someone who's a practicing thriving architect today.
Oh, Felipe. Thank you for remembering that and for asking. Um, yeah, I got out of architecture school. We were there was a pretty good support system for grants for helping students understand what grants are available, you know, and, and even a teeny little bit of coaching too. And I applied for and got a grant to work in Japan, you know, a country that's got a lot of lean associations with it. So I, I, I spent a year there that worked nine months as an architect and kind of a black key office doing museums and concert halls and that kind of work. And then I spent three months working as a traditional Carpenter on a on an island off Kobe. And, and the thesis of the grant was to think about the role of the architect and the ability to predetermine an outcome, you think very simplistically that that, you know, what one view the world could be that we architects have pre determined every single outcome about a building and somehow in the Immaculate determination, there's also an immaculate kind of delineation. So every one of those outcomes is perfectly captured and, and illustrated, and then maybe even directed, you know, if you're really out there, and that conception, that maybe was even born in like a cave somehow just comes to fruition, through the 10,000 other people that somehow understand that that vision, and that was really interested in know, there's some Japanese aesthetics where the artist or is not, is both? Yeah, you know, heavily influenced, you know, hand of the artist very strong, but also not fully independent. You know, there's, there's something maybe in ceramics that happens in the kiln or in fabric making that happens in the weaving may not be the best example. But it makes sense to me, where the artist has, there's an interplay between what the artist is doing, and mingay is kind of a I think, if I remember, right, I wrote the grant really around that and thinking about that spirit in Japanese culture, where it's not about perfection, as it's not about absolute control of the artist, it's about the interplay. And there's something about me, that tends to be a little object focus, but there's something about the object that reveals not just the artist, but also the material and something about the culture and sort of bigger messages and complexity, all in this simple thing. And, and so I wrote about that, and how interesting it might be to go to Japan, and experience that from in the way architecture is modeled in the ways of an of a modern system, you know, for an office that does concert halls, and in the ways of a traditional system, you know, building a house in a forest on an island. That was amazing. That was a pretty great experience. Yeah, and for sure, in both of those, in fact, I would say the seeds of my kind of lean exposure were were were were sown in that year, both in the, you know, live in this fast paced life in Tokyo working at a high powered office and on this island, working with a carpenter and in each of those, the, the interplay between the, the, the designing and the doing was really different than I had then I believed and had experienced in working in the US and, and there's kind of adaptability this. Philippe steers right back to when you and I were, were were just talking the ability to adapt and be nimble and be flexible. and adjust to two, but not to not to just let go and, and, you know, float around and not have any kind of steerage in us but but to really, you know, have a kind of dance and choreography, whatever it is that you're doing.
Felipe Engineer 10:16
I like that metaphor stages, the dance and choreography, and I like to play in agile methodologies. And my daily work is we need each other. And it's like listening to your talk, the more you talk, the more that there's no silo between our disciplines. Like, you have to do things, we have to do things. So we take that same approach sometimes, like we have to build it no matter what. Yeah, right. The client night is paid for us with our expertise and our teams of people to come in and make it happen. And, you know, create from, from thinking and talk and idea to reality. And you guys think the same exact thing?
Yeah, yeah, I think when we're at our best that that really is, and I one thing I love about Lean is the is just the focus on value, what is the best we can do? You know, and I think the good bits of that, that rigor word are really about that, you know, how can we, how can we understand more essentially, what's driving this project? And then what skills and you know, resources and alternative materials do we have to bring to create to support what those needs are?
Felipe Engineer 11:16
It's great to have constraints to increase our creativity.
Yeah, right. Including a schedule, including a schedule.
Felipe Engineer 11:24
Including a budget, let me throw that in including a budget. Yeah, I have all the money in the world. Yeah, well, yeah. No, that's, uh, that is really interesting. And you and I think we first met, it was 2016, I had just come into this role. And somehow we got connected.
I don't even remember how I do remember, a lot of people say you got to meet Felipe, you got to feel like it was a small army of forces filling media.
Felipe Engineer 11:52
That's, that's that used to be, that's awesome. But I got to spend time with one of your offices and people in your office, we're practicing Scrum. And you guys had read the Jeff sutherlands book, The Art of doing twice the work and half the time. And we did a little lunch and learn. There were some familiar faces there and some new faces. And I just thought, like, I've died and gone to heaven, where all these people are coming to talk about something that is really interesting to them, and that they could see it in their own work. And it was just yesterday, was helping the team, the team had a choice. They're doing a basis of implementation. And they said, we can use a traditional Gantt chart schedule, critical path method, waterfall schedule, or last planner system production controls pull planning, or we can use Scrum. And it was the McCarthy people that said, let's try Scrum. I thought, Wow, look at how much has changed in five years. And I was like, Are you sure? So we did it? We? Yeah, we got a team together. We had five architects, three general contractors on the phone and one scheduler, and we scrubbed a process for programming. So for those so, you know, I don't know to give the really good definition, Stan, but what's a high level definition of programming with a client that so people could understand? You know, tell tell the general contractor who's on the phone, or listening in? What's program? What do owners do in programming?
