Friday, February 22, 2008

Revit Implementation Tips

When the Kansas Cit Revit User Group was first formed, one of the first sessions was on Revit Implementation by Dave Willard, who I believe was with Gould Evans at the time. His presentation was on the trials and tribulations of Implementing Revit as a BIM Manager at his architectural firm.

The following document came from that presentation.
Project Team Training Scenarios
There are various ways to approach training. The following training scenarios are some of the
most common. Each method has its pros and cons, some of which are listing below each

• Send employees out for vendor supplied training.
i. Uses their facility – no I.S. resources needed to setup a training room
ii. Certified trainers do the training
iii. Learning environment is away from work pressures
iv. Cost associated per person
v. Usually a 2-3 day course
vi. Most of the time you have a typical training syllabus provided, less
customized for your firm.
vii. Not so flexible training schedules

• Bring vendors in to supply training in your facility
i. Uses Firm’s space and hardware/software resources – I.S. help needed
ii. Cost associated with bringing someone in (travel, lodging, etc.)
iii. Trainees are sometimes too close to work pressures, phone calls,
etc….easy to get distracted by work issues.
iv. More flexible on Course Itinerary
v. Scheduling typically revolves around trainer’s availability

• “Train the trainer” – one or two people get trained in your firm, then go train the
i. Less cost to firm
ii. Requires selecting staff members that can be good student’s and better
iii. Peer to peer training sometimes sinks in better…coming from someone
they know is doing the same kind of work as they are.
iv. Very flexible course itinerary, and works around your firm’s schedule.

• Combination – mixture of “Train the trainer”, and Vendor supplied training
i. The most flexible method of training
ii. Allows in-house peer to peer training with custom itinerary on a flexible
iii. Allows professional training resources to come in and do 1-2 day training
session. Can be used to provide advanced training during certain
phases of your projects.
iv. Costs of training can be balanced between in-house vs. outsourced

Revit Implementation – Building the Foundation
Picking your in house Trainer

Unless you have someone in your firm that is a rocket scientist when it comes to Revit, I would
suggest you strive to create a “combination” training scenario. Your first hurdle will be to identify somebody within your firm that can lead this charge and become your in house teacher. Not only will you need to find a person with good “social” skills, but also someone that has good technical skills, is fast at learning, with good problem solving skills, and has the memory of an elephant. To help identify this person you can start with the ones that have seen Revit and are currently using it and or plugging it to everyone at the office. We call this “flag waving”. Those adamantly waving the flag are usually very good candidates as they are already convinced that the software is worthy of implementation, and want to see their peers climb on board.

Build your in house training and support mechanism
Once you have identified this person or persons, send them out for Vendor supplied training
ASAP. Once done this person will have a better understanding of the product and have a first
hand look at how to teach others what they have learned. Keep in mind, these people will not
only be your in house training resource, but also the start of an in house Revit support
mechanism. The goal in the beginning is to create a solid foundation of training and support so
others feel comfortable jumping on board the Revit boat.

To make this an easier transition for your staff, remember that they will always appreciate the
ability to go to someone with quick questions. Outsourcing, although the quality of support is
good in most cases, tends to minimize the amount of questions people should be asking as they
make this transition. Why? Because they have to wait for an answer…..might be one minute,
might be 1 hour. My point is, when people have to wait, they sometimes become impatient and
forge ahead down the wrong path….picking up bad habits along the way that are sometimes hard to get them away from. I strongly encourage all of our users to ask questions, and then try my hardest to answer them there on the spot if possible. Having an in house training and support mechanism early in the game can go a long way toward making your Revit implementation a smooth journey.
Note: (if work schedules permit) I encourage your in-house trainer to also be a part of a project team at least a couple of times per year. Learning the hurdles others go through in a typical Revit day allows him to address problems, easing the pain for the next project team. It also helps your
trainer get a first hand look at new releases of software, and how they’re performing under a
“real” workload scenario.
Identify your Outsourced Training Resource
There are many…many Authorized Autodesk Training resources to chose from. You’ll quickly
learn that your choices will be narrowed down when you start asking for custom training
itineraries, flexible training schedules, and key individuals to come in from AutoDesk to help you
out. It’s amazing how some Autodesk Product dealers have the pull needed to get Autodesk
“stars” flown in to visit you, and how some simply search for the “first available” table. We all
know that “first available” usually means the booth next to the restrooms right? Choosing the
right dealer with pull will really pay off when the time comes you need Autodesk Experts to comein and help.

Having an Autodesk Dealer that is more than willing to come in and give demos (canned and
custom) to your staff is equally important, especially if they send people with architectural,
structural, and or mechanical experience. Knowing that the one giving the demo was once or stillis working in the industry goes a long way when people start asking industry related questions.

Revit Implementation – Building the Foundation Cont.
Preparing IT for the Storm
Implementing any software can play havoc on the IT department, especially if they are not awareof the new hardware requirements suggested by the software manufacturer. The Implementation if Revit is no different. Below is a few items we have found that impact IT budgets and manpower.
• Budget in Hardware upgrades (if needed)….Good Video Cards, 2 Gig minimum, 3-4 Gig
• Revit Installs – Keep up with the new builds that come out. Doing this could improve
performance of software and save valuable staff time.
• Monitor the multiple backup files being created on the Servers. Revit can create lots of
.dat & .rws files in the “_backup” folders, often using much more hard drive space than
your actual database. These need to be cleaned out occasionally, and possibly excluded
from the backups. Same goes for the _backup folders on your local pc.
• Network Pipeline – in-house and possible between offices.

