Jason KunkelApril 2nd, 2019
One thing we do here at CADD that we are very proud of is our training. We have both in-person and live online training options that cover a whole host of the design software we are experts of. We have a lot of conversations with clients around the importance of training and the need to make sure your production staff is educated properly for Revit, AutoCAD, BIM360, Bluebeam... whatever design software you are investing in. The software can be complicated, especially if you learn it with a search engine and online videos. Having a teacher to get your staff up to speed on not just the buttons to click, but the workflows to use is a great first step in getting the most out of your investment.
The Importance of Custom Training
We like to take it one step further and create custom training classes for specific organizations. There are a lot of features and tools in design software, and when we work directly with firms, we can adjust our lessons to make sure we only tackle the tools you will need to match your standards and processes. It also helps users "reset" their learning when they come to your organization after having learned the software at another firm or school setting.
We find many times when new employees start working at a firm from school, they know a lot about the software, but only in a series of very specific ways. For example, Revit users come out of college usually knowing great ways to build models; however, they have little to no experience in developing construction documents from those models. All of our training is designed around getting the whole job done when applied to the software, not just one part of using that software. That's mainly because all of our consultants come from the production world. We all have had to help hit that deadline at one point in our careers, so we have a really good idea of what needs to get done to get out a set of documents.
Train Everybody Again
Another conversation we have is who on the staff should get trained. We see many firms try to group their users into "beginner," "intermediate," and "advanced" to try and save time by limiting what classes they need to attend. When you are kicking off new training, we strongly suggest getting your entire production staff trained up from the baseline, especially when you are introducing a new piece of software:
- Your production staff learns the way that your company wants to use the software and learns company-specific workflows
- Everyone is on the same page and if something goes wrong, they can refer back to the training
- It holds all staff accountable to do things the "right" way vs. whatever they learned in school or how they used to do it at their previous firm, which may not work with the company's defined workflows
Even if members of your team have been using the software in an office setting for many years, they can benefit from training. When you are solely focused on project billable work, you don't have a lot of time to learn new features, research tips and tricks, or learn about common pitfalls and how to avoid them. In a formal training class, your instructor has experience with the software in a production environment, but also how it has changed over the years. This introduces new ways to make it work better for you. Most of our consultants, in addition to teaching, also work directly with firms, creating content and templates, troubleshooting, and creating innovative ways to solve complex problems. They pass all this experience on to those in their classes, which is an added benefit (something that you wouldn't get from an online video).
I Mean It, Train Everybody
You may want to only train up your production team, however, it is also critical that every person who makes a decision regarding a project have a general knowledge of whatever software you are using. This includes the Marketing department and those who are out looking for new projects. With this knowledge, they can be better informed about both what your teams can provide, but just as importantly, what you can't - allowing them to formulate contracts accordingly. A PM level training can be done as a 4-hour lecture as it's not necessary for those at this level to know the picks and clicks, but to just understand what kinds of things can be done and to be able to ask the right questions to the production staff when needed.
I hope that helps get you thinking about training, what kind of training to do, and who to train. Knowledge sharing is something that is very important to us. From our training classes to our Tech Tours to our software User Groups, it's something that we work hard at to help "lift all boats" as we simply see it as a benefit for the entire industry.