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Friday, November 25, 2011

How Thanksgiving is like BIM

In conversations I've been having withe people for the past few months, I try to explain how BIM implementation is no different than many other things in our world.  For example, and now it's completely relevant, I have the following discussion with them.

Let's say that I just installed a brand new kitchen for you.  I show you how to use your stove, microwave, blender, toaster and oven.  I then tell you that you now have to make Thanksgiving dinner.

I then ask the question, what's the first thing you need to do?  Out of 50 or more people I've asked this to, only two had the correct answer.  Everyone else has either said they'd make a list or go shopping.

My response is, "oh really, how big of a turkey are you buying?", to which the response is always "I guess I have to know how many people are coming."

Question for you.  When you get hired by an owner and they want to build a new building and you're doing your space programming, don't you have to know how many people are going to be in the building?  So, why the wrong answer in response to the turkey question?

Let's carve up this BIM training, implementation and process theory like a turkey.  I can teach you how to turn on the oven and I can teach you how to use Revit.  Does that mean you can make a pie?
We have ingredients, a recipe, timing, etc. Building a building has components and materials, a set of instructions /plans, and the schedule.  There's no difference.

Look at what happened yesterday.  What went into Thanksgiving dinner.
How many peole are coming?
 How much do you need of each ingredient?
When do you put the turkey in the oven?
When do you cook the potatoes?
When do you bake the biscuits?
When do you make the vegetables?
What time is everyone arriving?
Where will everyone sit?
What do you do with that crazy uncle of yours? Who are you going to sit him next to this year?
How do you time serving dinner in conjunction to the end of the football game?
Side note.  How f..ed up was it that the Dolphins lost literally at the last second?  How great was that timing?  How do you deal with that deadline?  Depressing huh?
Tables, silverware, plates, chairs, glasses, drinks, ice, beer, etc.
Who carves the turkey?
Why does it take 3 days to make Thanksgiving dinner and 6 minutes to eat it.
Did you make enough food?
Is there room for dessert?
Is everyone sober enough to drive home?
What about the people flying in during that snowstorm with the delayed flights?
Who's picking them up?
Who's waking up at 4am to get them back to the airport?

Someone has to do all of this planing, phasing, coordination, cooking, layout, scheduling and everything else involved in making that special dinner.  Building a building is exactly the same process.  There's a lot of planning and coordination that goes into it.

Let me ask you this.  Have you been responsible for building a building?  Can you make Thanksgiving dinner?  If you answered yes then no, how is it that you can't stick a bird in the oven?  Doesn't seem that complicated does it?  Cooking shouldn't be that complicated.  Just follow the recipe and everything will be fine right?

Lastly, remember it's called Thanksgiving, not thanks for taking.  What have you given back to the world? Have you helped others?  Did you make a Facebook status update about how much you ate last night?  Did you read about anyone who did say that?  With all of the people out of work and in poverty, how is it that we take our gifts for granted and take that second helping?

I write this blog to give back to the world a passionate plea to make a difference.  I am thankful that I have so many readers and have reached so many eyes.  I thank you for reading this and for hopefully making a difference in your life.

Thank you.


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