Schooling Your Staff

We’ve touched on BIM training for Project managers and so it makes sense to touch on the far more common training of production staff. Training is a topic that many design technology leaders manage and even grapple with at times. Constant, involved, best managed in-house for some reasons and outsourced for others. Assessing a firm’s current state of BIM expertise and addressing problem areas is critical. The on-boarding process and the maintaining skills is also critical especially as we see more regular changes to the tool-sets used and many new-hires still lacking in real BIM skills. As part of this discussion, email your on-boarding, assessment and training methods to to be shared and compared with your colleagues. They will be added to this post at the bottom.

George Castanza, a character in the show Seinfeld, explained that he left his car parked in the parking lot so that it appeared that he was working long hours. Of course, signs of effort in the office cannot be used to judge expertise. Assessing BIM expertise can be done many different ways. We use Knowledgesmart and have created custom assessments that address our needs and provides meaningful metrics. All-staff assessment is done annually, and the results then define the training needs for the next year, including full basics training, lunch and learns, and other training sessions.

We typically train our staff in-house, because we have certain standard workflows for starting projects, documenting finishes and other design components, and requirements for managing collaboration with consultants and clients. This year we are trialing for basics training. Paul Aubin’s course is quite good. We are doing this for 3 reasons:

  • First, it is self-paced and with staff schedules, commandeering three full days of their time is challenging. With, over a period of two weeks they are able to spend an hour here, and an hour there each day, completing the required training.
  • Second, basics training requires full days of the support-staff’s time and our support-staff’s time is better spent teaching the advanced content to staff.
  • Third, being self-paced and web-based allows for the staff member to fit it into their schedule or, if they choose, complete it after hours.
  • The self-paced training progress is track-able and we follow-up this with another assessment.

In summary, we get meaningful metrics through assessments, provide more-than-adequate training resources to staff, and maintain a constant degree BIM training (lunch and learns, and topic-focused training sessions) throughout the year. Improvement from last year, considering attrition, is on a steady incline. How does this compare with your program? What have you got in place that is working really well? What are the challenges you face?


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