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Tuesday, April 10 • 10:30am - 11:10am
Building Bridges (and buildings) with Kanban

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How can we discover and resolve our large organization's poor planning practices for better coordination with Kanban?
Our 100 year old, 400+ person firm of architects, professional engineers, interior designers, bridge inspectors and supporting departments adopted the Kanban method in one year. Learn what we tried, what worked well and what didn’t work so well, and what our strategy is as we move forward.

Kanban has changed the way we deliver our projects to our clients. Traditionally, firms in architecture & engineering assign people to projects and focus on managing the people much more than managing the work. Within a month of beginning our Kanban adoption, we realized that we were far weaker at workplanning that we imagined and our past practices compensated for that in a way that led to wasted effort, quality lapses and hoarding of resources. Kanban forced us to recognize the need to improve and exposed those poor practices.

Introducing and leading Kanban adoption in a firm of our size and diversity introduced a lot of challenges. We have 8 offices in 3 states practicing in 10 market sectors with project types ranging from roads and bridges to bio-pharma manufacturing to higher education student housing. Project teams are fluid and most project leads are involved with as many as a dozen projects at one time. Work is delivered to projects through teams with disciplinary specialization, such as HVAC engineering, lighting design and lab planning.

Our approach was focused on leading adoption on a discipline team by team basis. In one example, we brought bridge inspectors from 3 offices together to learn and begin to practice. In another, we went to an office and worked with each discipline separately. On average, we introduced one team to Kanban every 2 weeks. As a result, we had dozens of teams functioning at different levels and requiring evolving approaches to coaching that were specific to their group.

This talk will focus on what techniques we used, what worked well, what didn’t work well and what we learned from our experience. In addition, the talk will describe our approach going forward.

avatar for William Keen

William Keen

Bill is the Chief Innovation Office of architecture and engineering firm Clark Nexsen. Bill started his career as a structural engineer before he took on several management roles in the firm. Just before taking on his current role, he served as the COO. Bill led the firm-wide adoption... Read More →

Tuesday April 10, 2018 10:30am - 11:10am PDT