How is technology implementation going at your firm? Really, how's it going? Do you have a set of strategies, principles, and objective metrics to conclude whether or not you are winning? In this interview, special guest Ryan Cameron talks about how to strategize a successful implementation strategy at your firm. Here are some of the key takeaways I learned from Ryan.
1. Measure What Matters
This nugget comes from the book "Measure What Matters" from How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs. OKRs or "Objective Key Results are a way for firms to objectively know whether or not a plan is being implemented successfully. Another common method is the "SMART" acronym (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) as an example. It's a way to get tangible, objective, and measurable information for feedback on whether or not an implementation was successful. For example, we want 15% of the projects in the firm to utilize Virtual Reality at some capacity.
2. Be a Resource Not A Roadblock
There is always the temptation to make sure everyone is working on what they are supposed to work on, but honestly, the people at your firm are smart, competent, and are able to take charge of the projects that they are working on. Sometimes, we need to shut up and get out of their way. Now, that doesn't mean the team should just go rogue, and certainly, we need to make sure everyone is in the right seat on the bus, but in general, the team should be able to take charge of the task at hand. The team should feel empowered and need you as a resource to point them in the right direction or if they have a question.
3. Promote Digital Competence
The statistics show that 86% of executives agree their firm must train its people to think like technologists, but implementing digital competency can be hard. Digital competence can be implemented a few different ways. It can be implemented slow and methodically with a lot of oversight and governance or it can be done using small collaborative groups using a more grassroots approach. Whichever way you start it's important to ask your team what they want to learn about! Two questions should be asked whenever thinking about implementing a new tool. 1. What do you think about this tool? 2. Who do you think you will use it? Then the question to answer for leadership is "what specific competitive goal does this fill for our firm?" which leads us to our next point. Now when you are ready to implement, it's important to not start with the solution in mind but to focus on learning, which brings us to our next point.
4. Create a Culture of Learning
With competing priorities such as project deadlines and financial obligations, it can be hard to carve out time for staff to simply learn. That said, it is imperative for any firm that wants to keep up with the competition and the marketplace to invest in learning. Implementing "Learning Labs" is one proactive approach to creating intentionality around learning at any office. CMBA is starting to implement this format. At EvolveLAB we have a Learning Lab every other week, and rotate presenters. One week we focus on something less technical such as drawing tips and tricks, and the next week going full on using reflection coding principles to overcome limitations within the Revit API.
5. Attack Problems Not People
A great exercise is to create a list of 3 or fewer assumptions on what you feel is not working at your firm. Remember you want to pick barriers NOT people. Now that you have identified those barriers, you now want to create a list of people that can help you overcome and create solutions for those barriers. Next, meet with your leadership team and see if you can allocate some of the firm's time/budget to addressing these barriers. It usually works best if you can execute and present the task as a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis, and present a thorough solution to the challenge at hand.
About the Guest
Architect, Digital Practice Leader
Ryan Baker Cameron graduated with a master in architecture degree from the University of Nebraska in 2008. Ryan is consistently ahead of the industry in the exploration and adoption of advantageous technologies applied to design and buildings. Many AEC peers at conferences such as RTC, BILT, and Autodesk University include Ryan’s long list of public presentations and innovative work have been commonly cited as representing the vanguard of critical directions for the industry. Ryan is more than an industry leader, he has reached tens of thousands of AEC professionals around the world with his vast technical skill and speaking opportunities.
About the Author
Bill Allen is CEO, and President of EvolveLAB, Disrupt Repeat, and On Point Scans. These firms synergistically help Architects, Engineers, and Contractors optimize the built environment. He has over 15 years of experience managing technology for buildings in the AEC industry for cutting edge firms. Bill Allen has been a keynote speaker as well as featured speaker at multiple events, and has the most watched Autodesk University talk ever "The Future of BIM is NOT BIM, And It's Coming Faster Than You Think". Bill has also co-founded the non-profi The Bare Roots Foundation, an organization that believes each human being deserves the rights to basic human needs including shelter, food, and clean drinking water.