A Lean Coffee is a structured yet flexible meeting designed to gather input from all participants. They can be used to brainstorm and collect feedback on almost any subject.
Several of JE Dunn’s project teams have hosted Lean Coffee discussions with their Trade Partners. Their Lean Coffees were refection sessions focused on finding ways to improve processes and overcome challenges our teams were facing. Benefits from these conversations included increased levels of trust on the team, gaining insights from other perspectives and gathering ideas for improvement from the field.
The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta - Support Building 1 project team in Atlanta, GA, pitched the idea of facilitating a Lean Coffee to their Trade Partners to gather ideas for improvement. The Trade Partners responded with open minds and JE Dunn asked them to bring actionable ideas and possible solutions to discuss. The purpose of the meeting was to improve the job, not be a complaint session. The team held the 45-minute Lean Coffee after a recurring weekly meeting, capturing potential areas for improvement on sticky notes on the wall. The group voted on topics to deep dive and captured action items with champions as discussions progressed. The team identified several solutions for implementation, including: additional signage at ladder locations to indicate accessible routes, using the Bookings application to schedule deliveries, and creating a safer route over an existing creek for site access.
After hearing of the success from the Children’s Support 1 project, the Tarpon Springs High School project team in Tampa, FL hosted a Lean Coffee onsite. They wanted to find a way to build trust with the Trade Partners as well as implement field driven improvements. Their Lean Coffee followed a regular Daily Stand-Up meeting. They prepared the Trade Partners by asking for topics the week before. The team captured their ideas on sticky notes, voted on and discussed items. The team assigned action items and followed up on them in the following weeks. Their implemented improvements included limiting the number of trades working in a classroom to help expedite workflow, streamlining the morning sign in process, and improving an existing ramp to make site access easier for vehicles.
Both teams discussed a wide range of ideas from improving site access, streamlining the BIM coordination process, updating the RFI response process and increasing safety signage. Because of these ideas, each team was able to improve processes or overcome challenges.