Well, it's, um, if someone was just telling me the, I think it was Nate was saying, you know, really all we do is take words and these abstract thoughts and concepts and turn them into physical things like walls and doors. And programming is probably is the front end of that process where the abstract concepts to create an integrated to create a teaching methodology that's based on an integrated care model. So we're going to teach doctors and nurses and pharmacists together, that's what we want to do, you know, and, and in during programming, that vision gets turned into rooms into spaces with with adjacencies, and circulations and technical needs, and, and all in code implications and all that sort of stuff. It's not designed, but it's sort of the basis the thing that drives the design, probably it's it's one of the least certain moments in a project. So the points were the biggest opportunity and you know, correspondingly the biggest risk.
Felipe Engineer 14:32
Yeah, we asked the team, like, how important is this, what we're doing this piece of work, and the team said that the client will use this to decide whether this job goes forward or gets put on the shelf and forgotten.
Yeah, that was a big deal. If it touches if it contributes towards touching the million people or if it ends, it's seven.
Felipe Engineer 14:51
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Two hours later, we had a plan self assigned across Functional team was born. And off they went.
And we revealed as we suspected, the design was further along than we thought, in ways that were good or neutral, or bad or hard to tell. No,
Felipe Engineer 15:13
I couldn't tell because I couldn't see anything. It was just verbal. But it seemed to be the right things were being done, which was good. Like, I always tell people, there's when you use these agile frameworks or lean, it's not what the heavy hand, you do the things that people like, people intuitively know what should be done, and are almost always doing it. And there's always little system checks and changes that allow the work to flow better. We have micro adjustments are really important. Exactly. People said, like we had conversations in the session that we probably never would have had until we were way too far along. And would it would be hard to change course because it'd be too baked. Yeah. So this was really, this was exciting. I was like, Ah, yeah, I didn't record it. But I did take some some still shots up.
And we revealed as we suspected, the design was further along than we thought, do you think there's a framework that you could kind of pick up and then use for you know, 80%, 80% of another programming exercise?
Felipe Engineer 16:13
I wonder how much dough yeah, you can use, I've told teams like if you have work to do. So this is the fundamental requirement, if you have work to do, you have to be done. And the work is not trivial. So you have at least four people or more working on it. So you have some complications are complex, complicated, because you have multiple people involved have different specializations. You're in the ideal framework for a scrum implementation, like your team could Scrum. And that I've seen teams pick it up like day one, we're going to work this way. I've seen people pick it up at like, we're struggling, we need help. And we've tried other things, and it didn't work. And they try it and it gets them over the finish line. But I've seen everything in between. I've seen teams use lash planner system and Scrum together. So like in the big room, the construction team design team that the colocation they're using last planner, and especially probably on the milestone side. Then they take the little take something back to the team and say, Alright, we've committed to this seems on my experience that we can get this done in, you know, three weeks, or whatever it is, they go back to their team and the team that actually does the work breaks that apart in the scrum framework. That makes sense. Yeah, I've seen that happen, too. With architects. Yeah, yeah. And I've seen construction teams using it for traditional project management type functions like contracting, purchasing, estimation, pre construction, constructability reviews, onboarding people. There's a lot of places to use it.
Yeah, what you were just describing, that's something, a, an opportunity that has been solved yet. And a lot of the the last planet work that I've done, it's, it's, or that I've been part of, it's a, it's really prevalent in the integrated team, you know, so they, the designers, and the contractors, you know, trade partners, engineers, architects, everybody working together, and then once you get within your own organization, which for an architecture team, there's a bit of a, it kind of drops off, you know, we make commitments to the bigger team and then internally, quite frequently, we we we, we don't track the work at the same level that we track the the work that we're giving, we don't treat ourselves as partners.
Felipe Engineer 18:35
And that it's fractal Stan is frac.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I have been on jobs, we pulled that back into the office and pull planned our own work to coordinate with some of the stickies the tasks that might show up on the group plan would then become milestones for the internal work. But more typically, we just kind of drop it at that point, and just kind of I will get it done. And then it's evenings and weekends, and rework and all that sort of stuff. We can work around to make sure that we're delivering for our partners, as opposed to tracking the work and leveling and monitor leveling.
