Implement the human structuring around your shared BIM library
To make membership and maintaining a shared library easier, you need to find ways to work using a multidisciplinary approach and thus break down potential organisational silos (modelling, BIM management, engineering, etc.). This often requires changing and adapting existing ways of working or inventing new ones.
Should you set up a special shared library team?
The structuring around the shared library is key to its scalability.
Two structuring options are possible:
- Decentralised or distributed model: several members of the modelling teams have some of their time allocated to working on establishing and contributing to the shared library.
- Centralised model: A dedicated team is responsible for the shared library.
You can try out a combination of models too. Autodesk, for example, has a dedicated central team for the “Lighting” system, which is supported by contributors across the organisation.
Regardless of the organisational model you choose, the professions you need to involve from the start are as follows:
- Object modellers (experts and specialised profiles),
- Informed designers,
- One or more BIM Managers,
- The other set users, and business engineers
- A sponsor supporting the initiative.
The designers involved in building the shared library must be good at object modelling and information architecture.
Likewise, the engineers you use must be very oriented towards the data needs of each product.
It may make sense to also appoint a person who will be in charge of the shared library, drive its creation and maintenance, and who will know how to preach to the rest about why having this library in the organisation is so vital.
Above and beyond allocating dedicated resources to the object library, establishing clear governance is essential for ensuring that the system can adapt to any changes.
So, you have to start by answering certain questions about how to manage changes, such as who validates the changes made to the system? How are requests for new objects handled? What happens when bugs or regressions are detected in the implemented tool?
How do you encourage team engagement?
Even more importantly than constructing it, the key to an object library’s success lies in the team’s ability to encourage its key players to use it.
Depending on the size of the business, it is difficult to encourage people to adopt one and it will only be adopted if it is deemed useful.
For the organisation to be able to follow the direction that the team has established, you must:
- Instil a vision and establish strong and shared principles of experience.
- Get managerial support to finance it, i.e. dedicate capacity to the library over time.
- Show how valuable the library is through a test environment so that users can test it and appropriate it.
- Collect feedback and suggestions from internal users as you would any model. Getting this feedback is still a great way to understand their needs better, spot any problems and improve the library.
- Evaluate how internal users use the library through regular interviews, observation and quizzes.
Communication also plays a key role in library adoption. We especially recommend that you:
- Promote the library internally through workshops, presentations and a dedicated SaaS platform.
- Create and share naming conventions for naming objects in the shared library.
- Use collaborative communication tools including engineers (e.g. a dedicated Slack channel) to share changes and keep library users and designers engaged.
- Organise formal catch-up sessions between the team and the shared library, users and the key players involved to discuss what works or needs improvement. It will also help if you prioritise and create a shared library roadmap so that the shared library keeps increasingly meeting the needs of the company.
- Share the library’s success extensively by sharing the actual facts, e.g. by using figures and factual data.
How do you measure the success of a BIM object library?
The success of a shared BIM library can be measured externally (in terms of the models’ end users) and internally (how it impacts the teams).
|KPIs about end users||KPIs for operational excellence||Increase in the productivity of development teams.²|
|Improvement in the quality and consistency of the user experience (e.g.: System Usability Scale).||Adoption of the shared library by the various key players (designers, engineering professions, etc.).||Increase in the time spent on tasks other than modelling and especially feasibility studies.|
|Reduction in the number of model warnings, or slowdowns.||Team satisfaction with the shared library (ex: Net promoter score NPS).||Increase in the time spent on tasks other than modelling and especially feasibility studies.|
Whatever KPIs you choose, you need to take some initial measurements before setting up the shared library so that you can measure progress afterwards.
As you have by now realised, a shared library is far more than just a set of reference 3D object files; it takes on a whole new dimension if other types of content are integrated more broadly (properties, set and reference, documents, etc).
As it becomes exhaustive, it turns into a valuable internal communication tool, standardising your company language. Also keep in mind that if you want to get the maximum value from your object library, you need to think of it as a project in its own right. Only by allocating resources, communicating about the benefits, measuring its impact and continually striving to improve it, will you ensure that it is useful and gets adopted by your teams.
By following these tips, you too should be able to build a consistent shared BIM library that is capable of improving over time.