Friday, 19 January 2018

Project Reset… When is it a good time to Reset your Project?

Occasionally you may feel that your project may be going off the rails. It could be for any number of reasons including, but not limited to: changing of the project team members, absence from the project, or drastic changes in the design or schedule.


You may need to take a step back and “Rest” the project.

Here are the 5 steps to resetting your project.

1: Review the Project Execution Plan
Review the Project Execution Plan with the project manager and update the PxP if needed (it probably is). By reviewing the PxP you can evaluate how far off the rails the project actually is. Often it’s just a case of reminding the team of the project goals, or their roles and responsibilities and bring everyone back together working as a team.

2: Come together
After reviewing the project goals and scope it’s time to bring together the current project team, and if possible include past team members as they will be valuable contributors to the conversation. Explain the situation to the team and ask for their input, including challenges and current obstacles. Make the project team aware that you are available "one on one" to discuss further as some team members may not be comfortable raising issues in a group setting.

If the issues are not just internal and include the wider project team it may be time to hold an “emergency” meeting. I typically schedule a face to face BIM Lead meeting at least every 6 months, even every three months if it’s a large complex project. Face to face meetings are crucial to developing relationships with the wider project team resulting in an increased willingness to work together and can quite often resolve simple misunderstandings. 

3: Make a list of the current issues
List the challenges staff are having, what the project challenges are, and the barriers to moving forward. From this list, you will be able to address these challenges that are preventing the project from moving forward, and find resolutions. This may require input from the managing principle as well.

Review the current status of the project, this may involve someone from outside the project to review the “quality” of the current state of the project and what's been developed so far. Having a discerning outside opinion of the project, someone who can identify current issues and potential future problems can help identify and avoid issues going forward.

4: Face the Music, to make Music
Doesn’t matter who is responsible for errors, the main thing is to address the issues. Draw upon your resources and delegate, bring in the big guns if necessary and work hard to resolve your team issues.

The harder you work with your team the harder they will work for you.

Address staff needs, if issues are caused by inexperience or workload or lack of management support take note and provide resources to address the project teams needs.

5: Learn lessons
Take note and learn from the experience. Was it a failure of executing a process, or is there an error in the process? Take steps to remedy the situation!

The ultimate goal is to bring the project back into being a successful profitable project. Projects that go off the rails are demoralizing for the project team and has an impact on the profitability of the project and ultimately of the firm. We are all responsible for the success of your project, and if you are in a position of leadership you are especially responsible for identifying projects that are starting to go off the rails.

It’s never too late and always worth the effort!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Is “Process” creating a culture of mediocrity?


In today’s business culture we integrate and utilize technology into our daily processes and procedures. The use of computers and software is ubiquitous in our daily lives, both personally and professionally, over the last 20 years computers have revolutionized our daily lives.

In the design and construction industry, we use computers and software for all aspects of our processes and have developed standards to ensure consistency, quality and develop a level of efficiency which is a requirement of today’s client expectations and project demands.

Over the past number of years, as technology has developed and became a standard in everyday business, the focus has been on teaching software and the associated applications and processes developed to take advantage of the software. Our focus has shifted to learning the tools and not what we use the tools for. Basic skills are diminishing, having a negative impact on the quality of the deliverable, which we are using technology to help us deliver.

“Is the development of processes creating a culture of mediocrity?”

Through the development of these processes are we stifling ingenuity and the opportunity for innovation, are we eliminating the need for team members to take on responsibility and ownership of their tasks and responsibilities? Processes should balance between providing quality and efficiency, our goals when developing processes are to minimize risk and liability by controlling the outcome, resulting in risk mitigation and quality through consistency.
However, is this preventing innovation and improvement? By demanding rigidity through the development of processes are we limiting the opportunities to finding new ways to complete tasks and make changes for the better?   

The design industry is notorious for this conflux, we expect a high level of creativity and innovation combined with a need for high quality (risk mitigation) that utilizes digital tools and associated processes with the intent to create efficiency. However, with the focus on learning the tool, we are finding that we're losing the simple knowledge and skills that new employees desperately need.

“We do a great job teaching the tools but we're losing sight of why we use the tools.”

Do we want to get to the point where we are providing a “caution content may be hot” type label due to over processing? When developing processes we need to be aware of the fine line between limiting the ability to think for ourselves and the benefits of efficiency and quality control. We need to balance the need for standardization and risk mitigation with the freedom to change the process when required allowing for innovation and improvement. Let’s not bog down the process of creation by stifling creativity with overly constraining processes.

Review your process on a regular basis with your team and look for ways to streamline and make improvements. Consider changing processes to “guidelines” and look for feedback from the users. Let your team know that at any point they can reach out to you to discuss in an open and constructive manner any possible changes to the process that can make improvements. You will not only gain the respect of your staff you will also have improved adoption rate of any processes you implement. Don’t be strict on the enforcement of process, use processes as a guideline and reference to complete a task, this will give your team the confidence to propose changes for the better and the flexibility to make any necessary changes confidently to ensure the success of the project and the team.

There will be areas of any process that are required to be enforced, where projects cross international borders or between offices standards need to be consistent, enforcing these requirements will be respected as long as you make it clear why they are required and all involved understand the necessity and function of the processes. Standing behind these requirements will also gain you the respect of your team.

When we receive proposals for Architectural projects we accept the project requirements and find unique ways to incorporate the client's desires and project requirements all the while looking for opportunities to improve the ascetics, functionality and efficiency of the design, resulting in the best possible outcome for the project. To be successful you need an equal balance of innovation and the structure of processes.  