Felipe Engineer 19:12
I mean, I'll tell you right now, people will appreciate leveling the work stamp, especially the workforce today. You know, right now, with the there's a pandemic afoot, it is 2020 we're still in the first year of the pandemic. And burnout is something that there's been a lot of lot of conversation about a lot of different firms, both in design engineering, construction and trades. The people doing the work it's it's even owners I've talked to some owners have told me about how you know, they're they're feeling burnout with just all the things that the uncertainty and what's happening and and then we have some teams are just operating like super smooth, like there's nothing like there's no pandemic and we're like, what are they doing? You know, they're often doing lean, good doing so. something they've put their mindset on. They're using these, these very collaborative frameworks and the stress level on those teams is just radically different. So it's put us put a lot of this one positive thing about the pandemic, it's really opened up a lot of people that were in the traditional ways of working, and they couldn't think of an alternative way to work that, oh, man, there are different ways, especially with teams that were co located not having to be hybrid or completely isolated, you know, that people have found ways to collaborate.
Yeah, I mean, the bad news, while there's a lot of bad news in our conservation, yeah. But it's, it's for sure. You know, if you think of Felipe who really built what we're talking about the complex complication versus complexity at that DBI event, event, if if, if the old model was the complicated model, a lot of things that you could predict, but things that were predictable and would work in a way that you could you that was rational and understandable versus complexity, you know, Lean and Agile are so good at adapting and supporting that complex system. And this right now really is a complex system. You know, are we going to be meeting face to face in three weeks? Maybe, but maybe not, you know, in three months, probably, but not for sure.
Felipe Engineer 21:18
You know, right. Right. And then if somebody, you know, gets infected, and they're in a place where it's a 14 day quarantine, losing that person for two weeks unexpectedly, is unpredictable. Yeah. How do you plan for that? So if you had, if you had a system in place already, where you had cross functional people, then you can with leveling the work, you can adapt? Right? Yeah, companies that are doing that are going to come out of this much better than those that had extremely specialized people.
Yeah. Yeah, that we're working very independently from, from one another. I mean, I do have, I continue to have an appreciation for the simplicity of that. That more siloed system, where there, it appears that you have better control because there are fewer parts, or it appears that the parts actively but but my experiences, it's just isn't that way in our industry, honestly, in the world. There's more more complexity going on right now than there ever it's, it's time for it's time for a complex adaptive, adaptive system is is bigger now. And then maybe it ever has been
Felipe Engineer 22:24
ever before. And I tell people, like you all have ever won up on this, like, a lot of people struggle with systems thinking or design thinking those, those tend to be a little synonymous. Right, is that that's okay to say, right?
I think so. Actually. Yeah, yeah, completely. Yeah.
Felipe Engineer 22:40
So then those those two synonymous things, you know, say like you're living, breathing complex system yourself, like just even talking to you, like, I can see you've got either tea, or water and coffee, you got inputs coming in, your eyes are also taking in information and you're listening, a lot of things going on with you, you're digesting, like, it's very, it's interesting. I'm the same way like I've got my, my afternoon coffee and play, right. I'm also listening, feeling I've got air movement in here, a lot of things going on. And we're still can be in the same mental model. And talking about these concepts, these ethereal concepts are like design programming. And it's fascinating. And we're doing it through a medium that's totally binary.
Yeah, that is a bizarre construct here, right? Yeah. Cuz because in a way, it's probably not too big a step to think about adaptability, and, and relativism kind of in the same, the same area, you know, that that one thing is always related to something else. And I guess the purity of the binary is kind of the opposite of that, right? Where it's either it's either, or one. Yeah.
Felipe Engineer 23:53
Have you get nerdy because I was electrical engineer at one time. You see what binary looks like as a as a function? And it's not so on off like you think it is? Ah,
I believe it. I don't have that firsthand knowledge of it.
Felipe Engineer 24:08
But can I believe that? So it's fascinating. But, you know, one cool thing that I think that brought us together is that we both share a similar idea about Lean and that it's a mindset of the most simplistic statement is that things can be better.
Felipe Engineer 24:24
And you mentioned learning a few times in the beginning, you talked about this learning, growing, caring model, and specifically what you're doing in healthcare. Yeah, a lot of people get really hung up on what is lean. There's probably as much bad information about what it is then what it is right. And someone asked me early on is just after we had met in 2016. People are REL regularly asking me, how do I know when I'm lean? That question has gone away like something happened in the environment where no one no one cares anymore.
Maybe because it's been accepted or discarded. But hopefully they accepted.
