Wednesday 30 September 2015

Give your team the tools to succeed

Developing process to create inefficiencies.

Why develop a process
In a factory where your typical smart phone is assembled, there is a production line. Someone has put a lot of thought about that production line, the process of fabrication and how efficient the process of assembling a smart phone is.

The same applies to the design industry, however our focus is typically on the process of creating the design instead of production of the design.

Without an effective documented process and resources you’re production team is prone to inefficiencies. Every building is a “prototype”, however we still have the opportunity to create inefficiencies in the production process.

Get an “insiders” point of view
When I first became a BIM Manager I joined our project team to get an “insider’s” look into the production process. What I found was that without a process in place the team was not performing to their maximum efficiency, in fact they were performing at about %70 efficiency due solely to the fact that there was no process in place guiding them effectively through the production of the drawings.

These were capable people with many years of experience working on complex projects, the team had worked in the office together for many years, yet it was the first time that they have all worked together as a team in this configuration.
Without a team management process your team members lack a high level of monitoring and guidance that would allow them to be fully productive, work was being replicated and some tasks were not beings addressed causing friction and delays in the project production.

It was time to review our processes.

Develop a process that works
From this experience I developed a series of processes and resources that help the team become more efficient. We not only reviewed and modified the process of completing projects, we also looked at how the teams were assembled, how the team was structured and the dispercement of roles and responsibilities. By clearly defining the tasks of each individual we provided each team member with clear expectations.

The team should not only have a process to follow but also have available to them the resources to be efficient in their tasks. Having unreliable resources, or worse yet resources your team are unable to find, gives them permission to create their own content essentially disregarding any quality control and wasting time.

Review your own processes with fresh eyes to see where you can make improvements, look at it from the standpoint of production and what resources you would need to efficiently complete the task at hand.

Tips on developing your process
Develop a process of production and create the resources to back it up. We spent a significant amount of time evaluating our existing processes, what was working, what wasn’t working and what holes existed in the processes. Through reviewing and developing processes we were able to clearly define the flow of operations at all aspects of our business.
  • Make your process easy to follow, keep it clear and easy to understand, don’t make a process too constraining or onerous or you’ll find that no one will follow it.
  • Make your process flexible to accommodate a variety of situations or project types.
  • Make it easily accessible, if it’s too many “clicks” away people will get lost and not bother.
  • Provide information on the process in a variety of formats, such as online, printed booklet form, pdf etc.
  • Have upper management promote and endorse your process, this will help with adoption.

Stages of developing a process

Continual promotion of your processes will take time, monitoring your team and constant reminders will need to happen as you develop a culture that follows the processes. If your processes are good you’ll find adoption, if not review the process with your team to find out how to make it better.


Thursday 24 September 2015

Revit Shortcut Guide

Autodesk have a excellent resource available in the form of a Revit Shortcut Guide.

From their website you can jump to a specific section or download the Revit Shortcut Guide PDF to either print or have available as a downloadable resource for your staff.

The Shortcut Guide is a great resource for all levels of Revit users including beginners all the way through to my power users.

Check it out.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Being Organised

One key to being an effective manager is your own personal organisational skills. Not only the ability to organise other peoples, tasks, schedules, priorities and goals but to be able to organise your own!

Being an organised person gives you credibility to those around you, being seen as a prompt, well organised person gives the impression that you’re a confident person that is capable of getting things done right and on time, people will value your opinion and listen to your thoughts…
All this just because you’re organised.

So what does being organised mean?
Being organised allows you to focus your thoughts and tasks so you can be more effective in your time management by scheduling your tasks according to priority.

When you feel overwhelmed by your workload, creating a list will help you focus on addressing the critical items first. By clearly developing a list of tasks and prioritising them gives you focus and a clear plan of action. Having a plan relives you of the stress of an overwhelming workload by breaking your workload down into manageable tasks.

Here’s a tips on how to develop your “to-do” list.
Write a list every morning of the tasks you wish to accomplish that day, then sort them according to priority. Write down everything, from the simplest task such as replying to a specific email or phone call to the most complex, throughout the day add items to my list and change priorities if need be.

