Change Management Best Practices: Transitioning to A New Building Performance Analysis Software

Change Management Best Practices: Transitioning to A New Building Performance Analysis Software

Adopting A New Building Analysis Tool

Change can be tough, but it can also be a deeply rewarding process.   

In the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry, there have been two major changes over the past several decades. Few of us who have practiced during this time would describe these as "smooth transitions."  

First, the change from hand drawing to computer aided design (CAD) was profoundly impactful on the profession. Following this change, the evolution of CAD to building information modeling (BIM) generated a lot of frustration, and with good reason. As building performance analysis has become an integral part of building design, the industry remains understandably hesitant to adopt yet another change. 

The following is an overview of what a change in analysis software might look like, along with recommendations for successful adoption. We will review how to adopt software within your workflow, how to deal with change management within your firm, and how to embrace the benefits and values of technological innovations.  

Setting Goals

Meeting building performance goals within a project requires collaboration, communication, and shared data among various stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and facility managers. Project goals are instrumental to your success and must be shared internally and externally at the start of a project and must be monitored throughout the design process. Therefore, it makes sense that your software should not only support these same attributes but also be evaluated based upon your desired outcomes for adoption. 

  1. Intentional deployment metrics and measures are required. 
  2. "Successful adoption" must be clearly established and communicated among your internal stakeholders. 
  3. Success metrics should align with your firm’s culture. This may include the number of projects and/or employees using the software or other measures appropriate to your business. 
  4. Timelines for adoption or frequency of use can also be a metric of success. 
  5. Project outcomes, such as ease of collaboration, project performance enhancement, workflow efficiency, or a host of other benefits, may be used to chart success. 

Training Your Team and Preparing for Change  

  1. Define your "why" for adopting building performance software, considering both internal and external factors, to create a strong foundation for change management. 
  2. Communicate the adoption of new software consistently with all stakeholders, tailoring your message to each group's needs, and choose the right communication channels and methods. 
  3. Provide sufficient training time and a supportive training environment, offer a variety of training methods, and encourage cross-functional and cross-hierarchical engagement around training to personalize usage to a variety of workflows. 
  4. Choose internal champions who are enthusiastic, engaged, and interact with users at all levels of the organization, and continue to communicate the "why" behind the adoption of new technology. 
  5. Monitor and measure adoption and usage to understand the effectiveness of the software and adoption strategies and adjust as needed, including incentivizing tool usage, enabling a feedback loop with end-users, establishing internal checkpoints, and sharing user successes early and often. 

Improvements with New Software  

Building performance simulation software should aim to make the architect's life easier by providing efficient tools for modeling and analysis. To ensure successful adoption of such software, it is important to identify and track expected improvements.  

Here are potential improvements to look for and how to track each one: 

  1. Reduced analysis time and reduction of repetitive tasks or time-consuming research.
  • Track time from model creation to analysis results.  

  • Create a metric of analysis that captures the operational impact, including costs associated with time savings. 

2. Improved accuracy of results and alignment with industry standards / validation.  

  • Track the design phases and highlight reduction in time and costs associated with revisions and changes.  

  • Survey current design review processes as a baseline and set goals for improvement. 

3. Reduced architect fatigue by seeking integration in existing workflows and removing pain points. 

  • Survey the team to understand their baseline experience.  

  • After adoption or initial review, survey the team again and look for improved morale, fewer overtime hours spent, or process improvements.  

  • Address any areas that contradict these outcomes. 

4. Increased collaboration between team members.  

  • Survey the time for critical “feedback loops” in the design process. This is a significant challenge for many firms, especially when modeling and/or simulation typically takes days or weeks to produce an opportunity for innovation or to advance design decisions.  

  • Record how the adopted software or technology facilitates team collaboration and reduces the time associated with client interactions and internal processes. 

5. Seek synergies between data analysis and graphic output as a method to expedite communication of complex data for multiple audiences. 

  • Review internal communications that include consultants and advisors 

  • Review external communications that include clients and community stakeholders 

Software Attributes 

New software should provide more flexibility and integration into your current technologies. Buildings are unique and no single workflow will be perfect for every project. Software should provide varied and flexible means of analysis to meet the needs of different projects.  

Here are some items to prioritize when evaluating solutions: 

  1. Open-source, web-based tools 
  2. Continuous development of the platform 
  3. Automated regulatory alignments 
  4. Extensive help center and frequently updated resources 
  5. Robust training options and responsive support 

Benefits for transitioning to a new building performance analysis software, such as cove.tool, overall have numerous benefits for building professionals that outweigh the potential negative outcomes. Not only can cove.tool help streamline the design process and identify cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions, but it can also help reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and promote sustainable design practices. By using performance-based design tools like cove.tool, building professionals can optimize building performance, meet sustainability goals, and stay competitive in the industry.

Schedule a demo to see exactly how cove.tool can streamline your processes.


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