Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yeah But

Any reply that starts with "Yeah, but..." isn't likely to agree with what was just said.

In my travels working as a consultant I've been part of more than a few conversations debating using Revit or even the broader notion of BIM (Building Information Modelling). That said, I have been fortunate that the ultimate decision to do so has already been made, most of the time. I don't sell the software so I don't really get involved in "sales calls". My focus has always been on the practical stuff, helping people become capable, confident, self-sufficient and moving on. The BIG decision has already been made, to use Revit or not.

What if you haven't yet? Are you even empowered to do so? You've probably heard it before but you don't get permission to take the initiative.

Part of the process is analytical. It isn't easy to decide, it's risky, costly, confusing and even scary. So you build a spreadsheet and make projections. You guess a little, you study a ask friends and colleagues. Part of the process is emotional. It is easy to decide. You either believe intuitively that it is the right thing to do or you don't.

For me it was emotional first. I downloaded Revit 1.0 and felt something between "ah ha" and hallelujah. I knew I couldn't convince my employer to dig in at the time. We were still going through the AutoCAD or Microstation debate, as in "Which is better "A" or "M". Looking back that conversation seems like comparing two sides of the "same coin". I did the next best thing I could muster, found other project opportunities to use it for until I could make a stronger case for it at work. I don't think of myself as being particularly patient but again looking back apparently I was in this case, it took two more years to get that chance. Working on projects for education clients take time so they provided ample distractions during that time.

I took the emotional response and worked toward the analytical with practical results from real, small projects until I saw my chance to do a bigger real one. The purchase of Revit Technology Corporation by Autodesk helped sway the process by making Revit more real. I didn't build spreadsheets, no ROI graphs. I did work, created results and kept the firm leaders involved. They were pleased with the results and urged me to continue. Simple steps, forward motion...

I don't really like the acronym BIM, don't like saying it, how it sounds. I dont even think it truly encompasses the spirit of what we all think we want. Despite my misgivings, I have to admit that it has had a significant impact in a relatively short time. Consider that Archicad would love it if we all woke up tomorrow and gave them credit for doing it all years earlier. Ahead of their time, poorly marketed, not really the "right" solution?

I don't even care. If you do, keep in mind it's an endless debate with no practical outcome. The fact remains that until Revit and Autodesk's ability to focus resources on creating an obvious difference between what "we" are doing and what "we" ought to be doing...there had been little or no serious progress by any product attempting to solve problems in similar ways, not even their own other product.

If you've made the decision. Congratulations! You are moving forward.

If you haven't, are you responding with "Yeah, but...? Do your research, be responsible. Just keep in mind that you are not moving forward now. You may be getting work, busy, doing what you have always done. That might be okay for now. How long does "now" last though? How many other professions are still doing things the same way they were ten years ago? Are we immune?

I don't care which software you choose, (I do have a bias of course) just choose. If you don't like your choices, help make a better one. That's how Revit got started after all. You may not believe in the current solutions but we will definitely see more of "it" going forward and none of what we have already done. Don't delay or wait yourself into irrelevance.

Don't respond, "Yeah, but..." for too long.


Unknown said...

Well said.
I took a personal interest in Revit back at version 3, and started playing around with it and slowly learning what it was all about, and more importantly what it *could* potentially do. Let's face it, back then it couldn't do much.

Alas, I kept an eye on development and it was at version 5 that I introduced it to the company as a tool that could do fast 3D modelling for presentations, and basic floor plans and elevations. The documentation tools were young and sucked, but that was ok because it *could* do other things better.

So like you I applied it to what I thought it excelled at.
As the program evolved it was then rolled out in the company to those who could benefit from the toolset, until it reached a point in that it could benefit all.

You absolutely have to make a start *somewhere*, and progress from there. Fortunately, the decision is easier these days ;^)

Erik van eck said...

you are absolutely right.

ShawnF said...

Interesting. You are one of the only folks who have said "I don't care what you do, just do something."

Most folks who don't espouse to a Revit workflow or at least are dual-platform in their BIM processes are usually tarred and feathered as they don't follow the flock or do something different.

Nice to see this...

Valkin said...

great log right on the money