You don’t know, what you don’t know.

You don't know, what you don't know

I’ve been working on modeling and VDC coordination projects for more than two years. I’m used to problem detection and solving and consider myself an advanced user of tools such as Revit and Navisworks from Autodesk.

Since childhood, I’ve been a perfectionist. I’m demanding and am not happy with finished deliverables until I feel I’ve given my 100%. VDC (Virtual Design Construction), the area I work in within Voyansi, receives projects that need 4D development. If you are unfamiliar with the term “4D construction,” it means you have a fourth dimension (time) traced across the construction schedule and its stages. It gives BIM experts and other stakeholders involved in a project the ability to visualize 3D objects appearing at the exact moment they are installed. 

Now, imagine that you had to switch from a platform you’ve worked with for years to another industry standard.

Only one person knew what the program could do, but no one on our team was familiar with the software interface before we began. That’s ok, I learned to swim by being thrown into the deep end, and I had a couple of days of buffer set aside to learn everything I could before starting. The entire team wasn’t sure what to expect from the animation, but everyone wanted to exceed the client’s expectations, including me.

You don’t know what you don’t know before beginning. We doubled down on the planning aspect by adding an additional progress review meeting weekly. I find learning new tools one of the more interesting parts of my job, so we gamified our approach. During our meetings, the team would walk through our animations set over time and challenge each other to spot areas to fix or improve, such as how the elements appear or disappear, the interactivity of the colors, building aesthetics, and equipment models and paths. One critical area that presented a really unique challenge was in having several simultaneous excavations using the same pieces of capital equipment. Untangling the data stream that led to an excavator floating in the air in our model became just a fun game of hide & seek with the data error. 

As with every new software, you don’t learn until you make mistakes. And as every “training file” (Those computer people like me will know what I’m talking about), this one had A LOT of them.  At times, we felt hopeless. No video or manual was prepared for the questions we had at this point. 

This was when our software tool’s Customer Success Manager appeared. It turns out, along with our license purchase, we had access to a personalized training program. This included several hours available for us to have meetings with the software developer’s subject matter experts, and time set aside to ask as many questions as needed. We started our sessions with our CSM, Daria. As a platform expert, she was surprised with our questions’ complexity as this was a new tool for our team but still did not hesitate to give us the answers we needed. 

This was when our Storming Phase turned into team Performance. With each passing day, we were more prepared for the client’s comments. We began to make the improvements in half of the time we used to and were able to propose new ideas for the animation. Now, I feel like we are working side by side, like a real team, and the outcomes have been incredible.

In the end, I think the conclusion is that you must look for help anytime you need it; it will always be there. Look to the creators of your tools, they want you to be successful, and have references, and programs to help you out. Also, do not give up. When you like what you do, and help things work out better (Like planning a construction project before it is happening), the results will be extraordinary, and the feeling is incredible.

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