Team Sharing Rituals

Growth and learning opportunities (or discovery items as we like to call them!) are crucial to our continued development. We reveal five internal rituals that prioritize knowledge sharing and celebrate project success!

1. 20 Slides. 20 Seconds. Pecha Kucha Presentations

When a few Coughlin Porter Lundeen staff members began giving presentations “Pecha Kucha” style, we were transfixed. In this unique, quickfire presentation method, speakers share 20 slides and can only spend 20 seconds on each! This equates to a concise 6 minute and 40 second show. The gist behind this style pitch: by keeping the presentation short and succinct, it preserves audience engagement and interest. Pecha Kucha (pronounced pe-cha-ku-cha) was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Tokyo’s Klein-Dytham Architecture and encourages presenters to tell a story, rather than describe the slides.

While the parameters are simple, it doesn’t mean their application is. The slide deck automatically transitions, so once it begins, there’s no going back to or skipping ahead of the slides. We guarantee it will take several run-throughs to get the precise timing down – especially if you have co-presenters exchanging lines with you.

The Pecha Kucha methodology can be applied to both in-person and virtual presentations. A fun team building activity and useful practice for those proposal interview call-backs! It’s a great way to share what we’re all up to on projects and shakes up traditional presentation content in an expeditious, captivating way.

2. The Civil Permitting Gong

A faint but resounding sound reverberates through the civil department. Each time the gong rings, a project has successfully navigated permitting. We acknowledge the challenge, time, and red-tape, and count the wins when we’ve earned them. They’re worth celebrating, as they require early, meticulous planning and have a great impact on final delivery. These are considered the team’s shared achievement. And they are! Team effort is evident as mentors train mentees in the ins and outs of the system, peers support one another through the process, and as project teams work together at every phase. We cheer on jurisdictional, mid-project milestones with the strike of the mini-permitting gong. (And a donut if it falls on a Wednesday – another civil crew tradition.)

Our team has extensive experience planning, designing, and executing multi-phased projects that require careful forecasting to navigate permitting obstacles. We’ve developed tried and true systems to streamline site plan entitlement and construction permitting. A 30-year history with local jurisdictional requirements, responsive relationships with officials, and a keen understanding of how to sequentially stagger multiple permits helps our projects maintain schedule.

3. Virtual, Meet Reality – Digital Project Tours

“What’s it going to look like!?” Beyond the practicalities of digital design coordination, it’s exciting when we can respond to this question with lifelike conceptions. We understand the personal impact projects have on the stakeholders and community members who eagerly anticipate their delivery. Sneak peek reveals are our favorite!

Joel Hills, Technology Specialist, recently worked with Charla Burdorf, Associate at Runberg Architecture Group, to create a virtual walk-through video for the Mercy Housing Northwest Angle Lake Family Housing project. “It was a HUGE hit at the Power of Home event! Our guests were thrilled to virtually walk through the beautiful Arc Legacy Center and housing even before construction starts. This certainly raises the bar on our approach to valuable collateral pieces! Thank you for the dedication pulling this ‘out of the box’ work together.” – Alisa Luber, Project Developer at Mercy Housing Northwest.

We regularly use 3D modeling software to render project details and jump on opportunities to collaborate in the digital space to form integrated models with design partners. Whether it be live digital coordination sessions, collocated work groups, BIM clash detection, or virtual reality (VR) work sessions, our team is intentional about the technology we implement, electing the best-possible tools based on project, team and timeline. Some modeling efforts interpret intricate connection details while others are generated to give the client a realistic sense of the final product as it takes shape.

Another great avenue for sharing: VR Fridays! During our VR Fridays, the projects we tour are our own. We love it, as it provides another channel for employees to explore the firm’s portfolio and see beyond the work on their own desk.

4. Lunch and Learns

Internal task teams and individual staff members host regular Lunch and Learns, ensuring engineers are exposed to a variety of projects and technical subjects. These seminars expand our broader knowledge as a team and highlight potential niche areas of study that members of our staff can elect to focus on. Topics are far-ranging and go into deep detail; sessions include everything from new sustainable practices and technologies being explored and used on current projects to a discussion of Rebecca Hix Collin’s reconnaissance work in Türkiye this year. More technical than a Pecha Kucha presentation by comparison – an occasional catered lunch helps digest the content!

We take the show on the road, too! Externally, we support professional associations and groups, AEC clients and partners, and focus on creating opportunities for aspiring STEM students, regularly visiting offices and classrooms via Client Roadshow Presentations and Classroom Takeovers.

5. Field Trips

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it over (and over) again. It’s one thing to design a building, it’s another to see it built. An immersive way to experience our portfolio, our team goes on regular walking tours to visit in-construction and completed projects. Exposing staff to projects of varied markets, materials, client types and construction phases, we strive to foster a team of well-rounded engineers. Bringing our calculations to fruition and seeing the equations in final building form, and then sharing this experience as a team – there is nothing more fulfilling.

“The greater construction industry is full of benefits, but one of its greatest differentiators is the lasting impact on cities and communities…visiting a project you’ve had a hand in creating and being able to do so for the lifetime of the building is truly a special experience” – George Theo, Human Resources and Business Manager. At Coughlin Porter Lundeen, we celebrate these contributions as much as possible and have tips for finding your own best fit in the AEC industry.

No matter how you choose to knowledge-share, we can attest that the value to the team is exponential. Our industry is founded on pillars like collaboration, teamwork, and discovery. We’re lucky to have clients and partners equally dedicated to these pillars, and equally excited about opportunities to learn, share and grow, no matter the method!