Felipe Engineer 25:05
I can't tell. But I can tell you that the questions gone, like in 2016, a lot of people asking how do I know what I'm lean? And then it's zero now. And this, this past couple months, a lot of people have said, you know, what's a good lean tool to use? So people are back to looking at tools again. Yeah. What do you think about that, Stan?
Yeah, it's tough. I mean, I think in my own journey, there was a, you know, curiosity interest hungrier for, for lean stuff. And it was easier to identify, just like buildings, it's easier to see them as objects instead of vehicles, it's, it's easier to identify the tools is the stuff. So I went deep on that, which was great. That was, that was pretty awesome. But it, it it for me, part of that experience was realizing, okay, the tools alone are not lean, you know, that there was a mindset thing going, that was harder to understand, or that I didn't understand as well in the beginning. And, and I really have circled back. Knowing that, really, it's a balance of both, and the tools will continue to evolve to evolve, probably the mindset too. But I really like you know, toilers, there are two core values of respect for people and continuous improvement, you know, I kind of when I get when I, it depends on who I'm talking to you. But that sometimes is a good way of explaining it, that the people who are doing the work know the best way to do the work, you know, you respect the people who are there doing the work, and then you also respect to your teammates, and that cross functional team and, and that the best idea about the way of building is organized may come from the electrical engineer, you know, or the general contractor. So, even though the architects been trained to do that, that doesn't mean you're the only one who generates those ideas. Same thing about a distribution strategy, right? And then the other one, that that learning that continuous improvement Kaizen, that's such a, what a powerful thing in life, as opposed to, I went to the school, I learned this thing. Now I'm set, I'm just going to rinse and repeat.
Felipe Engineer 27:11
Oh, my God, it was like a big TPS Toyota Production System fan. And we used to talk about how important it was and and I said, it's the big thing right now, but I'm keeping my eyes open in case something else comes and something can emerge from that. Right? And things emerge all the time. Because Because of complexity, like, even you have inspiration, where does your inspiration come from? You can't even answer it, can you?
Well, yeah, candy, we, we, you know, Diggy, Christian, etc, is is, is introduced, you know, this idea and others, this idea of the design being ideation and production, you know, it's like, oh, of course, you know, we're designers, we do have these different roles, depending on whether we're creating stuff or making packages for, you know, for our partners or for Ha's, or for clients, or construction, you know, so even in the front end, even during programming, programming, there's a lot of ideation going on. There's also some production, and the TPS is a great example of a production, right the P system that's really optimized for, for reliability. And in production. The ideation goals are, reliability is one of them. But But I would say creativity and maximizing value, you know, is is, well, maybe you could say maximizing value is one that stretches that spans both on the production side, it's through the elimination of waste. On the ideation side, you maximize value through through through creating more innovation, you know, it's through, through adding more stuff, say said based designs are pretty, pretty well known Toyota ideation tool. And if you looked at it from a production standpoint, all those extra alternatives because they don't make it to the final product or waste. So through the TPS lens SPD is great acronyms. TV production. Yes, that base design really is riddled with waste. But from a from, you know, if your goal is is innovation service design is a phenomenal tool. a phenomenal process.
Felipe Engineer 29:17
Yeah. And they use both.
They use both. Yeah, and they use both they use both. Yeah, cuz it's, it's one size does not fit all, you know, your your TPS is optimized for production. It's not optimized for ideation.
Felipe Engineer 29:33
They use both. Like I use both people always ask like, are you? Are you just at war with waste? And I was like, no, no. And earlier in my career, I used to think like, yeah, if I just eliminate waste, I'll be lean and, and then later in my career, it's like, oh, if I really understand the mindset, I'll be able to just pull the tools and processes as needed. And sometimes it's not a waste thing. Sometimes it's the other parts?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, I remember, it was in Roseville. But another early Sutter job. You know, we were we were getting, we were spending a lot of time looking at TPS and the mentality on that project for a period of time for sure was, you want to get rid of options, you know, you want to pick your option as early as you can, because the longer you keep those options, the more wasteful the more waste you're generating. And that that led us to Kennedy to the blue book, which kind of pull, you know, pull, help pull the awareness of step based design and and last responsible moment and delaying that because you want more innovation, not eliminating it or reducing it because you want less ways, right?
Felipe Engineer 30:45
Yeah, I've heard teams that are dabbling in sub base design will get told by the client. And it seems like the clients just all go to the same client school to become. I always come with the wild card of Hey, today team, you're 20% over budget, so figure it out. Right? Don't they all come with? Like, we should ask if we dig me like, hey, at what point do you pull that card that were over budget?
Oh, we're giving a presentation next week for a Hanson Wade conference. And it's it shows the trajectory of pricing and uncertainty. And it always goes up to a problem and then turns...