Tackle the most challenging tasks first, addressing the most challenging tasks first gives you a sense of satisfaction, even just starting a task or an action gives you a since of relief and puts you in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the day.

Break down your tasks into long term and short term, keep notes by your list items on the status and only cross off the item once completed or transfer the item to a current list.

I have two lists, I have a large “Tasks and Goals” book where I keep track of the big picture items, my long term tasks, goals and ideas are all kept in one place. I also have a secondary smaller “Daily Tasks” book where I write down my daily or weekly tasks as well as items I need to address later in the week or for when I’m in a meeting or in a specific office. This is part of my preparation for the week ahead, allowing me to start planning ahead.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed take a break and pick one of the easy items on your list, by ticking off completed items on your list will add to your feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Don’t feel guilty about spending time getting yourself organised in the morning, spending time getting your thoughts together and how you plan on tackling the day ahead. This will put you in a good frame of mind for the rest of the day an prevent you spinning your wheels on items that will side track you from what you really want to accomplish that day.

Put your list in a prominent place on your desk, in plain sight so you can refer to it often allowing you to maintain your focus.

Finally: Feel the sense of satisfaction at the end of a hard day’s work as you review your completed list! There’s nothing better at the work day to go over you list with a sense of accomplishment as you mark off the tasks you have addressed throughout the day. Any unfinished items will be a good start to the next day’s list.

Great… now I can check “write article on lists” off my to-do list. ;-)

Thursday 3 September 2015

Promoting and Implementing BIM in your Office

Having a hard time getting your office to adopt, or effectively work with BIM?  

Laura Kay Smith (aka the BIM Freak) has recently released her e-book on promoting and implementing BIM in your office. In this e-book Laura shares some of her tips and tricks that worked for her including examples of her process, and her experiences and outcomes of a BIM implementation.

Here's an excerpt from Laura's book.

I am amazed to see how far technology has come in the Architectural, Engineering, 
Construction (AEC) industry since my start in 1994. Here it is over 20 years later and the 
landscape has transformed so much it is mind blowing. 

In my first architectural firm there was no internet, our computers were running the new Windows 3.1, and we shared files on floppy disks between consultants. AutoCAD was met with much resistance by many in the industry and our struggle at that time was to convince consultants that producing plans did not cost more than hand drafting them. Sound familiar?Twenty years later, we are still dancing the same tango, just with different music.

My hope is that this book will help you facilitate the transformation of your office into full BIM Integration. It is worth it! While attending the keynote address at the Autodesk University 2013 in Las Vegas, I heard a great quote: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn” Technology is moving forward fast and if we don’t jump on the train we will become relics.

Now lets have some fun teaching and implementing this great thing called BIM. It’ going to be hard work, and it’s won't always be easy, but the payoff is incredible.

This book is a valuable resource for anyone implementing BIM or in the early stages of introducing BIM into a firm.

Check out more information on Laura's blog and you can buy a copy of her e-book HERE


Tuesday 1 September 2015

BIM Workshop - Pacific Coast

BIM Workshops sure have grown the past couple years from their humble start in Omaha to a national multi location BIM Conference.

I was very please to once again be personally invited to speak at the Anaheim event held this October 1st and 2nd. I'll be in great company with industry leaders presenting such as; Steven Shell, Paul Aubin, Steve Stafford and Brian Mackey to name just a few. 

Check out the web site for the complete line up of speakers and the schedule of events.

This is probably one of the best organized BIM conferences at a very affordable rate.
Check out the Pacific BIM Workshop HERE, if you cant make it to Anaheim this October 1st and 2nd check out the other two remaining BIM workshops at Phoenix AZ and Hawaii... 

Wait..what!... Hawaii..... Why didn't I apply to speak at the Hawaii BIM conference!!!

This year I'll be leading an interactive panel discussion with esteemed members of the AEC industry asking questions on technology and its impact on design and the design and construction process. 

This will be a stimulating discussion on how these industry leaders take advantage of the current state of BIM in the Industry and what the future may hold. 

Hope to see you there.