The key to winning over staff is education; show them the power of BIM. To quote Thomas A. Edison:
“There’s a way to do it better – find it”
There are several ways to get this started! Here are my top five suggestions:
- Lunch and Learns for PM’s offering learning credits and teach them the value of BIM.
- Start a BIM User Group, have it at lunch and bring cookies (unless your office will pay for lunch) Teach users tips and tricks in using Revit. Collect the questions you get throughout the month and show an how-to on them.
- Start a BIM University, Get classes from AU, RTC, MinnU, or Blogs and go thru them for the users.
- Start a Monthly or Quarterly Newsletter, send out information on project that have been using BIM in your office.
- Start a Revit Tip Email, send out a tip whenever a good one comes across your desk. I have a OneNote page that has all my tips in it so users can access them at any time.
While these five suggestions are a great strting point, I believe the most important step is walking around and talking to the users and Project Manager in two-way conversations. Build a strong relationship and show them how to use Revit more efficiently. If you make the end users and Project Managers see the value of Revit/BIM the lack of understanding becomes replaced with excitement.
After speaking to many colleagues, one of the ongoing challenges of integrating BIM into projects is lack of education and understanding from the Project Managers and teams. It’s not that they’re necessarily against using BIM, it’s just they don’t fully realize the increased benefits (and cost savings) that it can provide during the design phase of the project.
To summarize this challenge and solution, a quote from Albert Einstein comes to mind:
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”
So how do we get the team to understand and proactively create a solution?
First, we must get the Project Manager (PM) to agree to use BIM on the project. Once you have the project ready to use your BIM talents you can start by showing the team better ways to communicate, and work with Consultants. Here’s my signature process for overseeing the BIM implementation from project inception to completion:
- Coordinate a meeting with the PM to understand the needs of the project
- What are the deliverables?
- What are the contract requirements?
- Who’s on the Team?
- What are the deadlines?
- Fill out BEP and send to consultants for comments and markup.
- Coordinate a meeting to go over BEP with all consultants.
- Once BEP is complete work up a simple massing exercise of the project workflow in Revit.
- Coordinate a meeting with in-house staff on the project. In this meeting, review the requirements for the project, and how the team will work with consultants.
- Organize regular check-ins with the project group to go over any Revit issues – I call these Revit Coordination meetings.
- Use this meeting to explain efficient ways of modeling the project.
- Answer any questions users may have.
- Go over any major changes with the model (Design Options, Scheduling, Families needed/used.)
- Check on team’s progress using the projects deliverables.
The main key to resolving this challenge is to make sure the project is successful, which can be done through monitoring the processes and communicating with the project team to ensure the project is produced effectively and efficiently. Once your first project is a success you will see more and more Project Managers coming to you for Project Startups.
Always remember that you are not only a BIM Specialist, you are also a BIM Teacher. Teaching the end users and PM the benefits and value of BIM is always step one in creating buy-in and success.
Every day is a battle to get the firm moving towards a more collaborative BIM environment. I was talking with my associate last week and we were discussing the continual struggle to push up hill to get staff working with new technology. It reminded me of the AUGI article from way back in 2008, “CAD Manager: THE ULTIMATE DIRTY JOB” by Mark W. Kiker. Of course today it would read BIM Manager. He brought up some great key points that are still relevant in today’s world of BIM.
- The troubles of the day may take you away from the initiatives for tomorrow.
- Working towards other people’s goals can rob you of the time needed to complete your own.
- You may spend hours working to prevent problems that others may not even know could exist.
I try to take a moment whenever I feel lost to reacquaint myself with these points. The article goes on to say that most of the Managers find the job ultimately rewarding.
It is very important to keep your perspective on the job, when I was younger I used to get so frustrated I would start looking for a job in other firms, thinking it would be different. Now I realize it’s always the same, the difference is you stop listening to the negative and work towards the positive, and before you know it your ideas are implemented.
I’ve learned to approach staff (users and Project Managers) by showing them the tools that will help me support their project more efficiently. The key seems to be the word “me”. The tools that we have developed of course are the core to doing BIM projects: The BIM Execution Plan, and Progress Tracking. These tools help focus staff on the project deliverables and not get lost in the Revit Model.
I will leave you with a final thought from Mark’s article, which I believe applies to BIM Management also:
“CAD Management is not the easiest career, but it can be very rewarding. The rewards are there every day if you look for them.”
It is amazing to see how far technology has advanced in the AEC industry since my start in 1994. Today, the design landscape has transformed so much it’s mind blowing.
In my first Architectural firm there was no internet, we fought with consultants to use AutoCAD, and had to educate clients on how AutoCAD plans didn’t cost more than hand drafting to produce. Now here we are, 20 years later dancing the same Tango with different music.
At the 2013 Autodesk University keynote address, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass noted that “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”(Watch videos from the conference here) While we still may be dancing the same Tango, the music’s tempo is increasing quickly. In other words, technology is progressing at a rapid pace and if we don’t stay current, we will become relics.
BIM Freak was created as a resource to help firms progress towards a full BIM office. While there have been challenges, I have relentlessly advocated for the use of BIM in my firm for a number of years. I am pleased to note that we are now in a stage of transition into a fully integrated BIM-focused firm. I hope that this blog will provide you with useful tips and tricks that I have discovered along the way.