Felipe Engineer 31:26
So called problem. So called problem. The clients are drunk and introduce a problem. That's totally cool. Yeah.
I'm sorry, I just believe I still died yet.
Felipe Engineer 31:38
No, it's just totally funny. I'm just laughing thinking about all the, in my mind, I'm remembering all the times I heard the owners, they were over budget, it's so many times, damn. That's why I'm laughing. And and you know, now when it happens, do you see that the newer people on the team with not as much experience, they see it as like a really negative thing. And like, people that are lean minded have been around a little bit. They get excited, they're like, Oh, it's time to, it's time to, you know, maybe we could get a three out of this. We could, oh, yeah, opportunity to do something.
Well, a little bit of our thesis for next week is as understanding goes up, you know, the impacts of everything, you're, you're capturing more, so pricing tends to go up, you know, your your cost understanding goes up, the price tends to go up. And, and, and, you know, lagging behind that a little bit are the opportunities to bring it back down. And yeah, and then, you know, one band than the other bands and you start coming back down into alignment. You converge.
Felipe Engineer 32:32
Yeah, I always tell the client like don't worry, at the end of the project when you start operating the building. That's what we'll know. All the final costs.
Yeah, eventually we'll know. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Felipe Engineer 32:45
But it's good. I mean, so that's, uh, it's interesting. Have you been on this Lean journey? You call it a journey? I think that's the right terminology. Right? There's no, you've arrived. Right? And there are people do you get, like younger new people to your firm asking for guidance on where to start with lean? What do you tell those people?
Boy, I'd say it's a it's a good question. Felipe, thank you for asking, you know, I have a I feel like I've kind of, it's easier. I think it's either an evolution or a pattern, pattern, pattern, a pattern, a pattern, a pattern of just a lightweight, kind of just reminder of where we are as an industry, you know, how we're how we perform. And, you know, and if you look at, you know, different measures of productivity, or stress levels, or reliability, or, you know, all those sorts of things. It's pretty quickly, and it's, it's brutal, but the, the exhibits keep to keep reinforcing the same message, which is design and construction. We're big, but we could do better, you know, right. Yeah. So, so I tend to like a little bit of that. So and, and, and so it's a level set and part of that level set, you know, we're big, we can do better. And there are other ways of doing things. So one thing that might be interesting is just to consider how other industries organize themselves, how they approach things. So not necessarily we're bad, we need to change but more like, hey, they're, they're having more success doing similar type stuff is as we are, let's have a look, you know, so that that's, there's kind of a level set thing. And then there's a there's a if it's designers, if you know, it's thinking about some conversations I've had recently about, you know, tell me about Lean and how do I get started, it's, it's, I will commonly break ideation from production. For architects especially, that's a very powerful idea, because a lot of the lean understand that we have is based on production TPS, and some of those issues don't play well with with ArchiCAD text, you know, period.
Felipe Engineer 35:04
I've heard I've heard phrases like, Don't cheap in my design. Don't try so fast. Yeah, I faster is not better. Yes. Coming to ideas.
Yeah. Yeah. And if if you accept that that ideation is different than production and the lean ideation tools are different, and then it's, it's kind of an easy bridge to, on the lean ad ideation side, it's all about how do you how do you have more creativity, more innovation, more opportunity for research for exploration? You know, and, and that, when I'm talking to designers, that's a, that that tends to be pretty resonant.
Felipe Engineer 35:40
Yeah, we were talking about this with with folks. And I was saying that, you know, when when clients ask for target value delivery, it's a whole host of things that are going to happen, like, you know, you're going to be doing sub base design, you know, you're going to do cost modeling, you might for extra credit, do continuous estimating. There's a lot of cool things that happen. And then one of the things that I think that I see a lot of enthusiasm from the design, community design engineering for target value delivery, because you have this whole idea of supporting that ideation at a very high level, right? Yeah. But let's slow down, let's take our time. But then what comes out of it is the team can like race to the finish line, because so many things have been considered decisions have been made and, and sound ways. So that's really exciting to see.
Oh, yeah, it's, it's amazing. It's almost like the design is an illustration, capture of all of those ideas and decisions. Right? You know, it's like everybody's talking about the same abstract thing. And then the designers bring design tools to make that into a design. And the cost side, same thing, schedule side, same thing, you know, constructibility, same thing, you know, but every it's based off the same idea said, Not often design that people are putting ideas onto. Right?
Felipe Engineer 36:58
Yeah, it's really cool to see how it and it does involve way more people. But yeah, get prime trades getting involved in early and constructability. conversations happen before. Mouse hits computer screen.
