Software @ NBBJ

// nfo

NBBJ Digital

2014-present (4+ years)

// role

Initiative leader

product manager

concept design

developer

// tech

Rhino, Grasshopper, C#, Javascript 

// key activities

concept

infrastructure development

tool development

documentation

standards + best practices

evangelism

marketing

education

analytics

// description

Design computation in architecture has traditionally been an ad-hoc affair -- most computation specialists in architecture are self-taught coders, and therefore have never been exposed to the proven, effective work processes of the software industry. After returning in 2015 from a sabbatical as an Application Engineer at flux.io, I recognized an opportunity and set to work implementing agile methodologies in the context of architecture, with a focus on how to build scalable design computation tools within a large organization.

Within our team of 21 specialists, I successfully drove the adoption of live communication tools, cloud document collaboration, source control for our code bases, and Google's Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) process for tracking quarterly progress.

After socializing the potential of product thinking for architecture and garnering firm leadership support, I worked with our talented team of creative coders to develop key pieces of internal infrastructure with a goal of scalable deployment -- including building our own custom User Interface platform (HumanUI), a custom analytics platform (Clever Hans), custom data management schemas for Rhino/GH (Squirrel), onboarding flows, online forum support, and custom one-click installers for easy firm-wide deployment.

We have used this infrastructure to successfully deploy two suites of Computational Products which allow any designer, regardless of computational experience, to use our team’s custom design computation tools with great UX, easy onboarding, documentation, and consistent visual output. These products have been used by over 75 unique users on over 150 projects, and those numbers are accelerating.

Some of our internal work has been released to the AEC community, the most notable of which is Human UI, which was developed by myself (product manager) and Andrew Heumann (rockstar coder) as part of the computational products initiative at NBBJ, It was open sourced in 2015 and is now the industry standard for user interfaces for Grasshopper in the AEC industry.

// status

Complete, deployed, and functional; under continued development to expand impact.