It’s summer here in New England so naturally, I’m thinking about road trips. Maybe it’s because I live in the US but I love a good road trip. There’s nothing more promising than a sunny day, a full tank of gas (or full charge, for you electric car drivers) and a map book in the passenger seat.
In fact, it was three years ago this summer that my family and I packed up our house in Los Angeles, California and hit the open road for a cross-country adventure.
We were moving back to the east coast, New England specifically. We had some time before my wife started her new job so we decided to take a month and drive back east.
With our two kids (ages 2 and 6 at the time) nestled in the back seat, we pulled out of Santa Monica and headed out on our adventure.
Our trusty companion during this trek was our map book. Without it, we would have been lost, literally. Battered and dog-eared, this map book lead us through some pretty remote parts of the country.
When we lost our cell signal and couldn’t use Google Maps, it was our map book that lead us to the next town or to that badly needed gas station.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Google maps. I use it all the time to find a restaurant, a store or other specific location. There are times, though, when you need the larger context. When you need to see the full route from where you are to where you want to go.
Maybe you don’t really know your starting point. Or your end goal. Maybe you’re just following the crowd, hoping they’ll lead you. . . somewhere. What you need in these cases is a strategic view of the road. You need a roadmap.
Knowing software isn’t enough
OK, you’re saying, so what does this have to do with BIM?
Being skilled using a piece of software isn’t enough if you don’t know where that software fits into your overall strategy.
Is your goal simply to produce construction drawings faster? Or can you leverage your efforts to create more value for you and your clients? How does your software fit your firm’s workflow? Where do you want your firm to be in 5, 10, 15 years? How does technology fit into that vision?
I often hear from firms that are frustrated that they are losing money on their BIM projects. The projects take too much time or their staff isn’t working as efficiently as they used to using more traditional methods.
Just focusing on the software is a little like using Google Maps to guide you cross country. You’re looking at it one destination at a time so you only see part of the whole picture. You’re lacking the larger context.
So what can you do?
Your BIM Roadmap
What you need is a map, or more specifically, you need a roadmap for using BIM in your practice. A roadmap matches your short and long-term strategic goals. It clearly outlines your goals and objectives and takes a close look at all facets of your BIM strategy.
Ultimately, your BIM roadmap tells you where you are today and what you need to do to fully leverage your use of BIM. The roadmap is your guide to integrating your business strategy with your technology and project delivery strategies.
Create Your Roadmap
How do you go about creating your own BIM roadmap? Here are some questions to ask yourself when you take a strategic look at your firm’s BIM and technology use:
1. Process and workflow
How do you get your work done? What does your process look like from early design through construction administration? What tools do you use to get this work done? What are some current roadblocks you’re facing? How can this work be improved / sped up?
How are your projects organized? Are there improvements you can make to your standard configuration that will increase speed and accuracy? Are you making use of templates to standardize your output? How about content libraries? Are there any add-ins or other automation tools you could be using to work more efficiently?
How do you ensure everyone is using your software to it’s full potential? How do you train users when new software is released? Are there some members of your team who are slowing you down due to a lack of skill? How do you share tips and tricks throughout your firm?
4. Project Start-up
Do you use an execution plan to ensure all members of your project team (both internal and external) are on the same page regarding standards and procedures? How are you going to coordinate your work across disciplines? What are your ultimate project deliverables?
5. Project Close-out
What happens at the end of the project? How will you archive your files and deliverables? Are you going to extract content for your libraries and templates? How will you take the lessons learned from this project and apply them on current and future projects?
Hopefully these questions will get you started thinking about your own roadmap. Creating your roadmap is a process, not a final destination. Ideally, you’ll review your roadmap bi-annually or annually and adjust it respond to changes in your firm and in the industry as a whole.
So what do you think? Does your firm current have a BIM roadmap? If not, do you think you could benefit from a strategic overview of your BIM processes? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Want Help Developing Your Roadmap?
Do you need expert help developing your own roadmap? Contact me for more information about my new BIM Roadmap service. After extensively interviewing you and reviewing your firm’s processes and practices, I will create a fully custom BIM roadmap that will make your firm more efficient and more profitable. Contact me for more details.
PS. If you also love maps, I highly recommend Aleksandra Mizielinska’s gorgeous book Maps. It’s a kids book but it’s great for any age. The illustrations are rich and lavish and get better with each viewing. I probably look at the book just as much as my kids do.