Felipe Engineer 37:15
I need another metaphor for pencil to paper.
Yeah, yeah, and I gotta tell you a prefab just dials that up, we're doing a study for sort of the ultimate, you know, if speed to market, we're concerned, and you are going to develop a pretty major healthcare oriented campus, then one of the things you might consider is, is is pre fabbing stuff, so that you could do concurrent work and you know, site development underground, all that, well, the panels, modules, all that stuff are being being made someplace else, and then you bring the, the prefabbed bits onto the site ready bit, you know, assemble it all together. So that that job, that study is really driven by constructibility by cranes and staging and, and, and being able to transport and, and swing these big things around. That's a great example of those ideas that that rubric kind of being worked out before. Pen hits paper mouse hits pad. Because that's what drives the design. Not, hey, we've designed this now, how can we prevent it?
Felipe Engineer 38:37
Right? Yeah, right. There's a big difference. And then for the clients, it seems like hospitals, create more hospitals. So in communities where there are health centers, they come in pairs or triplets can tell. Like even the town that I live in, there are four major hospital systems here in town.
Cat and their big two, they are big, you know, yeah. You would be interesting to compare the concentration of healthcare in Roseville to like Los Angeles.
Because I bet you have access to higher quality care that I do.
Felipe Engineer 39:17
Yeah, I mean, I could definitely get there with less traffic than you. I mean, that's guaranteed everything in LA is around traffic.
Yeah. Yeah, we haven't I mean, Roseville. I don't really know, the market there. But I imagine that, that the competition and you know, those sorts of things are, I guess, maybe producing results in a good way, you know, creating more quality and capacity and all that for for its residents in a way that we just haven't seen at the same time.
Felipe Engineer 39:47
Yeah, I mean, there's definitely some some innovation and changes and it seems like you know, once one of the healthcare systems builds in a new lovely campus, the others have to upgrade their stuff and they're, they're competing And getting better. And I've even seen, I was I was out to lunch in Sacramento, the other it was two years ago, out to lunch with a friend. And we were, coincidentally Stan, we're going to an architect's office. I mean, just pure coincidence, me and my friend, he was a pre con director. And we're at launch and I'm wearing one of my lean shirts that has respect for people continuous proven on the chest. And a nurse comes up to me, they're chatting, like, we see she's wearing her her scrubs, having lunch, and we're right by solder, solder hospital. And she's working, she's got solder logo on her under scrubs, she comes over and says, Hey, I just I don't interrupt, but I really like your shirt. And I was like me. And she said, She's like, I'm in charge of continuous improvement for my group. Those and she's like, those principles on your chest are exactly what we're trying to make and bring to life with our people. That respect for people and continuous improvement and, and so that we can have better patient outcomes. Yeah. And she's like, what do you do for a living? We started talking, and my friend was just like, wow, he's like, your shirt does work. And I was like, No, that is like, I wear it. Because those are the two values that are hard to live. So by having me it's a little visual management for myself to remind me Why? And how can I do it? Right?
Yeah, this is cool.
Felipe Engineer 41:33
The, you know, you're in, you're in a town of 1000s millions of people, and then someone recognizes what those are. And we start talking about how we're doing the same type of work, where at the, at the early part, she's already at the patient care part, or they're already generating revenue, and providing good health and health improvements for folks. And those just warmed my heart, Stan.
So even just hearing about his war with mine, yeah, and arguably, you two were in completely different industries. Sure, for sure there's overlap, but you could argue that boy pate caring for a patient and, and pouring a concrete deck had nothing to do with each other. And there you are, the routes are exactly the same approach the same system, the same mindset.
Felipe Engineer 42:20
The mindset spans across, you know, education, healthcare, many different industries, software, design, engineering, and other industries are really embracing that, you know, it's funny, there's a lot of health education in my diet right now.
And team based care and how you how you train, people are going to be providers to collaborate with each other, you know, the old school model is there was a department and you went to that department, you got your education, and you came out and you knew everything within your wheelhouse. And now, you know, people talk about these t t shaped skills where you've got shallow amount of knowledge over a very broad area, and then in your own particular area is very deep, but you've got a bit of knowledge about what the rest of your team is doing so that you can function in a team and, and, and be cross functional. and educating people in that system. Holy crap. It's really hard. It's nuts.
Felipe Engineer 43:19
Yeah, it is hard. And like when do people that's what people say in, like, in the lean startup, there's, you're starting a business, there's times where you work in the business, and then time you should be working on the business. Yeah. And they're not the same thing. Yeah, yeah. The same for you know, once you have a functioning hospital, and you're providing patient care, how much time do you spend making that better? versus just maintaining and keeping people coming through the system?
