Top 5 FAQ about issue management answered

Top 5 FAQ about issue management answered

The design process is fundamentally a multidisciplinary task. No one designs a whole building by themselves. It is a complex process with many different systems and technologies that, at the end of the day, must all fit together and work in harmony.

Because of the design project complexity, and the number of different disciplines involved, there has to be communication between the different teams. The team members need to align on different project topics, or as they are known in the BIM coordination field: the project issues.

Image made with BIMcollab Nexus. Triodos Bank, a project by Triodos Bank & EDGE Technologies. Provided by J.P. van Eesteren

So, once you start reviewing your project, discussing the possible solutions, and documenting all the information, you´ve already started with issue management.

Here you will find answers to the 5 most frequently asked questions about issue management.

1. What is issue management?

Essentially, issue management is the process of identifying and documenting issues that need to be coordinated in a project, and keeping track of their progress until they are completely resolved.

Coordination issues come up during all phases of the design process, and can be brought up by any team member. It could be that one of the designers found incompatibility between their and other team’s design, or that the coordinator is reviewing the project and finds instances that are not meeting a specific requirement. Or simply, a team member has a remark or a question about a specific part of the design and wants to have more insight into it.

Once identified, issues should be properly documented and assigned to the responsible person, who will analyze them further and propose a clarification or a solution. Most often this process is not that straightforward. Before reaching a final solution, a lot of other questions are raised and additional feedback is shared by multiple team members in the process.

So, managing the complex process of documenting the issues, assigning them to the right team members, keeping track of the exchange of information, the solutions proposed, and the approvals, is what is consider “issue management”.

2. What is an issue?

An issue can be any topic that needs attention from the team. It could be a coordination problem that needs to be addressed, a remark about a specific design solution, or a change request from a project manager. Another example of a typical issue is a geometrical clash between modeled elements from different disciplines.

3. Why is it important to use an issue management platform?

As the design project evolves and the number of issues grows, keeping track of the agreements and information exchange between different disciplines becomes a challenging task.

Some teams rely on traditional ways of managing issues in the BIM processes. For example, they coordinate by making screenshots and discussing through emails and messaging apps, use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of changes, and share it with stakeholders to update them about the progress.

But these workflows make the information exchange very complex, as it requires a lot of repetitive, and error-sensitive manual work. It often results in overly large documents, with multiple versions. As the process becomes more interactive, and new information and changes are coming from all sides, these documents become harder and harder to manage. This manual work comes with a high risk that not all information will reach the right stakeholders on time, or that some of the information will slip through and not be included in the overview.

This is why having issue management is so important. An issue management platform allows teams to centralize all team members’ communication in a single source, and to handle information exchange in a structured way. And since all the team members use the issue management platform to communicate, there is no need to separately document individual interactions; the entire communication process and any edits are documented in the issue history. That also gives you a great overview of the integrated design progress.

Another great benefit is, that with a cloud-based issue management platform, it is guaranteed that everyone involved in the project always has access to the latest information. As the information is stored in an online central database, every time someone creates a new or revises an existing issue, this information is immediately updated and available for everyone involved.

4. How does issue management help in reducing my projects´ costs?

As we mentioned, manually managing your project issues is a lot of work. In addition to the potential risk of not having all the information documented and updated, this process also demands a lot of time from other team members.

Have you thought about how much time is spent finding the corresponding issue in a large document, locating it in the model itself, updating new comments that are coming in, saving it, and sharing it again with the rest of the team every time a new update takes place?

And then the other team members have to repeat the same process from their side, and as we all know, time is money. What is the cost of two hours a week for each of the stakeholders involved in this process? The final cost ends up much higher than the costs of the best issue management and BIM coordination solution on the market.

Additionally, when you have an issue management solution in place you have more control over the integrated design project, you can keep track of its progress and forecast bottlenecks by analyzing the metrics of your projects. Taking control over your project´s information will also help you to prevent errors before they happen on the construction site.

So, having an issue management platform is an investment that will save you time, money, rework and will also reduce the risks and failure costs.

5. What is important in an issue management platform?

There are a lot of important aspects you should consider when choosing your issue management platform. First, make sure you are working with an Open BIM solution, that makes it possible for every stakeholder to participate in the project communication, no matter what is their preferred BIM software solution. Good to note is that the open format for BIM issue exchange is the BCF format.

Second, you should consider how easy it is for each team member to participate in the project communication. Having the ability to directly communicate from their BIM software makes it much more convenient. Make sure you confirm how many direct integrations with different BIM tools are possible.

Third, make sure you can set up your project workflow in a structured way, including well-defined roles and rights for all your team members. This way you will have control over the project access, and can customize your issue management platform to your specific workflow needs. That is why the ability to define who can edit or close an issue, as well as the possibility to create mandatory fields, create confidential issues, and define approvers are very important features that give you flexibility

Now that you know more about issue management and how important it is to have a platform that allows you to keep control over your project information, we assume you want to take your BIM workflow to the next level. If you want to know more about BIMcollab possibilities, you can schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with us or check out our recorded webinars.