How do you identify someone who has basic skills in Revit and distinguish them from an advanced user?
Further, do AEC firms actually need all of their users to be 'specialists' in Revit? In some instances, people just need to receive a file, open it up and perform some straightforward analysis of the model (without causing any problems). For example, Construction Managers, PM's, Engineers, Project Architects, and the like. So a basic working knowledge of some key concepts is perfectly adequate for these users.
For the primary modeling team, AEC firms require a broader level of understanding across their user base, for example the people tasked with creating the detailed production information and modeling outputs on a project. And firms need to have a handful of Revit ‘specialists'; people with a deeper understanding of the way in which Revit is deployed on a project, an appreciation of the collaborative process and the impact of using the technology across a broader environment. And lastly, if content creation is a key part of the firm’s process, a handful of Revit Family specialists, who understand the importance of creating quality content, that can be re-used on subsequent projects, not simply re-modeled from scratch every time.
So it makes sense to establish 3 recognised levels of competence. In a broad sense, we could label them:
- Level 1 – basic skills
- Level 2 – intermediate skills
- Level 3 – advanced skills
With respect to Revit, this could work as follows:
- Level 1 – Basics of Revit (i.e. an assessment aimed at occasional users; Construction Managers, PM’s, Engineers, Project Architects, etc.)
- Level 2 – Revit fundamentals (i.e. core skills for primary modelers)
- Level 3 – More advanced concepts of Revit, (i.e. Revit project process & workflow, collaborative working, Family creation, etc., for BIM Co-ordinators and model managers)
AEC firms can use skills assessment, as a means of demonstrating to clients (or prospective clients) and partners, that they have the skills required, to truly deliver on a BIM project.
In the KnowledgeSmart library, we have a range of modules available, which can assist firms in creating an appropriate assessment program for their organisation to capture helpful benchmark data and skills gaps information.
- Level 1 – Revit for occasional users (available Summer 12).
- Level 2 – Revit Architecture fundamentals, Revit for Interiors, Revit MEP fundamentals, Revit Structure fundamentals.
- Level 3 – Revit Project Process, Revit Process & Workflow, Revit Architecture advanced (available Summer 12), Revit Structure advanced (available Summer 12), Revit Content Creation.
Firms might also consider writing their own custom assessment modules, based on their BIM standards. All users can demonstrate an understanding of the correct standards and protocols, by passing this module.
In the broader context of self-assessment, the “above-average effect” is the tendency of the average person to believe he or she is above average, a result that defies the logic of statistics.
In studies, participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests grossly overestimate their performance and ability. Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile they estimate themselves to be in the 62nd.
Because top performers find the tests they confront to be easy, they mistakenly assume that their peers find the tests to be equally easy. As such, their own performances seem unexceptional. In studies, the top 25% tend to think that their skills are in the 70th–75th percentile, although their performances fall roughly in the 87th percentile.
There are five distinct business areas that can benefit from measuring team performance:
Project Technology Leadership:
- Measure returns on technology investment to eliminate risk of waste.
Business Development Team:
- Differentiate your services and benchmark your competitive advantage to win more work.
- Optimise the mix of people and skills via regular assessment to retain top talent.
- Filter out poorly skilled candidates at interview to avoid failed hires saving time and money.
- Encourage on the job training to reduce time away from the office and increase staff impact.
Learning and Development Team:
- Train staff based on individual needs to maximize impact and raise service quality.
- Measure returns on learning and development investments to eliminate risk of waste.
- Make your training budget go further by improving learning and development efficiency.
Project Delivery Team:
- Resource project teams with a balanced mix of skills to deliver high-quality services profitably.
- Create an environment of team learning and growth to improve client service levels.
Benchmarking is the process of comparing the cost, time or quality of what one organization does against what another organization does. The result is often a business case for making changes in order to make improvements. Also referred to as "best practice benchmarking" or "process benchmarking", it is a concept used in management where organizations evaluate various aspects of their processes in relation to best practice, usually within their own sector. This then allows organizations to develop plans on how to make improvements or adopt best practice, with the aim of increasing performance.
It is important to target your teams with clear goals for advancement, as part of your wider learning & development and talent management strategy.
Here are the current (2012) benchmark performance quartiles, for the 3 disciplines of Revit, for your firm to compare results against:
Revit Architecture 2012: 69% in 1 hour 4 mins 30 secs
Revit MEP 2012: 64% in 1 hour 9 mins 30 secs
Revit Structure 2012: 62% in 1 hour 6 mins 0 secs
According to the report “U.K. Talent Acquisition Factbook 2011” by Bersin & Associates, the new hire failure rate for new recruits is 1 in 8. Put another way, for every 8 new recruits 1 will leave inside of 12-months because they were a bad fit for the company. The same report measured the average recruitment cost to be £5,300 GBP / $8,200 USD per person.
Learning & Development Data
According to data collected from software training professionals, many trainers spend approximately 40% of the training course time revising prior training topics to assess group skill levels. This ‘Redundant Training Time’ reduces classroom productivity, increases training costs, and keeps staff away from their project teams for longer.
Based on analysis of KS results data from firms located in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, here is a summary of the top 20 most commonly flagged training issues and skills gaps, for each of the 3 Revit disciplines.
• View Range
• Family Editor
• Conceptual Massing
• View Properties
• Element Properties
• User Interface
• Detail Components
• Calculating Area
• CAD Files
• Apparent Load Values
• Modifying Light Fixtures
• Photometric Web Files
• System Inspector
• Creating Power Systems
• Edit Properties
• Panel Circuits
• Panel Schedules
• Selecting Equipment
• Electrical Settings
• Creating Supply Systems
• Duct Systems
• Load Family
• Pipe Systems
• Family Elements
• Plumbing Fixtures
• Cut Length
• Element Properties
• Instance Properties
• View Parameters
• Scope Boxes
• Structural Deck
• Span Direction Symbol
• Slope Arrows
• Repeating Details
• Structural Settings
For firms involved in the adoption, rollout and training of their teams in Revit, skills assessment and benchmarking is an essential ingredient, in the overall successful deployment of this technology.
Taking a more structured, scientific approach will help AEC firms, Construction Clients and Contractors alike, to get a much better handle on who knows what, with respect to deploying Revit on a BIM project. It will also help firms to demonstrate their BIM credentials and give users a logical (and more appropriate) path for skills development.