We are in full swing in the digital transition, developing and incorporating several new processes to create ever more efficient projects, many of them based primarily on implementing BIM. But for all this to work, we have the addition of one more managerial profile character in the team, the BIM Manager. So what are the impacts on the Project Manager's responsibilities?
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In the engineering world, we are used to having well-defined roles and functions, so problems related to responsibility for activities are minimized. This applies in parts to a BIM project, as the assignments are clear for roles related to project production, however, the interfaces between the Project Manager and the BIM Manager are more complex, often resulting in overlapping responsibilities.
Even the scientific literature does not have a consensus on the coexistence of the two roles in the projects' habitat. This is because some authors believe that the BIM Manager is a temporary actor, serving as a process facilitator during the implementation of BIM and that its current attributions will be incorporated by the Project Manager in the future, while other authors believe that this role will continue to be important following the application of technologies in the projects.
With these problems in mind, I developed a research project with the University of São Paulo (USP) to better understand how companies are dealing with this relationship in their projects. This work was recently completed and will be published in the coming months, but here you will have a preview of the main conclusions.
It was possible to confirm that the inclusion of BIM Manager in the project creates an overlapping of responsibilities in some activities performed during the development of a project. Basically, tasks related to contract management are under the control of the Project Manager, while technical activities are now managed by BIM Manager, but operational and strategic activities are now shared between the two roles.
Figure 1 - Activities and Responsibilities
The temporary role of BIM Manager was also discarded, even considering a scenario after BIM implementation, where it could evolve into a technical path related to R&D activities focused on technology or even information management and Big Data.
As for the possibility of concentrating responsibilities in a single role, whether centralized in the BIM Manager or the Project Manager, this scenario is valid only for small and medium-sized projects, provided that the professional receives adequate training and monitoring, thus representing a evolutionary process for both roles.
Even so, large projects will continue to demand the existence of two roles due to the volume of information generated and the number of interfaces managed during their development, making it impossible to concentrate activities in the same role.
Figure 2 - Evolution of Project Manager and BIM Manager Roles
This transition can occur faster, taking the BIM Manager as a base professional, considering that training related to processes and tools applied to BIM can take more time than a more classical training focused on Project Management disciplines.
Do you agree with these possibilities?