Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Power of Progress

Sisyphus rolling boulder uphill

Legend has it that when Zeus wanted to punish a man — to really punish a man — the god made it impossible for the man to ever again feel the satisfaction of accomplishment.

We’ve all had those days. Late afternoon rolls around and you realize you have not accomplished any of the tasks you came to work to do that day.

But this post talks about the other side of the situation, when you enjoy tangible forward motion on your projects. The joy of progress: That’s the real pleasure of work!

Don’t take my word for it. That’s the finding documented in this Harvard Business Review article. In “What Really Motivates Workers,” Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer write:

On days when workers have the sense they’re making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak.

I  believe Newforma’s success has resulted from delivering this feeling of overcoming obstacles and making progress in daily work:

  • Architects measure progress by how well they serve clients and deliver successful designs.
  • Engineers measure progress by how well they engineer solutions — and they like to engineer their businesses to operate more efficiently, too.
  • Contractors measure progress by how far they advance the schedule and coordinate their legions of subcontractors.
  • Owners measure progress by how well they understand and operate their facilities.

In each case above, Newforma software removes impediments to progress.

If you want to kill someone’s spirit, as Zeus did, Amabile and Kramer found that the Greek god-king knew what he was doing:

On days when [workers] feel they are spinning their wheels or encountering roadblocks to meaningful accomplishment, their moods and motivation are lowest.

But if you want to enjoy the satisfaction of achievement and help your colleagues do the same, we have some ideas of how you can make that happen. Write if you’d like to start a discussion!

Postscript video

Teresa Amabile, Harvard Business School professor and coauthor of The Progress Principle, explains the importance of wins at work:

The Power of Progress

Monday, May 14, 2012

What’s the best technology platform for project management?

Simple. It’s the one you use.

Trouble is, you use different platforms for different tasks.

Carpentry tool montageFor example, for communications and small file sharing, you probably use email.

For large file sharing, you may use a project extranet or file transfer protocol (FTP) — unless you’re a Newforma customer, in which case you use Newforma Info Exchange.

For file serving, you probably use your company network — unless you use the cloud.

And the machine you use depends on where you are. In the office, you use a computer. In the car, you use a smartphone. On the jobsite, you use a tablet.

At Newforma, our challenge has been to develop a software platform that either beats a platform you don’t like (such as FTP) or accommodates a platform you do like (such as email).

Newforma Chief Executive Officer Ian Howell addresses the reality of different platforms for different jobs in his new white paper, “PIM in the Cloud.” In it, Ian gives examples of ways that Newforma and Newforma customers approach the challenge of PIM — project information management — in a world that uses different technologies for different purposes.

To request a free copy of the “PIM in the Cloud” white paper, please complete and submit this form.

Friday, May 11, 2012

5 Reasons you should try Newforma’s Punch List App for iPad

Newforma recently released an iPad version of their Punch List App.  It provides all the capabilities available today on the Android version but its been optimized for the iPad environment.  Here are 5 of the top reasons you should give it a try.

1. Capture Photos, Videos and Sound Bites

imageUse the iPad’s built in media capabilities to capture pictures, videos and sound bites related to your punch list items. How does the old adage go, “A picture tells a thousands words?”   When it comes to punch list items being able to attach a picture or video is invaluable tool for describing what’s going on.

2. One tap Sync

The App wirelessly syncs with your Newforma Project Center hosted project.  You know you will always have the latest drawings, room datasheets and punch list data.  No connection.  No problem.  Just re-sync when you reestablish your connection.

3. Share with external team members

imageYour external team members can use the Newforma Punch List iPad App for free. They can see their assigned punch list items and provide status and updates. If they don’t have a tablet, Newforma Punch List can import and export information to Excel.

4. It integrates with Autodesk Revit

If you’re using Newforma® Add-In for Revit®, connect Revit rooms with the Newforma Spatial Index activity center to prepopulate your project spaces and help you locate each punch list item in the field.

5. It takes just a few taps to add an item

imageUsing predefined list of elements and descriptions, you can literally add a new punch list items in seconds.  After you’ve selected your space, just tap on add, tap on your element, tap on your description and optionally tap on your location.  One more Add tap and you have a punch list item.

So go ahead and give it a try.  Just tap on the App Store and search for Newforma Punch List. 

For more information and to see a video overview, visit the Newforma web site page for Newforma Punch List.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New white paper examines project information management in the cloud

PIM in the Cloud white paper coverNewforma Chief Executive Officer Ian Howell has published a white paper, “PIM in the Cloud,” that discusses cloud-based project information management as practiced by Newforma and Newforma customers.

