Good afternoon everyone. We are team hard hats. We are a team of Masters and PhD students from civil engineering, computer science, and business schools.
Ten weeks ago, we started with an idea to build project management tool for construction building owners. Fast forward to today, 10 weeks and over 100 customers calls later, we are an intelligent construction building permit process for governments and developers.
Here is our story…
Construction is a $tr industry burdened by 20 % time over run and 80% cost over run on average. We had a mission to improve the productivity of construction industry through the power of technology
In week 0 – we feel like we are standing on the top of the building, feeling better than ever. We had conducted more than 20 customer interviews prior to taking this class to come up with project management software idea.
This is our canvas on day 1 We knew exactly what we were talking about. We thought we had a very specific problem for a specific customer segment Week 0, we’re rocking it
In Week 1, we talked to 12 developers including Stanford University and Stanford Hospital. We even sat in a competitor product demo session for 5 hours After that, we realized that an all encompassing project management solution is like boiling the ocean. We need to break down this massive problem into smaller bits we could actually manage - so we focused on one part of the process - that is change order management This week, it feels like we’re back on square 1
As a result, on week two, we have talked to 12 more people, this time not only to owners, but to architects, general contractors, and sub contractors However, while we were looking for a “yes, build it for us and we’ll buy it!”. People’s reaction was more of like “Yeah, interesting. Good luck” (TONE) Just as what Stanford has told us, the main problem of the delay is cause by the delay of management decision, not b/c of lack of technology. Data in a technology platform will still be garbage in garbage out
By the end of week 2, this is how we felt.
We realized we had to pivot the pivot that we just pivoted a week ago (TONE)
At this point, we had to scratch our entire PM tool idea. We have no idea who would be our customers, and what to do In Week 2, our entire canvas is a question mark
While we had a good understanding of the industry, while doing interviews, we never assumed we were asking the right questions. Our closing question for every interview in the first weeks was: “what are you other biggest pain points?” This helped us find a ground for our second pivot.
We looked back at our 24 interviews to this point. We realized that there is one common thread from our meetings with from IKEA, City of SF, DPR, Director of Development at Oracle: that biggest pain point is permitting
By the end of week 3 we held a meeting to re-evaluate our commitment to the class. Was this ship sailing in a direction we all felt comfortable in? Was our commitment still there? It was
We started talking to construction stakeholders about where the bottlenecks in permitting were. We still didn’t understand fundamentally what the source. And everyone had different complaints and pain points.
We went on detective mode looking for the main suspect of our story - who was our customer.
Whose problem was this? All the clues lead to the government: they were the common thread of our interviews.
Insights for this week: this is becoming a two-sided platform - and we needed to talk to the government and our potential competitors, fast.
And that’s what we did on week 4. We found the permitting process to be very manual: codes vary by jurisdiction, people have no idea what to submit or how to do it properly. Delays due to rejected permits happen often and all-of-a-sudden. We saw first hand that most jurisdictions still have to go to the government in person to submit paper applications - and that made us jump into digitization.
●On week 5, we built the first MVP – a digital platform for developers, and for govts, to submit, track, and integrate with project scheduling ●We felt good about it and showed it to City of Palo Alto
The staff immediately showed us similar solutions from different competitors People we talked to were not excited about just this value proposition by itself. Our UI looked better than all of them, but that was not enough, We remembered Steve Blank’s question: what would be your magic?
So we went out again to customers to look for a more compelling value proposition When we talked to more gov’t permit technicians, including ones from Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Seattle, San Francisco, they all agreed that the biggest problem in the permit workflow is during the first submission process, they had to answer the same questions repetitively to different owners As this quote from City of Palo Alto shows: What causes delay? It’s lack of submitted information and incorrect submitted information
Our team understood that these pains could be aided by technology. Our new hypothesis was that algorithmic autocheck of building plans would provide high value. So we updated our MVP to include the autocheck function. In this double sided platform, developers can upload and track blueprints for revision, while software automatically checks the blueprints for common mistakes.
Over the next few weeks, we started regularly showing our MVP to different gov’t officers and developers. Based on their feedback, we quickly iterated our MVP, added features like screen sharing and scheduling, and removed unnecessary features
In particular, two local city gov’ts signed up for our pilot programs and are working with us to further develop the platform
To make real progress, we needed to narrow down our scope. With the help of our gov’t friends, we determined that bathroom and kitchens were the place to start. They’re universal in all types of projects, and they’re subject to State codes, which means fewer variations across jurisdictions. Here are a sample of the regulations that we have injected in our algorithm
It’s been a wild ride We tackled a massive industry that suffers from significant inefficiencies. In the past ten weeks, we have ran into walls, we have dealt with rejections, and we have celebrated customer wins We firmly believe that construction is in the early innings of a revolution powered by technology And we are excited to ride the industry tailwinds with our intelligent permit platform
We would like to thanks to all the people who have offered unparalleled insights during this process, our professors, Tas, mentors, classmates, and industry partners.
Thank you all, we are team hard hats!
HardHats engr 245 lean launchpad stanford 2019
Alvaro Stolowicz Marco Alban Jennifer
Lin Tammie Chen TODAY Intelligent building permit platform for government and owners DAY 1 Project management platform for building owners Isaac Kauvar Phil Dillard Hard Hats ARCHITECTOWNER PMEE PHDINVESTORCS MS MENTOR 118 interviews with developers, general and subcontractors, architects, government officials and competitors
Oops… boiling the ocean wk0
wk1 wk2 wk3 wk4 wk5 wk6 wk7 wk8 wk9 wk10 wk3 ? -12 developers and owner-reps -Sat in a competitor’s RFI meeting for 5 hours
12 more interviews with owners,
architects, general contractors, and sub contractors -- Jack Cleary, Associate Vice President of Land, Buildings & Real Estate, Stanford University “The biggest delay in change order is because of delay of management decision, not because of lack of technology… Technology only leads to garbage in and garbage out” Pivot 1: Change Order Management wk0 wk1 wk2 wk3 wk4 wk5 wk6 wk7 wk8 wk9 wk10 wk3 ?
MVP 2.1, 2.2, 3.0, …
+ = wk0 wk1 wk2 wk3 wk4 wk5 wk6 wk7 wk8 wk9 wk10 wk3 ? “You must be reading my mind!” -Permit Technician City of Oakland “With AutoCheck, our initial review would be significantly faster than our current 6- week time.” -Permit Technician Menlo Park