Design Optimization Flashblog: Reflections from BIMForum: The Unique Snowflake Conundrum

By Laura Handler of Tocci Building Companies on May 06, 2014

One of my favorite sources of inspiration is Actionable Books, which condenses business books into a “one key message and two ways you can easily integrate that message into your life in 5 minutes or less”. Since I find it incredibly valuable, I thought I’d use the concept to share my reflections from the recent BIMForum conference on “Optimizing Design with BIM”.

Are we using Building Information Modeling to get our processes and results better?

Presentations from the BIMForum conference on “Optimizing Design with BIM” aimed to discuss that question with the 511 designers, contractors, owners, and other industry professionals from around the country. A small disclaimer: I may be biased about the success of the conference, since I co-chaired it with James Vandezande (HOK)!

Click to Tweet this quote: To get around the unique snowflake conundrum, measure process performance.

The Unique Snowflake Conundrum

Every single project is different. Ever project has a different value  proposition, has different constraints and outcomes that can be measured. … To get around the unique snowflake conundrum, the small sample size issue…we measure the performance of our processes, rather than measuring the outcome of delivery. In his presentation, Tyler Goss (Case) presents opportunities to measure process rather than outcomes. The reasoning: project outcomes are usually so unique that we don’t have enough benchmarks to compare outcomes to. If you have 25 minutes, you can watch a video of his presentation. 

If you don’t (or even if you do watch the full presentation), consider two quick, actionable ways to incorporate process measurement into your life.

1. Track Your Day

On a personal level, you can track how you spend your time. Rather than getting really granular, I suggest using a chart from The Daily Muse which breaks each day into Primary Work, Other Work, Commute, Fun & Relaxing, Exercise & Life Maintenance, and Sleep. I will be coloring all week long and, on Friday, will be able to see if I’m spending my time doing the most important things! You can get a printable copy of the chart here and read the full article from The Daily Muse here. You can see how creative geniuses spent their time here. (I actually have that poster pinned up at my desk!)

2. Track Your Project

On a project level, you can track your project metrics. At the end of each week, note the metrics that are relevant to the stage of project. Here are a few ideas:

  • Model Elements (per Model File)
  • Clashes Remaining
  • Issues Remaining
  • RFIs (note both open and closed)
  • Submittals (note Not Yet Submitted, Approved, conditionally Approved, and Rejected)
  • Manhours (note Field, Office, and Modeling)

After a few months, you can compare within the project and with a little analysis, start to infer the cause of certain issues. Do this for a few projects, and you’ll be able to compare between projects.

I’m interested to hear what data you track – whether its measures process or outcomes. Leave a note in the comments or tweet to me.

For more takeaways from the BIMForum, check out the other bloggers participating in the Flashblog.


[Read Laura’s original post here].