The AEC Associates Process for CAD Outsourcing, BIM Outsourcing for Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry
The parent process of the AEC Associates is essentially the ‘core of our being’, or our raison d’être , if you will. This philosophy has evolved from our knowledge base and hands-on experience with different kinds of projects. The pillars of this process are:
- The Brief
The 3 omnipresent drivers to the entire cycle are:
Similar to the operation of a computer program, the drivers run in the background in our process, but are actually responsible for driving the latter. Hence, it is imperative that they must be put into place firmly for the program (project) to begin, and be executed properly. And if any of these drivers is ‘corrupted’, the entire program will be terminated (fail).
Since our process is proprietary, we refrain from publishing it on the internet. However, we would love to run you through and explain our approach to our clients, and how it can help them drive better results and ROI.
Following is an overview of the tenets of our process:
The success of any creative (read subjective) process lies at the setting of expectations. Documenting these set expectations is the foundation of any creation, be it Advertising, Design or any Commercial Art form.
We, at The AEC Associates, call it The Brief.
This is where we, as partners, discover each other’s work methodology, culture, nomenclature, and, most of all, the project.
Briefly, here’s what we do:
- Exchange basic information about ourselves as a company, a team and individuals
- Exchange work processes and sample works (in case policies permit)
- Understand the project and the task (for which our services are sought)
- Ask questions, document the answers
- Freeze the scope and schedule of work
While the project is in progress, it often happens that the Project Manager asks the outsourcing partner ‘Is this the same team that worked on our last project?’ Unfortunately, this is often a ‘once in a while’ scenario when the resourcing is not planned. The most daunting challenge in an industry like ours, is to manage the availability of the right resources for the right project, and vice versa.
An overview of the process follows:
- Identify the Resource Pool
- Finalize and debrief the Project Manager
- Train PM and key members, if necessary
- Finalize the team
- Set rules and processes for the project
This is essentially, the first interaction between the individuals from either side, who will work on the project. The key aspects of a kick-off are:
- Teams and roles
- Contact details, priorities and availabilities for access and response
- Understanding of the project
- Agreement on schedule
- Statement of expectations
- Operational nuts and bolts – drawing sizes, software, layers, etc.
The roots of the AEC industry are inherently based on experiential learning and ‘seeing is believing’, it is essential that the originator of the work should have a chance to review the work while it is in progress. Possibly the biggest contradiction in our profession is that while architects don’t particularly prefer that a client supervises their work in progress, they need to get a look and feel of their work while it is occurring in the studio, on the site or the vendor’s factory.
Our process for Delivery ensures there is sufficient time for many reviews. Here’s how we do it:
- Break it into a detailed schedule, working backwards, akin to a Gantt chart
- Each activity has a date and a party (client or Outsourcing Partner) to it
- Each activity has a duration
- Bottleneck activities are highlighted
- Non-negotiable dates are set in red
- Holidays are blacked out
- Rules are set for delivery deadlines – by time and time zone
- The schedule is tracked and reported weekly
- Documentation of each event is done, unfailingly
- Quality check points are statutory. Their adherence is technology and process driven
- Scheduled calls are made by teams and steering committees at pre-determined intervals
- Project performance is assessed during the life of the project, and the results shared transparently
- Project completion is signed off and documented
With this, we complete our Process Wheel, and look forward for a satisfied client to work with us again.