Highly Effective Collaboration

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In the Bridging the Gap podcast Matt Dillon: Master Collaborator, Todd Weyandt and Matt discuss the importance of collaboration in the future of the AEC industry and how Autodesk BIM 360 can assist in generating a more collaborative environment. Matt is the Core Services Director at Applied Software and the innovative leader of an experienced group of AEC industry professionals. He understands the process of collaborating and explains that he has seen quite a bit of change in the last twenty to thirty years.

“Thirty years ago,” he says, “we would share things by fax or email or even snail mail.” Modern cloud-based collaboration tools have changed everything. Everyone knows they’re working with the correct document, and everyone uses “the same version of the same document.” No one has to “wait around” for something to be emailed to them, he noted. This greatly impacts the pace of a project, as there is less confusion and ultimately less expense involved.

Matt describes the definition of successful collaboration as “really about communication,” and he adds that its benefits are less “frustration and adversarial relationships.” He explains that people tend to become more trusting when collaboration has been successful. That degree of success tends to foster more of a team approach and attitude. When successful collaboration has taken place, relationships can begin with trust, and risk aversion can be transformed into the far more preferable risk management. “We all want to develop a good project,” he says. “Otherwise, why are we doing this?”

However, Matt mentions that security and confusion are two things that concern people and tend to prevent them from collaborating in the first place. Of collaborating, Matt says, “It’s not really difficult for [people] to see the benefit.” Most of the time, they are simply unfamiliar with the collaborating tools that they have and opt to not use them. In order to successfully work with someone, a person needs to “understand the tools available [to them].” For example, he notes, collaboration is not Dropbox. Rather, it’s the process behind every action that a person takes. The objective must be completely understood beforehand, and “you gotta have a goal in mind.”

Fortunately, with BIM 360, “Everyone’s working on the same thing,” Matt says. BIM 360 allows a person to have control over “who sees what, when.” Its tools are there to help you share what you want to share with people at the same time that you protect what you do not wish to share. Matt also stresses that collaboration is especially important in the transition from CAD to BIM (building information modeling), because it really is a “disruptive” change. To cultivate collaborative team culture, he recommends that upper management in companies needs to be “not just tolerant of that change…but driving it. It needs to come from the top down.” Stress is natural, but if upper management can provide the tools and support needed, the “fear” can be lessened to a manageable level.

For an indepth dive into the collaborative processes enabled by the BIM 360 product line, download Matt Dillon’s eBook “The BIM 360 Family Tree.”

If your company’s collaborative process could use some fine-tuning, or if you’re just starting on your collaborative journey, contact Applied Software today. You will have the opportunity to work with industry-trained experts like Matt Dillon who understand the finer points of collaboration.

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