Vancouver-based builder Adera Development has built a reputation as a pioneer in sustainable mass timber construction. It’s been around since 1969 and focuses primarily on wood-frame residential construction and commercial tilt up throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
When Adera took on Crest, the company realized it needed a change. The 179-unit residential building in the heart of North Vancouver was far larger and more complex in scope than Adera’s usual projects. The company decided it needed a project management solution that would keep up with the project’s rigorous demands. That solution was Procore.
Adera used Procore to track all aspects of the project, which made it easy to share information with various stakeholders, particularly its subcontractor partners, whenever needed. Trades got license-free access to Procore during the project, giving Adera better insight into what trades were on-site at any given time and the status of their work. In the end, the project was delivered on time and under budget, despite a global pandemic.
Adera’s Procore Champions
One major reason Adera was so successful at using Procore for its Crest project were its “Procore Champions.” This group of tech-savvy employees helped and guided others through the implementation process and learned a lot along the way.
“I think it was really beneficial to have those people who dedicated a lot more time to learning the system so that it wasn’t just our VP of Construction being like, ‘hey, you need to learn more about Procore,’” explained Kim Slocum, Project Coordinator for Adera.
The champions played a pivotal role in supporting their coworkers during Adera’s Procore journey as well as their fellow champions.
“It was a group of people encouraging others to get their certifications done. They offered help if anyone had questions. It was less of ‘here let me do that for you’ and more like, ‘Oh, this is a training opportunity. I’ll show you how to do it so that you can do it yourself next time’ kind of thing,” said Slocum.
Some friendly competition even helped the effort. The champions printed out their certifications and put them on the office walls to see who could rack up the most completed trainings.
“We had a team of five administrators at first, and we competed against each other internally to see who can be certified for the most things to create some buzz and excitement,” said Amanda Aaron, Adera Construction Coordinator.
How the Champions Were Formed
Adera’s Procore Champions all have one thing in common: a passion for technology and helping others achieve their goals.
“It was, ‘OK, who has shown to be more natural at just learning and picking things up and rolling with ideas, and who also is excited by it,’” said Dave Shumyla, Adera’s Customer Service Manager, Quality Control.
Shumyla was one of the first at the company to start using Procore, and he’s been heavily involved with it ever since.
“I’ve always been one of the ‘tech guys’—when it comes to Excel or other programs, that’s kind of where I like to be. As soon as I had the chance, I jumped in and started playing with Procore,” he said, noting that its potential value became almost immediately apparent.
“It just streamlined everything. There are benefits to bringing budget, schedules, deficiencies, incidences, anything and everything, all in one spot. Scheduling was a big one; that was really going to help. Before, we were using Microsoft Projects, while some guys were using Excel. We had all of these different methods going, and everything was siloed.”
As the champions became more familiar with Procore and started to understand what it was capable of, other employees started gravitating to them for help.
“I did a lot of more with the background work, but I also have people call me because they don’t know how to enter a timecard, or because a certain drawing wasn’t showing up for them, or because this looks different on my phone than on my iPad, or whatever the case, so it’s lots of little things for me,” said Slocum.
Champions Become Teachers
Once the champions were identified, they set about showing the rest of the company how to use Procore based on the tools they knew best. Aaron said Adera even appointed people on-site to train others in the field how to use certain tools they were familiar with.
“The people who picked it up more naturally were asked to champion certain tools. For instance, the foreman on site would use the daily walk tool every day, so they were asked to train the first day person just in case they were away and needed to use it so the tool is always functioning,” Aaron explained.
Across the board, the champions said it wasn’t always easy to train sometimes-reluctant coworkers in the field.
“There’s been some in the office who are slower to learn technology. Some are still learning how to use it. Field guys, though, are the biggest ones because they’re the most affected by it,” Shumyla said.
He said his efforts paid off and that a “high percentage” of Adera’s field teams pushed through their initial distaste. “They’re starting to learn it, but it was not easy getting everyone on board.”
Aaron said the excitement about Procore at higher levels in the company also helped convince some of the more reluctant workers.
“My boss Adam is super tech savvy, so I think his enthusiasm helped others who were not necessarily thrilled about it to see the benefits,” she said.
The Champions’ Efforts Pay Off
Although the training process wasn’t always easy, once hesitant workers were shown how Procore could make their jobs easier and let them work more efficiently, nearly all of them became converts.
“Even when it comes to manpower or time cards or whichever, some of the fields might be a little tedious to fill in. However, once I showed them that at the end of the day, you can pull up a really cool record that shows you all of this information at the drop of a hat that we would never be able to have access to before that was an eye-opener for them,” said Slocum.
“We’re just trying our best to train people and get people excited about Procore and see the value in it. We’re not going to stop using it, so we will need to embrace it.”
Shumyla described a similar experience of the moment where reticent Adera coworkers finally saw the light.
“For the guys that pushed back, it was different things that kind of clicked with them. For one of our field guys, it was a search on the timesheet and the punch list. He went, ‘ok, I can see why that helps because that’s easier than what I’m doing now.’ I think they just had to get over it in their head and just come to grips with the reality of what we’re doing.”
Without Procore champions in place, Slocum and Aaron said it would have been “extremely difficult” to successfully implement Procore company-wide. Shumyla took it a step further, he believes the rollout would never have happened without the champions’ efforts.
“I think we would all be struggling. There’s no way I can see how you could do this without champions. You need a few people that know the program really well and can be there for help and support.”
What Makes a Successful Champion?
We asked Adera’s Procore Champions what advice they’d give others who were interested in becoming champions.
Dave Shumyla, Customer Service Manager, Quality Control: “Make sure you set aside time to learn it full-time because you can’t just passively figure it out. You’ve got to dedicate some time each day going through it. Go through the videos, all the training stuff online, and be prepared that people will push back. To anybody who wants to be a champion: Just don’t give up. Keep going and learning the products.”
Jennifer White, Customer Care Liaison and Quality Control: “Be patient with it. The system does work, but you need to have faith. You need to take the time and be patient with it because it’s a new technology, so a lot of people tend to back up a little bit before starting out with it.”
Amanda Aaron, Construction Coordinator.: “When it comes to learning a new system and adopting a new platform company-wide, especially where there’s natural resistance to learning something new, you have to choose your quick wins. Identify what is going to make the biggest impact for your team and start there.”
Kim Slocum, Project Coordinator: “When it comes to the training, take your time, and take notes that you can easily refer back to. It might be easy to get the questions right on the quizzes, but that doesn’t mean the information is actually being lodged in your brain. I found there were a few sections I needed a bit more help for, so I tried to break things down in my own words so if I needed to I could refer back to something that made sense in my mind.”
Joel Anderson – Project Manager: “Don’t be afraid! It’s not just another platform/app to manage; it really does help you get work done and keep everything organized. Start learning the tools you think you will use the most. Use the videos and chat support if you have questions when getting started, both are super helpful.”