Thursday, October 27, 2011

The waterfall is flawed

...and it is time to face up to this.
The ‘waterfall model’ in project management is a term that describes a sequential design process and it is routinely used to represent the way buildings are created.

I seriously dislike the concept.
Actually, not the concept itself but the idea being blankly forced onto the AEC industry.
Designing a waterproof window may work well within a ‘waterfall approach’.
Pouring a concrete-slab or erecting a set of steel-trusses for a roof might do too.
However, taken as a whole, building design AND construction are ill suited for ‘waterfalling’ and it is time to accept this ‘fact’, otherwise, there is no hope for significant improvements happening within this industry in the near future.

And the reason I’m allocating yet another of my ‘valuable daily posts’ to highlight this great misunderstanding by those managing construction?
I am a BIM enthusiast (in case you missed it) and BIM suffers hugely from the misconception that the ‘waterfall approach’ to the question of design-document-construct-manage is a feasible one.

In fact, instead of a neatly cascading model, where an idea starts from the top and rolls down numerous steps in an orderly fashion, an inverted game of ‘snakes and ladders’ eventuates.
One where both the snakes and ladders can force one back to the beginning.

An alternative is needed. There ARE alternatives available.