Yeah, yeah, I would imagine, you know, the mindset, I believe the mindset, it's this kind of like, you know, the ability to hold to not necessarily competing cost, which is really different things, you've got to have a set of standards and protocols, licensing demands that so you have a legacy is a big word, but you have a kind of legacy, you know, standard work that you're working from, and you're also working to improve and change and respond and upgrade that standard work. So and if you didn't have the standard work, it'd be cast, you could do anything, but if you never, if you never improved it, you'd go out of business. Exactly.
Felipe Engineer 44:31
Yeah, no. It's a good concept, Stan, like that's, uh, we like in the in our industry, that we're a little jealous that some of the other industries have a longer history of standards. Yeah, we're even though we have we have tradition, you can almost see it as like as the same thing. But it's not the same. Where do you start to do the improvement? Usually, when you're with a group of people that want to improve something, the first thing that people tend towards is like, let's create a standard.
Yeah, right. And it's not is the right solution?
Yeah, it's a simpler, you know, back to complication versus complex. It's, it's it's simpler to have that mindset to consolidate, centralize make a library of best practices and then distributed, maybe you've been assigned a person or a department over that that's in charge, maybe you approach QA QC that way. So everything gets run through that one resource slash bottleneck.
Felipe Engineer 45:28
We've asked people like we recently our company's been around for a long time. And we we did a move, like so many companies did have our size, were recruited to like the centralized knowledge system. And we thought, you know, if you build it, they will come like people just come and consume it. And then later we, we looked at updating that system, we did a survey. And just by chance, there was a question on the survey that said, How do you best learn new information, and then it was multiple choice. And it said, person to person, you know, all the way down to use the internet. Like, including, like go off site for professional training? And the number one answer was person to person? Yeah. It was like a landslide. It was like 99%. Yeah. Yeah. Like to learn from other people.
Yeah, yeah. A system that that facilitates those connections, and maybe even harvests harvests knowledge collection, slash curates, you know, as as a part of that, I think, is a great system, where you're really about connecting person to person and where you can, you're trying to without disrupting that connection, you're trying to say, Oh, that is a better way of detailing a window. You know, let me grab that and hang on to it. Yeah, I mean, I, for me, I probably the fastest way to get information is when somebody somebody will say you gotta go talk to Felipe. Yeah. And it's connecting me with the knowledge. And then I get a download. And some of that is all the Sutherland book that you know, you're kind of pointing out these resources, and I go and get it for myself.
Felipe Engineer 47:06
Yeah, but it's Yeah, you start with phone a friend. It's a good, a good place to start. Like I recently was doing some work with Scrum make. And I had to look at the Agile Manifesto from a designer's eye and the constructors I. And I said, Why would I just imagine myself as a designer, let me just call some designers. So I called a handful of architects and man who was I was so glad that I did. It just made it made the conversation so and then when I went back to Scrum week, and so this is what I asked five people, these are the five things that they said. And it looks like there's a, an emergence of this idea here. Because it was about what do we say instead of working software? we don't we don't do software? Yeah. Right. So some really cool stuff come out of that. And I did it myself, I found a friend Nick was doing with me, they're like you're connected to the construction industry. Your your our phone, a friend, and then some an iPhone, a friend. So it took about, you know, eight people, but we got something that really resonates with folks. The other team is it's an agile, they said one of their four values was that how people work together was more important than process and tools. Yeah, people and interactions is what they call it, the value of people and their interactions. And you think about that, like how do we engage each other? That's really powerful. Like, I'm sure you've facilitated a few meetings in your life, right? With like stakeholders, and the way you approach them sets the tone for Am I going to get the information I need? Or are these people going to withhold information? Is this a safe place to share ideas? Or should I have already been told I can't talk?
Yeah, yeah, I remember, I think it was Rex Miller saying, to me, that's the first thing when you start an engagement is to understand is this a? Is this a learning organization, or I'm forgetting the second word, it was probably legacy, something like that, you know, but it's learning then safe environment where sharing information is good. And you don't always have to be right or the smartest, versus legacy or he I bet there was a word that was much more about protection and display of knowledge and that kind of that kind of thing.
Felipe Engineer 49:26
I do a survey this morning, like right before your call. We had 25 people on the phone and we asked a simple five question survey. And we said, Do you feel that in your work environment? failure is a vehicle for learning or failure as a consequence, we can't allow really it people overwhelmingly said it's learning and I Wow, that's a great change. Yeah, that that I was super happy and we didn't bias them. Like I kept my mouth shut while they were doing the survey. So they didn't think like You know, Philippe, he wants you to pick this answer.
