The Biennial BIM Upgrade Movement Starts Here

When annual subscription plans came for the BIM authoring tools, all BIM managers entered a hamster wheel that spins faster and faster with each new yearly cycle of “new” software releases. It’s expensive and exhausting, but there is a way to roll out of that hamster wheel and, after tumbling around a bit, find your way with a much more manageable pace of software adoption. With this article, I’m presenting my case for a new movement amongst BIM managers that get us out of this endless race and might even convince the software developers to slow the fuck down already!

I’m old enough to remember when BIM and CAD tools weren’t updated annually, and while that didn’t prevent the occasional turd of a release version, it was certainly easier to manage deployments and integrate new features into workflows when you actually had time in between new versions to use the current version and catch your breath. Those memories got me thinking about how I could game the current system where we get a new version of software every year…

…so we update our templates and libraries through crashes and unstable environments…

…and then we get updates and patches a few months after that…

…and THEN the aforementioned new software is (mostly) ready for prime time (months after it was released, mind you)…

…so we deploy it and make use of it and just start to get acclimated to this new version…

…and then we get teasers for the next new version…

…and then the cycle repeats.

It’s exhausting! It’s also obvious that these developers are tripping over themselves and the unrelenting pressure to be new and flashy every 12 months to appease those who so generously (forcibly?) give to the collection plate that gets passed around every year — these folks could clearly use a change of pace too!

Anecdotally, I think every other version of these yearly releases is okay — stable and usable. And in between those good years we usually get downright unusable releases. That’s where I got my inspiration to…

…now, get this…

SKIP USING EVERY OTHER VERSION OF MY BIM AUTHORING TOOL!!!

CRAZY, RIGHT!?!

Here’s the deal: I keep my yearly subscription. After all, I get that it takes a steady flow of cash to the developer to support their efforts to create new features and fix what was working until they broke it — aww, who am I kidding? Yearly subscriptions are about returning shareholder value (joking, not joking). But I mostly ignore every other release (I settled on the odd years as skip-able for my purposes).

In my biennial system of upgrades, I still review the new features of the versions I skip and prepare notes and sample files to inform future template and library updates for the years that I do upgrade, which works pretty well in that I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing or getting stretched thin by being in that hamster wheel of upgrades.

So…what if all BIM managers everywhere just started doing this, regardless of what software they’re using? Further, what if we all agreed to skip the same years and were loud about these choices we’re all making together? That right there is the start of a movement, people! ✊🏻 Join me!

There’s no way that developers wouldn’t take notice of the fact that: A.) customers were skipping every other version; and B.) said customers were still happy to pay annually. Look! Your customers just solved your problematic backlog and brought stress levels down in your engineering department! You’re welcome! Now fix this goddamn BIM software and give us the features that we want!

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