Agile Methodologies in Construction
One of our key services in both construction and software development is Project Management – guiding teams of professionals through the various stages of complex projects. Keeping these projects on-schedule and on-budget can be difficult when dealing with a large, diverse and dispersed group. By actively utilizing Agile / Lean methodologies in construction, Switch Engineering limits the use of energy, time, and resources, while giving our clients the best value for their dollar.
Waterfall vs. Agile Methodologies
The Waterfall Model, also known as the Linear Sequential Life Cycle Model, is a slow, methodical process involving the step-by-step movement through phases of a project. In this model, a project team cannot begin on the next phase of the project until the previous phase has been fully completed. This can work well in smaller, well-documented projects with all requirements set-in-stone and fully understood, but is less effective in larger, vague projects with the potential for unexpected changes. When problems are encountered, the entire project could be stalled until a solution is found, and additional costs accumulate quickly. The Agile / Lean Model, on the other hand, focuses on doing more with less (reducing waste) and giving clients exactly what they want. It’s a continuous process, with multiple project phases being carried out simultaneously, allowing for better communication between the different parties involved. Agile methodologies involve a series of “sprints:” short periods of rapid development involving a cross-functional team working in various facets of a project. This is better in larger, complex projects with many autonomous teams working from different locations. Projects utilizing Agile principles are also better prepared to adapt to the client’s changing needs and ensure that the client is actively involved in every stage of construction to maximize product quality and client satisfaction. Agile methodologies come from software development.
Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) involves the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to virtually construct a project before physical construction begins. This is used for planning, coordination and communication purposes, and can help keep projects on-budget and ahead of schedule. As a company relying heavily on remote work, Switch Engineering uses BIM in virtually all work activities to support communication and collaboration between employees working from different locations, preventing costly and disruptive site visits. BIM models are also used as a value-add long after project completion to ensure the proper maintenance and long lifecycles of our client’s facilities.
Putting it All Together
Ultimately, using Agile / Lean principles in Virtual Construction, as Switch Engineering often proposes to do, offers several benefits such as enhanced client-involvement and focus, reduced waste in VDC processes, improved time and cost-efficiency, and the ability to adapt to unexpected project changes. These benefits reduce stress throughout a project, positively contribute to corporate sustainability, and save our client time and money now, and in the long-term. Switch Engineering is leading the way to the future of the construction industry by fully utilizing Agile / Lean and Virtual Construction methods in all of our work processes.