Setting the Revit “Standard”

When building the foundation for your Revit implementation, keep in mind that your first pilot
projects will go much smoother, with a more pleasant user experience, if you have your firm’s
drafting standards already embedded in Revit. Without these standards in place, user’s will be
forced to create standards on the fly….resulting in a poor first impression of Revit. Needless to
say a good deal of time should be allocated toward getting your standards into Revit prior to
starting your first pilot project. This is done by creating a Revit “project template”. Project
templates can house various elements that help eliminate the need for users to search outside
their project for standards. For example, Revit can have the following (but not limited to):
• Standard AutoCAD import/export settings
• Standard Titleblocks
• Standard Sheets – (cover sheet, abbreviations sheets, wall types, door types, etc.)
• Standard annotation symbols specific to your firm
• Standard Lineweights and Line types
• Text Styles
• Typical door, window, wall, roofs, ceilings railings, floor types, etc.
• Typical 2D details, and or detail components

Revit Implementation Strategy – Prepare the Team

Once you have built a system to train and support your firm with Revit (your foundation), the
next step is forging ahead with your implementation plan by preparing the entire team for
the transition. Keep in mind that your team below is my typical approach toward
implementing Revit in an office. This may not be the best approach for your firm, but has
proven to

1. BIM / Revit demo and discussion with Owners & Project Managers - Sell your plan
• Identify different aspects of your firm’s current process and explain how Revit will
improve or eliminate certain tasks typically encountered – identify the savings
• Share your plan of implementation, training, and support and mention the pieces
you already have in place to get things started on the right foot.
• Share costs associated – per team, per office, etc. (stand-alone vs. network)
• Share potential team structure changes
• Discuss new skill sets for new hires, roles, and manpower needs
• Discuss learning curves the staff will incur
• Discuss hurdles your teams will face and when.
• Share User Comments from Outside sources
• Share Case Studies from outside resources
• End the meeting by saying you’ll schedule a follow-up meeting to start identifying
projects and teams that could be used as pilot project

2. Identify a project manager and let your coaching begin. – ½ day session
• Make sure the project manager stepping forward understands that you need their
support to keep the team moving forward with Revit despite any hurdles they
may experience. If you’re owners and project managers are not committed, it will
be too easy for them or the team to throw in the towel when things get tough or
under the gun...
• Assemble a project timeline with the project manager so you know critical due
dates. This will help in scheduling step-forward training sessions for the team.
• Be a coach – teach the Project Manager what skills to develop when staffing
his/her project, and what to expect in the timing of certain tasks throughout the
project timeline. Explain how and when training will take place for his team
throughout the project.
• Get a list from the project manager of whom they think will be on his/her team.

3. Project Team Discussion – Full day session
• Hold this meeting 1-2 weeks prior to starting the project – keep Revit fresh in their
• If you haven’t already done so, this is a good time to have someone installing Revit
on team member pc’s.
• Start off session by informing the team that they have been selected to be Revit
users. A few words from the Project Manager would be nice so he can step up and
take any blame that might be directed at you for this decision.
• Begin the session with a ½ day Revit demo and Q/A
• Use the remaining ½ day to get familiar with the team members, the project they will
be creating in Revit, the task/role that each of them has been given on the project.
• End the meeting by directing each team member to the built in Revit tutorials. Inform
them that you will have a follow-up session one week later for Basic training and to
discuss any questions they may generated from the tutorials.

4. Project Team Follow-up and Training Session – One week after Team Discussion
• All team members should have gone through the tutorials by now, including the
project manager.
• 1-2 hour discussion on concerns and questions the team has about Revit on their
• Spend the remainder of the day going through a quick Revit Essentials
class…making sure they have a solid understanding of Worksets

5. Project Planning Session
• Gather the Project team together and strategize how you will use Revit on this
• Identify the “Worksets” the project will be broken into and why
• Identify potential elements of your project that might benefit from being linked in. (if
any) Better to decide this early in the process than later
• Establish what kinds of data you already have to start with, and what you might want
to recreate in Revit. (Consultant files, etc.)
• Contact consultants and let them know you are using Revit on this project.
Mechanical and Structural consultants might be willing to join the Revit Bandwagon.
If so you might want to plan a meeting with them as well to define how you can work
• Identify who will be doing what and estimate when that might happen.
• Begin working in Revit on your project.

6. Revit Project Mentoring Begins
• In-house Revit support will mentor the team, helping them over various hurdles they
will face throughout the project lifecycle.
• It will be apparent when advanced training is needed. Many of the individuals on the
team will start asking how to create custom content. When this happens I suggest
stepping them through the basics of content creation. If your in-house support is not
capable of training this course, then reward the user efforts with an advanced class
hosted by your chosen vendor.

7. Let it Steamroll
• As more teams begin using Revit on Projects, other non-Revit teams will stand up
and take notice.
• Take advantage of the Revit user’s influence on the rest of the firm. Fellow piers
pushing Revit as their tool of choice is a much more effective selling tool.
• Take advantage of the Revit user’s support capabilities. As more people become
seasoned Revit users, your in-house support base grows. Now you have inner-team
support to keep projects on track, and experienced users on the floor that people can
go to quickly with questions. In Short people learn from each other.
• Create a regularly scheduled Revit Demo session for staff members. Take
advantage of the curiosity non-Revit users are building. Hold a short demo session
every week during lunch, making sure to leave time for lots of questions. Get them
over their fear of change through knowledge of the product and how it will affect their
daily lives.
• Keep gathering good and negative comments from Revit users. It’s the best way to
know what’s happening on the floor, what needs to be addressed, and how users
want to use Revit.

1 comment:

Platypus the Architect said...

This is very helpful.

I am developing a Revit implementation plan for our opractice area which crosses several offices and several project types.

Any additional information, advice, manuals, plans, standards, would be greatly appreciated.


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