Measure Process, Not Just Outcomes

25Feb15

Everyone produces a long data trail as part of their work. Emails, calendar appointments, building information models (BIMs), meeting minutes, and issue trackers. While we use this data in the moment, we rarely take the time to look back and learn from the data we produce. Knowing the pulse of active projects as they relate to other successfully completed projects is often only perceived and never tracked or measured.

For example, if you know how long issues take to be resolved, you can correlate that with the subcontractors responsible for resolving the issues. This may highlight which subcontractor requires more time to coordinate than others. Using this data, you may learn that a particular subcontractor needs to start coordinating earlier with other subcontractors. The data could also reveal that although it took a subcontractor a considerable amount of time to be coordinated, the majority of the time may have involved another subcontractor. Investigating other sources of data could help diagnose this process issue as the two subcontractors do not work well together, or that one is just a sloppy modeler. Some of these things may be perceived through the weekly/monthly coordination meetings with the team, but how do you convey those trends to someone outside those meetings? How do you convey that insight to the client?

BIM Coordination Dashboards using Tableau

Below are some examples of how we analyze our building coordination data. The majority of the charts below are very straight forward; however, a few are more complex. Matteo had to do insane magic to connect/sort the data correctly for the charts with complex relationships. The following are charts and assembled dashboards we use in our production at CASE.

Tableau time series graphs showing issues and clashes created and resolved over time.
Project-wide charts showing count of issues created, resolved, and remaining open. With this dashboard, you can see the impact of onboarding three different teams throughout the course of the project. The Open Issues chart is the best place to see this. In the beginning, it appears the first team did not aggressively resolve coordination issues, pushing the schedule. With closer investigation, it may be caused by the natural slowdown that occurs over the Christmas holidays. This slowdown is also reflected in the third team’s stats (the third hump in the Open Issues chart. The second team’s hill of open issues was a little more stable, as they were consistently resolving issues. Further investigation would be needed to determine if it is indeed the holidays, or if it is something more concerning.
Time series graph showing issues and clashes by trade
These charts together help the coordination lead determine which subcontractor was the primary assignee when the project had numerous open issues. These conditions could be caused by a subcontractor not buying into the process, or that their scope of work is simply massive.
Time series graph showing how many comments have been left on issues and clashes.
This dashboard of charts about a single subcontractor is super helpful. In one dashboard, you can see: the number of issues assigned to a subcontractor, the number of conversations needed to resolve those issues; and the number of model revisions needed to resolve those issues. When time is added to the chart, you can determine when they were the most productive at resolving issues. By totaling the amount of square feet each issue encompasses, you can calculate their average flow rate each week. You can see a subcontractors willingness to engage, and their participation, work effort, and scope of work.
Chart showing the running total of comments broken down by trade.
This project-wide chart shows running total of comments. It is interesting to see the periods where the designers’ communication dropped and how this impacted resolution times.
Bubble chart showing the relative number of issues per element.
This project-wide chart shows the sum of all the building element types that are involved in issues. It makes sense to see large circles for slabs, ducts, walls, and pipes. However, it is interesting to see fairly large circles for sanitary pipes, sprinkler pipes, lighting, ceilings, lifts, and curtain wall clips. What is it about these elements that caused so many issues. Should the Level Of Definition of these elements be reconsidered? Should the ownership and design of these elements be reconsidered?

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