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Friday, January 29, 2010

Stranger in a Strange Land - The Journey Continues

“Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be...Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you'll live as you've never lived before.”

Erich Fromm

Last night, I once again made the sojourn to the South Coast Revit User group.

Once again, this meant that I was a stranger in a strange land. But as always, the members of the user group were more than welcoming.

Speaking that Thursday night, was Will Harris of WILL2PLAY.

He gave an excellent presentation about how Autodesk Revit was used to design an addition to a Gothic church.

Will Harris Presenting.
Sorry about the picture. A Blackberry can only do so much.
(click to enlarge)

And while the technical achievement was incredible, what I found much more fascinating was his talk on the actual implementation process itself.

He spoke about a lot of the challenges it takes to perform an implementation, starting with the fact that a Gothic church is probably the toughest project to start with. He continued into the constant, ongoing challenges of developing and maintaining the standards, and finished with the fact that he bought a lot of lunches as he got acquainted with the team he was working with.

And, while Revit was a worthy feather in Will's hat, the things that struck me weren't necessarily the technical aspects.

So, while some of the biggest things I learned (and having forgotten a few things, relearned) weren't the button clicks, what were they?

Always have a backup plan

Mistakes are made, things go wrong in spite of the best efforts of the team. Make sure you have back up plans and procedures just in case. For Will's experience, he talked about having to restore standards that were accidentally overwritten. A good backup plan meant restoring it in a few minutes instead of several hours.

The technology is cool, but without people, it's just a box

All the software in the world can't help you if you don't have people motivated to learn the software and implement it. And that doesn't mean you fire your team and replace them with new hires. It means learning what makes your team tick, finding a way to give them direction, motivating them, and making them want to achieve the goals.

What I took away...

So those were the big lessons from Mr. Will Harris. We all love the tech. I wouldn't blog if it weren't for the fun tech I get to blog about.

But there's more than the tech. Once the network license is running, the integrations are tested, and the updates installed. There's the trials and tribulations of the real world.

If we lose sight of that, we're forgetting a huge part of the picture.

Thanks for the presentation, Will!

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