Home Ideas Start with the End in Mind. Briefing for Information Management

Start with the End in Mind.
Briefing for Information Management.

Success in any project flows from sufficient planning before it is started. For the creation of a built asset, that preparation should centre on two areas: defining the requirements for project success and the information content which will support good decisions during the creation process.

Every project has a purpose. Why is it necessary? What functions must it support? What should it communicate about its creators, its community and to its users? What are the time factors, including the decision timings in the process? What are the value factors creating capital, economic, natural, social and human? Developing the brief to the team should explore these four factor areas.

On a matrix chart, these four factors, function, form, timing and value, can be plotted against four steps toward definition. Firstly, what are the project goals; what will success look like?

Secondly, what are the facts surrounding the project which constrain and offer opportunities? The site and its context, the available resources, the timescale, etc.

Thirdly, what policies will be applied, for example on procurement, risk management, health and safety, inclusiveness, conservation, and operation and maintenance.

Fourthly, what list of needs comes out of this matrix, for space, relationship of uses, circulation, security, performance in use, targets for whole-life cost and carbon, and for design qualities of all types.

This list of needs is the design brief. Derived from that we need an information brief to support collaboration and decision taking. The information brief sets out what content and format is needed to demonstrate to decision makers that the design brief is being met at each decision point and project stage. The global standard for information management, ISO 19650, calls these the Project Information Requirements at Milestones. A digitally enabled team, following client instructions and using shared information management platforms, should produce the required decision support material at each point. This should enable the client body and other stakeholders to take firm and timely decisions to move the project forward. There should also be a progressive build-up of required asset information to support operation and maintenance of the asset in use.

The client should be presented on project completion with the physical asset and its digital equivalent as a resource. This resource can range from a simple as-build model with attached system and product data up to a digital twin where the real asset and its digital version are connected by sensors and analytics to optimise performance and service to occupiers.

The key to the whole preparation process is to envision the end state and plan the route to get there: to start with the end in mind.