Here are seven quick tips that will improve the collaboration and productivity of your team:
1. Get started with a good BIM Management Plan
There is a reason this is at the top of the list. Having a BIM Management Plan is really fundamental to having a smooth running successful BIM project. There are many templates out there and they all more or less go through the same things.
Don’t just bomb the whole team with a massive document. The team (depending on BIM maturity) will most likely need some explanations and definitions. A good workshop can really kick this off in the right direction.
2. Establish a Project Origin as early as possible
The importance of this cannot be overstated. While you can use Shared or Survey Units, more predictable results will come from using internal or Project Units. Make this information accessible to everyone in your team. Share a few helpful guides or other documents that make clear where the Project Origin is (in relation to Grids and Levels), and describe the best way to adopt this origin for new team members. Setting a consistent, team-wide origin point will make linking RVT, DWG, NWC, IFC and FBX files much quicker and easier.
3. Make file sharing as open and straightforward as possible
Ideally, the project should have at least one document controller who is responsible for making the necessary files accessible for all team members. It can prove complicated when multiple team members are on different domains in the same office, or in completely different geographic locations. Almost all of these problems can be solved either by cloud file sharing methods, FTP and file synchronisation tools, or even a accelerated WAN or VPN solution. If periodic document submissions are required, the document controller should be responsible to notify all affected team members that new files are available.
If you establish and share an intelligent file naming folder organisation structure with your team, Revit linking and Navisworks file pathing can be greatly simplified, resulting in less twiddling of thumbs.
4. Share live programme tracking data with your team
This may sound a little cryptic, but it can be incredibly easy to set up. Let's say the project was started with great intentions, and perhaps there is a programme document that lists due dates for various submissions and project goals. Ideally, these original dates will be met and everyone can go home... However, in real-world scenarios often unforeseen circumstances may result in some adjustment being required to the programme. How can you share this with your team easily?
BIM Bicycle is working on some solutions, but there certainly is some other hacks out there. If your team is able to access and use Google Docs, this might be an easy way. Any Excel spreadsheet can be saved directly to Google Drive and shared to the team. This allows the Modelling or Coordination project manager to update the programme on an hourly or daily basis, and does not necessitate the need for every team member to receive, download and print a new tracking document.
Taking this to the next level, the tracking document could be converted to a true Google Sheet to allow team members to comment and discuss matters affecting the programme as they arise.
5. Use Communication methods in a reliable and predictable fashion
Modern teams have access to a huge variety of communication methods, including IM, SMS, phone, email, shared cloud documents, shared cloud model tools like BIM 360 or VEO, in-canvas communication in your BIM software of choice, along with proprietary document and team management tools like Aconex or Newforma. Which will you use?
The choice actually matters less than be consistent. If something like Aconex is in place for the project, this may be the recommended method of communication for actionable items, and perhaps email is only used as a backup. The trick here is to avoid using “all of the above” methods, because doing so may leave your fellow team members dazed and confused, constantly checking 8 sources of communication and unable to accomplish real work.
6. Be an Honest and Accountable Team Player
It is always better to own up to a mistake. We all make them, and the quicker one is discovered the sooner it can be solved. Being accountable for your work will earn the respect of your team members, and that will be useful in your whole career and not just on this project.
Team players are good to work with. They aren't looking for a way out of helping you, and they aren't afraid to very occasionally bend the rules to help move the project forward. In the end, all team members have a common goal – deliver a great project. So, let us act that way. You can work hard but still be cheerful about it.
7. Doughnuts for coordination meetings
A must really...
Luke Johnson, What Revit Wants