The Ultimate Guide to a Successful BIM Pilot

Think back to your college days. Remember that time you left an assignment or paper until the last minute? You “had enough time” but then something happened. For me, it was a laptop upgrade at the last minute when I had a quiz due that required MatLab. Long story short, the professor was not terribly happy but gave me an extension. If you read our post last week, you are thinking about implementing BIM, and are creating your roadmap for rollout to the entire company. My biggest piece of advice: pilot before your global rollout. 

So, where do you start with planning your pilot? Our recommendation: start by keeping the end in mind and setting goals. What are your aims in implementing BIM? You should have clearly defined goals in terms of productivity, quality, and delivery improvements. Goals can be translated into your plan and will help you pick a project to pilot your new tools on. The project you choose for a pilot must include all key project stages so that you can get a clear snapshot of what areas BIM has helped, and to allow you to measure against your goals. 

That way you are also able to see how your team deals with your new tools: strengths and weaknesses are exposed in a controlled manner, and that helps to reinforce specific points during further training stages. Which leads us to a central aspect: Implementing BIM, even on a pilot project, requires team effort.

And by “team” I mean the business as a whole. It’s a decision made by the whole staff, regardless of their area or expertise, since they all must come together and contribute to a correct implementation. This means that implementing BIM (and the results that come with that) must be a central part of every area’s goal. Integration is fundamental in the path to success.

How to identify a possible pilot project?

There’s no point in practicing on scenarios that won’t be part of daily operations. Along the same lines, choosing a representative pilot means easier access to information for comparisons with both successful and failed cases. Yes, learning from other people’s mistakes is a way of accelerating the team’s understanding of BIM. 

It’s fundamental that the project represents a challenge for the team. Implementation, when performed with a customer, won’t be as simple as the training examples. If you are familiar with Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development, you may be familiar with the Forming -> Storming -> Norming -> Performing paradigm. Your pilot should serve as the bridge to fill the gap between Storming with Norming. It’s useful to think of pilot projects as a middle stage between practicing and working as BIM professionals. Therefore, complexity is one of the key aspects to take into consideration.

So, what's the best choice?

Each organization differs. If you’re stuck trying to decide when and where, give us a call, we are always happy to advise. 

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