Empowering a Paradigm Shift: MicroStation to Civil 3D

November 12, 2020
Anand Stephen, CME, PE, CSM &

It’s nearly time for Autodesk University 2020 (AU 2020), when civil engineers, planners, project managers, and contractors will gather virtually to talk big ideas regarding how technology can support the future of infrastructure.

I’m boiling down the three main takeaways from my session about our firm’s transformation from MicroStation to Civil 3D®. Be sure to catch me during AU 2020 at my Empowering a Paradigm Shift: MicroStation to Civil 3D class for more about this topic.

In my session, I will share Gannett Fleming’s journey from a 2D-drawing centric approach to a 3D-model centric system and talk about the two secret ingredients of our firm’s digital transformation — our people and our data. I’ll also share a three-pronged approach for how to navigate your firm’s paradigm shift successfully.

1. Facilitate Leadership Commitment

From a business leader’s perspective, an organization faces the competing pressures of current needs and future goals. Making a conscious paradigm shift requires a blueprint. Like any well-crafted map, the roadmap should identify potential routes and obstacles along the way to the destination. It should include a comparison of current and future paradigms.

Comparing the two models allows business leaders to understand how different processes impact current business needs and future goals. At Gannett Fleming, we developed a decision matrix and located tasks based on effort, reward, and priority. It gave leaders a framework for making future decisions and facilitating change management.

2. Establish an Educational Framework

Change can be stressful, and acknowledging human emotions is essential to adopt it effectively. When forming an approach to learning, there are many factors to consider, including the team’s varied skill levels, the different ways people process and learn new information, and even location.

Be sure your framework includes:

  • Creating an empathetic atmosphere. It was especially crucial for our team because many change adopters were in different locations.
  • Mapping of educational methods and abilities.
  • Understanding of and alignment with your firm’s culture.
  • Listening to different opinions.
  • Responding to various perspectives and concerns by relying on data, research, and best management practices recommended by Autodesk.

3. Set a Pragmatic Technical Approach

A pragmatic technical approach is crucial in moving from a 2D-drawing centric approach to a 3D-model centric system. It is one of the three legs of the tripod essential for empowering the paradigm shift.

We do not live in a world with unlimited resources. Establish a practical technical approach by adhering to foundational data management concepts from Information Systems Design, especially the concept of a Single Source of Truth, and following a rational approach toward content creation and organization.