Modern construction involves complex designs from multiple designers that are built by a cohort of trade partners. Effective flow from concept to design to construction involves continuous information exchange, decision making, and robust change management. Everything is connected and establishing strong routines for intentional collaboration is key to success.
To enable this, we typically set up a Big Room to create an environment where collaboration can flourish and to better manage the project. Similar to command centers, the Big Room provides the desired environment of creativity, transparency, and teamwork. The typical Big Room is filled with visual information on the project goals, trends, and news on the team members. The Big Room comes to life when this information is used for discussion and decision making.
Some Big Rooms are dynamic and exciting. There is open discussion and healthy conflict. By contrast, others are Big Rooms in space only. People from companies congregate together, instead of cross-functionally. Information is hidden from fear of consequences and lost reputation. Interaction is formal and trust is low. What makes one Big Room successful while another struggles?
In our experience, it is best to think about Big Room more as a system than a set of tools. There are three distinct factors that interact to make a Big Room come alive. These are:
- Mindsets and behaviors
- Work processes and structure
It is only when all three are present that a big room truly fulfills its purpose. In this post from Lean Construction Blog, Haley & Aldrich’s Alex Gururajan and JE Dunn Construction’s Rebecca Snelling, take a look at these elements in further detail.