Design Managers will inherit the Earth…

..if that’s ok with you! (Apologies to the Beatitudes)

Over the last few months I’ve talked with a few people, ( not clients I might add, if you’re guessing!) and a common theme has emerged.

Everyone has problem jobs, it is just that we don’t talk about it much.  Interestingly these guys not only shared a little, but were convinced that their problems lay in “Pre-Construction” particularly around “Design Management”.

This made me think……I’ve been a Design Manager on and off now for nearly 20 years, although I could argue I’ve been doing DM all my career, which looking back now is a long time! (And yes, we did have electricity back then….)

One of my previous governors once said “Jobs don’t go wrong, they start wrong” Whether this was original thought or something he’d heard, nevertheless he was spot on.

This might be inadequate briefing , or scoping of the project roles, failure to define responsibilities, or execute agreements or contracts, and even no definition around programme, design deliverables and the like. Perhaps even all of these! Jobs and our daily work lives suffer because we don’t make the right decisions at the right time.

This is a no brainer really isn’t it? If the design ain’t right, and the environment isn’t in place to make it successful, well the project isn’t going to work is it? – doh! As I’ve said many times, this isn’t rocket science, it is a combination of good sense and good management!

There will be those that think BIM will solve all of these issues. Unfortunately not so fast!

Design Management might encompass BIM but BIM certainly isn’t Design Management! Which might be bad news for some, but means that we will always need Design Managers or their evolved descendants.

However much we develop the technology and the ways we exchange information, the management of the processes of collaboration, design evolution , and expectations will still be needed.

The role of Design Manager, is equivalent to the profile of Project Manager – project management of design…

Unfortunately few DMers enjoy that profile……yet! But it is gaining more recognition now.

However, I also think BIM will influence this in time as well, because to get the benefits from using BIM, you have to impose the discipline on your project process. And I think DMers are ideally placed to take a central role in making this happen. Recognition  that we need to get pre-construction right, completion of the design in a BIM environment, will be the DMers playground. That, and facilitating collaboration in a Common Data Environment.

And finally…

Working as part of a site based team for a while again, I have been struck by how teams work. People interact, exchange information, rib each other sometimes mercilessly, and get the job done.

You can have process, tools, technology by the score  but it always comes down to people.

Put that in a British Standard!












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