I had an interesting conversation with Chuck Mies from Autodesk the other day about our effort to link building information modeling (BIM) and facilities management (FM). The conversation centered around the idea of creating personas to help owners understand the connection between BIM and FM.
During our conversations with owners about connecting design, construction, and building management utilizing BIM, we continually discuss who will be using data and how will it be used. We can show all the benefits of using BIM through design and into construction. We can even show how owners might use the information and models to help manage their assets. But owners can feel overwhelmed and confused with all of the options. The shear amount of change that has to occur across so many groups and personalities can be staggering to even consider.
Creating personas for an owner can begin to simplify the discussion. Personas are the role that one assumes or displays in public or society. Personas are a type of role within the owner’s building operations group that will interface with the BIM process. By breaking down the different personas that an owner might have within their organization allows us to start to understand how the data will be used and what the skill set of those people are. This begins to allow us to start to shape a solution for the owner.
The example that Chuck used was “Boiler Bob”. Boiler Bob is a persona that every owner has. Boiler Bob is responsible for fixing pieces of equipment that need repair. He is reactive. Once given a task, he goes into the field to find the problem. He returns to his office and researches the piece of equipment pouring through reams of drawings, specs, and user manuals. Once he has his information he can start to fix the problem. Boiler Bob is a very linear thinker.
The second example is “Maintenance Marty”. He is a maintenance man that has limited technology skills. Works primarily out in the field completing tasks using years of experience. Can do some basic computer tasks but anything to complex will frustrate and confuse him. He completes preventative maintenance tasks on equipment. He also does some rudimentary repairs on equipment but needs outside help to fix most problems. Maintenance Marty is also in charge of a cleaning crew. He orders cleaning supplies and makes sure that his buildings look nice and crisp.
This information is invaluable in structuring a solution for an owner. The personas that are identified here allow information to be gathered and arranged in a way that will support these two personas and make them more effective. It is not until this step that an owner can start to visualize what information they might need in the future and even how they might use that information. By identifying personas within an organization we can complete once more step in delivering on the promise of BIM.