Lean Startups and the Flow of Value-A lesson for the AECO Sector

Dave West recently wrote an article in ProjectsAtWork.com's June issue  that I immediately identified with. In fact he almost writes a parallel post to one of my original posts which is also one of the all-time favorite posts here on this blog. BIM & XPM-A Made Marriage.

Dave is currently the Chief Product Officer at Tasktop and one of the foremost industry experts on software development and deployment. He has helped advance many modern software development processes, including the Unified process and Agile methods. As such, he knows of what he talks and it is a strong validation of the work I discovered somewhat by accident and happy circumstances over ten years ago.
Please read Dave's article here

Dave's mention of the Lean Startup movement, that is going through companies right now lead him to some interesting conclusions. As a mentor at our local Gangplank chapter in Tucson and having been through several Lean Launchpad  Startup workshops, I can attest to the parallels which Dave highlights. For the real focus on the Lean Launchpad is creating value and validation of a new idea using the minimum of effort to seek the greatest return. In a Lean Launchpad we don't go into big elaborate tests, but use simple tests to determine if an idea has merit in the marketplace. For me that was natural. I have been doing that in design practice for quite a while. Tweaking the context was easy for me to see how focusing on creating the greatest value using the least expensive means possible gave way to determine where the maximum effort should be spent as an idea matured and became validated.

How did all this resonate with me? I started using a variation of XPM and Agile back about 10 years ago in the design profession of architecture. The close parallels of SW development and working in the built environment design are quite scary. For that reason, and that it focuses on the value stream of information, the above rationale delivers very good results.

On my early journeys in this endeavor to find a better way to practice design I looked for ideas which would bring the design process together more efficiently. Since I'm not a purist on either the lean or agile side I just looked for what worked well and could be repeated over and over with consistent results. Creating a flow of information which delivered the value needed for timely decisions became our mantra. It reduced rework, it focused on the issue(s) at hand and set all others aside and above all was guided by the principle of keeping the end goal in mind.

Often, the project's end goal was modified along the way due to inconsistencies in assigning value in the beginning. But that is to be expected, since not all the value is known before a project starts. Discovering that new areas of value harvesting made more sense than staying with original ideas we were able to keep the project expectations in line and the Owner happy. More times than not, the final results were better than anyone would have imagined going into the project.

Who was responsible for delivery, everyone. If someone working on the project did not see it was their project to deliver value, they often were removed or isolated out to minimize their damage to the rest of the producing team.

As you can see, adaptability, collaboration, transparency, autonomy and focus on value were key components in our success.

Always remember "Collaboration is the Glue of Success"

Collaborative Construction Blog

This article is a continuation of conversations about how delivery of professional services in the Built Environment can change the way business is done. This article focuses on the change in focus from functional activity to delivery of value in every action and the need for all participants to own their part of the project delivery. It is a continuing String of thought with connections to project management, project delivery methods, change management and the continuing evolution of business delivery in our marketplace. 

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