On April 17th Kirby Group Engineering sponsored and hosted a successful Lean Construction Ireland event with keynotes from Managing Director Jimmy Kirby and Leinster Rugby and Former England Coach Stuart Lancaster.

‘Leadership and Strategy are key to overcoming challenges of Lean adoption’ was the theme for the latest Lean Construction Ireland (LCi) Community Event which took place at the Irish Management Institute (IMI) on Tuesday, April 17th 2018.

The event, which had a large attendance was sponsored and hosted by Kirby, included two keynote addresses. At the first keynote, Jimmy Kirby, Kirby Group Managing Director spoke about ‘Strategy for a Purpose’ and demonstrated how a company can go about achieving its purpose or desired outcome through strategy. During the second keynote, Stuart Lancaster, Leinster Rugby Senior Coach, shared his extensive insight into building and leading high-performance teams.

In addition to the keynote addresses, three breakout sessions were held, which included presentations on using Lean to improve defect and inspection management, the Parade of Trades® Simulation, and the ‘Critical Success Factors for Lean Deployment’.


During the first keynote, Jimmy Kirby spoke about ‘Strategy for a Purpose’ and demonstrated how a company can go about achieving its purpose or desired outcome through strategy. He explained an overall approach to crafting a strategy while identifying the essential components within. During his presentation, Jimmy Kirby said: “Successful, long-term businesses have a well thought through coherent strategy. Lean is a strategy for business, therefore the same applies. Lean transformations fail because of a lack of coherent strategy and effective leadership. In order to be successful in Lean or any other transformation, you need a coherent strategy.”

“A good strategy is one that can be implemented; many times organisations go to implement a strategy without thinking-through the basics such as evaluating it against everything else that has already been decided to do, can we take on all of the required actions and who is going to get them done in the time set” continued Jimmy Kirby.

Stuart Lancaster, Leinster Rugby Senior Coach, shared his extensive insight into building and leading high-performance teams. Stuart was the Head Coach of the England national team from 2011 until 2015, transforming the team’s culture and taking them to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He discussed the leadership fundamentals needed to build great teams and shared the key characteristics of credible leaders which include honesty, the ability to evoke inspiration, forward-thinking, technical excellence and most important, they follow through on their promises.

Breakout Sessions

The three breakout sessions included presentations from Martin Searson, Kirby Group QA Manager, Declan Holohan, Managing Director, Lean Touch Solutions Limited and Maria Ryan, Managing Director, Crystal Lean Solutions.

Kirby Group QA Manager Martin Searson’s presentation was titled ‘Utilising Lean to Improve Defect & Inspection Management’. It focused on Kirby’s implementation approach of a Lean Green Belt initiative to improve defect and inspection management by moving from a paper-based system to an automated ‘real-time’ software solution. It reviewed the Lean methodologies of process mapping, identification of waste activities and cycle-time reduction. The presentation outlined tangible and intangible benefits and how the improved process has created space to focus on systematic waste elimination rather than waste processing.

Declan Holohan brings over 17 years of experience working with different industries, transferring lean tools & techniques to make tangible and intangible savings. His presentation was titled ‘Construction Process Variation Simulation’. This breakout session carried out the Parade of Trades® Simulation. The Parade Game illustrates what impact work-flow variability has on the performance of construction trades and their successors. The game consists of simulating a construction process in which resources produced by one trade are prerequisite to starting work by the next trade.

Maria Ryan is an experienced change agent who started her Lean journey over 20 years ago. Her presentation was titled ‘Critical Success Factors for Lean Deployment’ and asked “Are you starting out on your Lean Journey? Are you in the Middle of your journey and considering where to go next?” Talking to the attendees about going beyond tools and techniques, to deliver real fundamental business transformation and realise their Growth Strategy. This explored where change starts from and how to manage change.


This event brought together leaders, from construction and sport, to deliver a masterclass in leadership, strategy and Lean, which was much welcomed by attendees from the construction industry.

Source: Irish Building Magazine

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