Thursday, 30 November 2017

Shaping the Future of the Construction Industry

Recently I read an article in the October CanBIM newsletter by Mark Chidwick from Scius Innovations titled Shaping the Future of the Construction Industry.

I've had the opportunity to speak with Mark on a number of occasions on the state of the Architecture Engineering Construction Owners Operators industry. Mark has a unique perspective on the challenges we face in the AECOO as he comes from the Oil and Gas industry, which faced similar challenges a number of years ago.

I’ve discussed with Mark on the correlation between the Oil and Gas Industry and the AECOO industry. 

You wouldn’t think the two industries are related but the challenges faced by the oil and gas sectors are similar to the AEC sectors, the regulations, processes, and challenges in working collaboratively are similar.

Check out Marks Article here in the latest version of the CanBIM newsletter.

Mark Chidwick is a certified management consultant providing consulting services to a variety of industries in the energy sector. For over 25 years, Mark has provided services including program and project management, change management, thought leadership, technology leadership and development and market research.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Changing Perspectives: BIM as a Virtual Community

Changing Perspectives: BIM as a Virtual Community

 We are all familiar with using BIM to report on the information it stores; passive data. In the very near future, data will be used to inform designs with the help of advancements in generative design, software algorithms, and robotic construction; active data. There is no doubt that our current information management processes are going to have to change if we hope to leverage this co-creation capability.

  • Have you always viewed BIM as a means to an end? What about BIM as the beginning?
  • Is the current macro perspective on BIM serving us well? Or is it inhibiting innovation?
  • What if we consider the BIM process, from the very beginning to the very end, as a virtual community? A community in which everyone in the process is an active member and the information stored in that community is also an active member.
  • Shouldn’t we all be responsible for making the virtual community better? Don’t you want your community to outlive you?

Come join us December 7th to hear government, business, academics, and students share their perspectives on BIM. Be prepared to have your perspective changed!

 


 


 


brought to you by Calgary BIM Community

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Remembrance Day 2017

There are many battles in too many wars to fully pay tribute to the fallen soldiers of these conflicts.



Earlier this year I was fortunate to be able to tour some of these monuments in the North of France, in particular, my wife and I were able to visit many memorials (there are so many WW1 cemeteries that are so well respectfully kept by the small townships) specifically we visited the Canadian memorial Vimy Ridge, the ANZAC Memorial in Villers Bretonneux, the township of Passchendaele, the Beaumont-Hamel memorial dedicated to the Newfoundland Regiment,and the Thiepval Memorial to the Battle of the Somme where two of my Mum's uncles fought and survived. 



All of which are very powerful, moving tributes to those who served.



Hill 70




We were there to commemorate the unveiling of a monument dedicated to the battle of Hill 70, a pre-cursor to Vimy Ridge and critical in the establishment of Curie's reputation as a strong leader of Canadian forces.














One thing that struck me as I walked by many (too many) headstones was the age of these young men who lay beneath my feet.  18, 20, 34, 17, 21, 18..... and it goes on and on and on....




Vimy



This Saturday at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month I will be attending our local Remembrance Day event.


Passchendaele

If you are able please spend some time to remember those that have sacrificed their lives, whether they were killed in action, wounded or survived and able to come home albeit a changed person.

ANZAC
 Think about those veterans that are come home from our current conflicts, some with visible battle scars, all with the less visible scars of memories of war. 
Somme
 Lest we forget.
Vimy
 Of the Vimy Ridge Monument, Walter Allward once said that his inspiration for the monument came to him in a dream. The two pylons represent Canada and France, the two nations beset by war and united to fight for a common goal of peace and freedom for the Allied nations. 

To some, the pylons seem like twin sentinels, silently guarding a peaceful world, or a gateway to a better world where peace prevails.

Sc


Monday, 6 November 2017

What does your future look like?

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to speak to a full class of enthusiastic, engaging Architectural, Engineering Technology students at Thompson Rivers University, it was a lot of fun and I was asked some great questions by the students.

I spoke to them on how BIM has changed the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owners and Operators) industry and the impact of BIM and technology that utilizes BIM will have in the future. I spoke on a wide range of topics from the transition from the traditional drafting process to the current state of BIM and it impacts on our deliverables including BIM utilization and data management and visualization.

Here are some points I made to the class of young people who are just starting out in their career in BIM.

Diversity is the key, diversity in your experiences and diversity of acquired skills which will lead you too opportunities in the AEC industry.

Specialize, find the one thing you can excel at. If you can specialize and become the subject matter expert (SME) in one application or process, you immediately become more valuable as an employee and you just gave yourself a differentiator on your resume. Could be as simple as knowing how to use Navisworks, dRofus or understanding the workflow into Virtual Reality.

Take opportunities to advance your skills. These opportunities may not be directly related to your field of choice but if you learn more about the downstream or upstream processes you’ll be in a greater position to help facilitate the processes, whether that's in a variety of disciplines such as fabrication, construction, project management or design, well-rounded skills will make you more versatile and adaptable.

Quite often opportunities appear when no one else wants the job. I know lots of Architects that cannot adapt and have limited skills because they have limited themselves in their focus and have not taken opportunities presented to them to learn new skills or improve their knowledge outside of their narrowly focused field.

Branding, you create your opportunities by how you promote yourself, branding is key!
Your brand is your image you present to the industry, keep it professional and humble.


I really enjoyed my time at TRU and hope to visit the class again soon to follow up on their progress.