Selling BIM – November 2010 Newsletter

Two quick items before we dive into the main subject:

1)  I’m putting the finishing touches on my upcoming presentation, “BIM Infrastructure Best Practices”, for Autodesk University’s first ever Design Technology Management Summit (November 29th at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas).  I am excited by the prospects of this specialized pre-conference and look forward to helping it evolve to fit the needs of the IT-within-AEC community.  While at AU2010, I’ll also be assisting dave espinosa-aguilar and Robert Green with their respective AutoLISP labs.  Hope to see you at AU!

2)  My professional home for the last 22+ years has undergone an Ownership Transition and it’s time for me to take a new direction.  To that end, if you know of anyone looking for an IT/BIM/Digital Design Leader, please give me a shout.  Travel is not an issue.  Relocation will be considered, with preference given to locations where precipitation rarely falls in frozen form.  I may also be offering some Consulting Services, so let me know if you have a need for project-specific or occasional assistance/direction.

Now, onto this installment’s topic:

Selling BIM

The context this time is not selling BIM to your Clients but, rather, to your internal Personnel.  Here’s a small world story to demonstrate:

This past weekend, I had a booth at a local Guitar and Amplifier Trade Fair.  My years of collecting vintage guitars and amps have left me with some surplus pieces that could be put to better use by others.  Another exhibitor started chatting about gear (my wife didn’t believe it was possible, but he owns more guitars than I do!).  As the conversation evolved, we found out we were in the same profession and he worked at another local Engineering firm that had been purchased by a mega-firm awhile back.

Here’s the point:  He expressed frustration at the pressures posed by their transition to BIM, saying; “Why are we doing all this 3D Modeling when we’re still issuing 2D Drawings?”.  My reaction?  Someone had failed to impress upon him and, probably, the rest of the staff, the Big Picture of BIM.

If all the folks in the trenches know is that they’re expected to learn a new, sometimes finicky, software program to create what they view as the same old product, it’s no wonder they’re frustrated.

Transitioning to a new tool is always a challenge.  Leadership needs to share the vision and explain why that challenge will ultimately be worth the effort.  This message needs to be unambiguous.  “Doubting Principals” (every firm has them) have to adhere to the Mission Statement for the good of the Company.

It’s never too late to Sell BIM.  Call an assembly and demonstrate some “Perfect World” BIM projects.  Admit to the skeptics that it’ll be a challenge but set a clear directive for your entire Firm so there are no doubts that BIM is in your future.  Then, make the training, tools and support available to help them succeed.  Reinforce the message by displaying BIM images your staff created around your office and in promotional literature.  Engineering types are often too reserved to toot their own horns, but this is a time to show off!

Wouldn’t you rather have your Staff evangelize about your Company’s fantastic new process than to have them complain to perfect strangers at a Swap Meet?

Until next time,
Dave Pluke
Comments?  Questions?  Send them to:  dave -D O T- pluke _ A T _ BIM -dash- Ready _D O T_ com

About Dave Pluke

Dave Pluke served as "the man behind the curtain" (Principal and VP of Technology) of a successful Structural Engineering firm for over 2 decades. Overseeing the transition from two, stand-alone 80286 Personal Computers, through Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Design to a fully networked, Building Information Modeling (BIM) integrated environment has provided plenty of "life lessons" (sounds better than "battle scars", doesn't it?). This blog's purpose is to share those experiences and apply lessons learned to better assist meeting the challenges of the future.
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