Newforma’s philosophy is to design software that manages project information wherever our customers wish to keep it. With more project information residing on cloud servers, we’re doing more implementations in the cloud.

That’s not to say all project information is moving to the cloud. Architecture, engineering and construction companies work with large volumes of dynamic and unstructured information that sometimes lives on cloud servers, but more often resides in-house.

To address these different needs, the Newforma solution includes a number of different software components that run on different platforms, depending on which best support our customers’ business needs.

Our “PIM in the Cloud” white paper examines these topics and more. To request a free copy, please complete and submit this form.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Information management, resource management, and project management

Our new release of Newforma Project Analyzer takes the next step in combining project resource management with project information management to improve overall project management.

NPA_icon-Budget-largeNewforma Project Analyzer provides a complete view of project performance by combining detailed staffing, planning, scheduling, and budget information with your accounting system’s cost and billing data.

NPA_icon-Track-largeAnd when we say “it provides a complete view,” we mean it. Newforma Project Analyzer depends heavily on graphs and charts to display data. You literally get the big picture of where your projects stand (if you’re a PM) and where your firms stands (if you’re an architecture or engineering firm principal).

From a broader perspective, Newforma Project Analyzer demonstrates the next step in our development of the industry’s most comprehensive, integrated solution to manage the different forms of information you encounter in delivering building and infrastructure projects.

  • Is your email a mess? We put it in a project and task context.
  • Is contract management an administrative hairball? We provide tools that allow you to manage submittals, RFIs and their ilk with ease and confidence.
  • Is your financial and resource data scattered and structured for the accounting team? We pull it together and put it in a form useable by project managers and principals.

Those are just three examples, of dozens.

To learn more about the latest version of Newforma Project Analyzer, read this press release.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Foster + Partners and “The Social Dimension”

Apple CampusIn an essay published on the occasion of Lord Norman Foster’s 1999 Pritzker Architecture Prize, architect and critic Joseph Giovannini discussed the architect’s innovative designs in the context of how they create better spaces for people to live, work and play.

For example, Frankfurt’s Commerzbank tower moved the elevators, bathrooms and stairwells to the corners from the center, liberating the center for 53 floors of four-story atrium gardens. “The terraces, each a small, vertically local park serving its district of offices, fosters a democratic sense of village-like community within the larger geography of the building,” Giovannini wrote.

Giovannini says Foster calls this aspect of design “the social dimension.”

Just as designers consider the social dimension of their clients’ projects, there’s a substantial social dimension to their work, as well. AEC professionals collaborate like crazy. While much attention goes to individuals such as Lord Norman, the fact is, your projects come to life because of the efforts of lots and lots of people. For that, you need tools to communicate, collaborate, and exchange ideas.

And in your pursuit of better design, you go through many, many iterations of ideas.

Both of these areas – collaboration and iterative design – are where we come in. We design our software to streamline those processes.

We’re delighted to welcome Foster + Partners to the Newforma Customer Club. They’ll use our software to (ahem) foster the communication, collaboration and sharing of ideas that leads to more great projects, and to manage the iterations of design for which the firm is noted.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday, Newforma!

Let the festivities begin! May 5th, 2012, marks not only Cinco de Mayo but it's also Newforma's 8th birthday so we have lots to celebrate. What a great eight years it's been and we are excited by what the future holds.

We've come a long way since May 2004 when Series A funding made the Newforma dream a reality.

With funding in hand, CEO Ian Howell and the original founders (Bob Batcheler, Jesse Devitte, Jim Forester, Todd Kozikowski, Larry Nuttall, Dave Plunkett and Allen Preger) recruited a high-performing development team and worked closely with leading firms in the industry to define and validate product specs, resulting in the limited release of Newforma Project Center First Edition in May 2005.

Newforma Project Center had its commercial debut in June 2006 and in January of 2009 more than 28,000 users were managing over 120,000 projects with the software.... today, on our 8th birthday, 644 industry-leading AEC firms across the globe are using it on an amazing 792,058 projects! We just released Newforma Project Center Ninth Edition, and our product offerings continue to expand.

Wow, we do have a lot to celebrate on our 8th birthday. And we have a lot to be thankful for, too. What a great birthday gift...nearly a million projects using the Newforma solution...and growing daily! I think that calls for birthday cake and margaritas!