When we left school in the early 2000's, we were told about the importance of phone calls and handshakes, meaningful internships, and the necessity of The Team Meeting. Throughout years of Post-DotCom international and multi-disciplinary design projects, though, we found ourselves waging an uphill battle against a disintegration of all the business expectations of the Baby Boomer generation.
The traditional system of running projects was finding itself quickly supplanted - for better or for worse. This was a new chaotic world of overwhelming technology, scheduling conflicts, outsourcing, shrinking capital and tighter time-lines. Handshakes were harder to come by, phone calls weren’t being answered (often for days), and endless Status Meetings were destroying productivity up and down the management chain. Remote work? That was a complicated question for rigid IT departments. New Tech and updated Energy Codes were turning the Bid/Build hierarchy upside down. Engineers were picking up more responsibility and the separation of disciplines was blurring. To top it off, Information silos were cropping up - the discplines weren't trained to openly share wisdom, and often employees building their own to defend increasingly unstable job markets.
The KIS Model crystallized out of our individual efforts to cope with these changes. We eventually looked to Silicon Valley as a model for our workflow. The Software sectors are constantly refining tools for connecting groups in a mobile, physically disconnected world. We repurposed many of these tools for our construction-oriented process. By 2013 we knew we had something unique, but implementation was going to require a new Culture that most existing firms were incompatible with..
Honestly, not much.
We look a bit like your typical tech-forward company. The corporate culture gap is so radically different there because Silicon Valley embraced the Information Age long ago. Google, et al., realized that Personal Culture was changing Business Culture and vice-versa: so they worked towards tearing down the strict separation between the two.
Mobile tools are the driver, but simply empowering remote work does not achieve KIS' mission statement. Every company has a DropBox account and access to a project server. So do we. Alternatively, what we have implemented, and what is difficult for many firms (and many employees) to grasp, is a new set of expectations on how to use familiar tools and a redefinition of the entire concept of being "at your desk".
We actively enforce a system of communication that is seamless between devices and locations. Our Model is focused on realtime Team Communication and recall of Group/Project Wisdom as the cornerstone of effective project management. Our process is focused non-distraction. The Culture is derived from these axioms and has generally resulted in developing a solid Life-Work-Client balance, and freeing our teams members from the chains of The Office Life. In essence: