The BIM hero's journey

"Far far away i saw something shimmering".

I want to tell you a story. A story of a hero. Our hero is a built asset owner and he is about to embark upon a BIM journey. The story is about the trials and tribulations our BIM hero have to go through. But it is also the story of his enlightenment and the positive impact he has on society upon his return from the journey.

The stagnation of everyday life

In the beginning of our story our owner is doing an OK job managing his facilities. He is keeping his users satisfied, his workers are seemingly effective and the buildings and equipment are in an OK shape. However something does not feel right. Every day our hero-to-be see a lot of waste. Wasted time, broken equipment, sub-optimal energy use and service requests piling up. It is an accepted fact that historic records cannot be found and everything is done in a reactive mode.

The call to adventure

Then one day our hero gets summoned by the prospect of an adventure. He is urged to go on a BIM adventure. He learns that it could be the solution to his problems.
At first our hero tries to avoid the calling. He is fearful of change and resistant to risk his stable situation and fear that this adventure is not for him. Let someone else save the world is his defensive speech

Supernatural aid

Our hero gets help by a mentor and some superpowers. The mentor is a building information specialist that have travelled the new world and brought back wisdom. The mentor offers the superpowers of openBIM tools that lets the owner access and utilise building data in an easy and affordable way.

Crossing the first threshold

Armed with his new superpowers and with the support of his mentor our hero embarks on his journey. BIM is required, models are checked, data is validated and the quest begins.

The road of trials

From the beginning our hero have to wrestle with a set of challenges. Data are lacking, tools are buggy and standards do not cover all his needs. However with the help of friends and allies that are picked up along the way and by sheer determination and fortitude our hero trudges on.

The belly of the whale

At one point of the journey our hero have to make the choice to cut the cord to the old world and undergo a metamorphosis. Models replace drawings as legal documents and field communications. The owner also requires links from all documentation to the model master data. Our hero now finds himself at the point of no return and the only way is forward.

More challenges and temptations

Again the hero is challenged. And again and again. The journey also brings on temptations where our hero is lured away from his calling by other shining objects. Our hero is also struck by the realisation that this new world is not perfect and some of the myths were lies.
However, our hero stays true to his calling and is able to separate the real helpers from the charlatans, the helping superpowers from the poison.

The ultimate boon

The zenith of our story is the battle of the handover where our hero again have to fight inertia, the-way-we-do-it-here and not-invented-here thinking. After a tenacious fight our hero slays the beast and ends up with a model fit for operations and maintenance use.

The magic flight home

Even though it is tempting to rest in the bliss of victory our hero understands that to complete his mission he has to return to his home and share what he has learned with the operations and maintenance team.
Once again during the return our hero is attacked by new forces and have to fight new battles. Again the tools are immature, the data are lacking and it is tempting to stray the course.

The master of two worlds

On returning home our hero has changed and could never go back. He is now the master of two worlds (BIM and FM) and uses his newfound power to spread enlightenment and joy in his organisation and in the world at large.

Living for now

Our hero now live without regrets of the past and without fear of the future. He can enjoy the present and reap the rewards of his struggles. Work is fun, motivating and meaningful. His team get exposure and credibility and the whole FM department are seen as visionary heroes. New technologies, new tools and new projects can be plugged into the system with little effort due to the foundational work carried out by our hero…

That's the end of the story. We hope it brings inspiration to you on your journey. And what can we learn from this and other hero's journeys? Here are our advice :

What we can learn from the story

  • Hear the call to adventure, but also make sure it is your journey. The goal must be something you want to achieve. The new person you will be on return home must be who you want to be.
  • Government initiatives and vendor marketing messaging are great calls to action. But that is them inviting you on their journey. You have to cut through the noise and decide what make sense for you and your organisation.
  • Be sceptical to the messengers, but be open to be persuaded into an informed decision. One of the messengers could be your mentor.
  • When you have seen the light it is hard to turn the adventure down. Work on your fears, doubts and inertia.
  • Pick your mentors and your supernatural aids and learn how to get value from them.
  • Take the red or the blue pill.
  • Choose a mentor with relevant experience
  • Master the tools, frameworks and standards
  • Cross the threshold. Get your feet wet. Be prepared to enter a world of the unknown where rules and limits are not known. After some time experimenting with BIM you have to leave the known world and cut the ties. Be prepared for the transformation and let it happen when you are ready
  • You will be tested and there will be ordeals. You will lose some battles and be tempted to give up. However - these ordeals are necessary for you to grow and prepare for the final battle. There will also be preliminary victories and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land. Enjoy them.
  • Choose your partners and allies wisely. Use each other's strengths to put together a full team. Fight together and celebrate the victories
  • Hobbits, elves and dwarfs may be smaller and weaker than orcs and trolls but they are also more agile and smart
  • Networks like buildingSMART and local and online communities are great places to find allies
  • You will be tempted to stray along the way. Remember what is your journey and stick to it. Remember your goal is not to “use the superpower”. The superpower is the tool to reach the goal. You may need multiple tools in your tool-belt
  • If you persist you will win. You will reach your journey's goal and you will be forever changed.
    Upon return you should share what you have learned to maximise impact of your investment on the world
  • To be a real master you need to be comfortable and competent in mixing the new and the old, the technology and the domain. You cannot be a real master if you are only competent in BIM technology. You have to be master designer, a master builder or a master operator AND a master of new technologies to be a BIM hero
  • Embarking on a successful BIM for FM journey can give you a platform that prepares you for the future where you reap the benefits for the rest of your career. The buildings and the built environment will benefit for the rest of their extended lifetime. That means we all benefit from your journey.

Does the structure of our hero's journey sound familiar? Along the way you may may have seen some parallels to other heroes, real and mythological as the hero's journey is an universal phenomenon. Head over to this link to learn more. Also feel free to share your story or ask questions in the comments section below.

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