Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two Posts in the Same Day!?

I know what you're thinking...here we go two months without a post and now, bam two posts in the same day?! Crazy I know.

Moving on. It seems lately that everyone is in the HAVE TO GET WORK mode lately. And of course this is completely understandable and justifiable. I know we have been cranking out proposals and RFQ's right and left, while still managing all of our other projects. But every now and then I find myself at a point that is very rare...I call it the "Between Things...Thing". (While this is not too technical of a term of course, those who follow this blog or know me, also know that I think too much seriousness takes a lot of the fun out of what we do and doesn't really help in the end.)

Some people call the BTT (Between Things Thing) down time, EBAY time, check your 401k time, write on your blog time, update your LinkedIn profile time or time to visit with coworkers and talk about The Office season finale.

For a BIM Department...the BTT (Between Things Thing) is gaps in time between issuing clash detection reports, coordination emails, 4D updates, model builds, redesigns, RFI's and field coordination reports that can be used to increase your efficiencies to continue to complete this work even faster.

Here's the deal, every week my team and I have a meeting (a Lean meeting of course we have to practice what we preach) and I outline the standard/tutorials that need to be completed in the BTT gaps. These can include everything from BIM Project Startup Checklists to Coursework for our guys in the field to use to BIM specification customization. All of these continue to expand our ever growing standards and reference library.

I have included a sample snippit of a standard we distribute to team members who want to review the model clashes and 4D of a project with Navisworks Freedom here

While this current library of standards is growing into quite an impressive document/book, the intent is to begin using it for:
- New hires - both in the field and in the BIM Division to better acquaint themselves with how to do things the right way and limit "over the shoulder time"
- Executives - to orient themselves with our processes and technology
- Marketing - to stay away from "Hollywood BIM" and make sure we are promising what we can deliver
- Ourselves - believe it or not from time to time we forget things and this has served as an excellent reminder on more than one occasion.

BIM Projection Spreadsheet

So I've been a little further behind than I anticipated...anyways to expand on what we were discussing earlier, I have been digging a little deeper lately into more of the project management end of what it means to be a BIM Manager.

To that end I have posted here a spreadsheet in Google Docs that shows how we are linking our weekly time sheets to our monthly projections / expenses. While some of it looks like it got lost in the translation, I think you'll get the general concept.

Probably one of the biggest hurdles we've had in our current implementation is billing against project budgets that are slim to nonexistent. The course of action I've taken to resolve it, is to get involved earlier in the process of estimating/bidding or establishing the GMP on negotiated work to make sure that we have a justifiable and accurate budget in the job so we aren't making PM's unhappy campers.

Currently we are using this type of spreadsheet (though in Oracle) to track our cost histories for each phase of a project to validate future BIM enabled construction projects. While I know a number of companies bill their BIM Department to General Ledger, I've found you still need to know just how much a certain size of project will cost in the overall project framework which ultimately affects that bottom line.

I've made it a point to start discussing with the PM's at the beginning of each month exactly how many total hours we anticipate billing towards their projects. Although at first some of them love to kick and scream a little bit after a while they really appreciate the communication and more importantly the value add to their job.

Some more posts coming soon!