Yeah, I think I mean, I think that mindset is gonna just take us too far, you know, we're so vital and important right now. Now, the world really needs more, more better, better access to health care, and we got homelessness going on, you know, the education facilities, a lot of the stuff that the world needs people like you and I can help provide, right, the built environment is, is one of the big tools to make this stuff better.
Felipe Engineer 50:29
I don't know that some of the things you were talking about even beginning of this call, how you were on a campus that was trying to integrate with the environment better?
Felipe Engineer 50:39
It's not like, here's the campus stand alone. And then here's the environment, it's the kind of blend you're blurring those lines a lot more. And I love to see, you know, right, wrong, or different people have strong opinions on sustainability and climate change and all those things, but just looking at how we integrate more with the environment, like I like to feel more connected to where I am, you know, rather than looking at being inside of a fishbowl and looking out into something. Yeah. And I'm talking to you, you're outside. I mean, you're out there.
Well, we're, we're right now, one of the things we're studying is a naturally ventilated hospital, you know, which totally with operable windows in it, you know, in a, from a pandemic infection control standpoint, that totally makes sense, but it's kind of heresy. I know, I'm not aware of any of those in the United States.
Felipe Engineer 51:29
I've never seen the hospital where I can open a window unless it was a legacy building of over 100 years old.
Yeah, that's Yeah, that's fair.
Felipe Engineer 51:36
I think I've seen a couple of them. Don't you see, the windows are nailed shut? Yeah.
Oh, that's fresh. Yeah, if you think from a from a interface with the planet standpoint, we're sort of transitioning from, you know, this Manifest Destiny deal where we can just do the harm we want. And there are resources for us to use. And that's our role to, to kind of get more hippocratic do no harm, you know, and in in that I think that's kind of where we're trying to be as an industry, there's some, our work will not negatively impact things. And the big step forward from that would be our work positively impacts things. Because we're doing this project here, the watersheds better or, you know, carbon emissions go down or not just we're not making it worse, but we're actually making it better.
Felipe Engineer 52:24
Right? Yeah, that is that's, please do that.
Well, there's probably somewhere those old, those things we've been orbiting around respect for people continuous improvement, you could probably take that same mindset and apply it to, you know, relationship to the planet.
Felipe Engineer 52:40
And somebody hit me up the other day, they're like, You talk a lot about Scrum, like, yeah, la Scrum. And then it seems like you know, something about Lean. And the question was, what do you think about Lean and sustainability? And I said, Oh, just so I'm glad you asked. I said, it just so happened to have a friend that runs a website, James, who, you know, the ni, PD and I said, he asked me the same question. And I wrote an article for him and published it. Because like, I think that, like you said it exactly the to go hand in hand. They're not separate things. If you have a respect for people, and you think things can be better, and you can improve all the time, we do need to apply that to how we build, right? We're not gonna stop building.
Yeah, we're not gonna stop building and I think there's a business advantage. You know, to me, the The great thing about Lean is, you know, if you're driven by quality, frequently, an unintended outcome is it's a more efficient practice that costs less money as well. Right now, same thing on the sustainability side, the groups that will figure out how to do that effectively are going to be very successful financially. So you know, I for sure, I believe it's the right thing to do. There's also a great financial opportunity in this too.
Felipe Engineer 53:52
Yeah, there is. Absolutely is. That's really great. Stan, I can't believe how time flies so fast. Ah, we are I don't want to take up so much more of your time I need to let you go back and, and build a design the next great thing with your team. So make sure that as I was telling the team the other day to like, think about doing Scrum, so you have more time to design Yeah, give you back some more time.
That's a very powerful message for the day.
Felipe Engineer 54:22
No, so you share that with your teams and as always stand you can call me anytime you like.
I think I may be tapping you sir for some advice about about staging this prefab thing. I'm realizing I phone a friend thing is high in my mind.
Felipe Engineer 54:37
Yeah, I know some people that are really deep into that and have a lot of great experience there. So there you go.
Yeah, we can definitely if I can't answer your question, I can connect you with one more call to someone that can only pay. Thank you. Thank you so much for your time and for for holding these shows. This is fantastic and moving. The industry where it really is going to benefit everybody. So I really appreciate you doing that.
Felipe Engineer 55:03
Yeah, I want people to be excited, Stan, there are a lot of people like yourself that are working in this industry to make it better and it's a great place to work is a great spot to be in. And there are people all over Planet Earth that are listening in right now. And they're in this industry where they're thinking about it. Come on in. Come on in. So thank you so much, Stan. Have a great rest of your day. And I'll catch up with you really soon.
Okay, thanks, Felipe. Bye.
Felipe Engineer 55:36
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!