I attended the November meeting of the London Constructing Excellence Club last night, and heard a presentation by Andy Newton of Adept Management, talking about the Analytical Design Planning Technique (ADePT) and supporting software and services. I suspect most of the audience had never heard of ADePT before, but I met Andy in the early 2000s when his company began working with BIW Technologies [my then employer] to turn ADePT into a web-based software product called PlanWeaver.
The technique essentially creates an additional step in the project planning process helping teams assess the interdependency of tasks involved in creating all the various design deliverables and then optimising the sequence to eliminate as much as possible any unnecessary iteration. Outputs could then be exported into Primavera, MS Project, Asta PowerProject, etc to create better programmes.
When PlanWeaver was launched there was some interest from construction businesses, but BIW and Adept were also assessing market opportunities in the defence, aerospace and automotive sectors (though these tended to be a bit wary of web-hosted services – as did some construction businesses, to be fair). Any way, BIW eventually shelved further development of the product and Andy and his team set about building a customer base for what is now a locally-hosted set of applications carrying the Adept branding. I’m pleased to say they have been successful, expanding and even opening an office in the USA earlier this year.
Most of Adept’s customers are construction businesses, and last night saw Andy talking about how the toolset could be used to improve the delivery of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) education projects, drawing on examples where Adept has been deployed on schools in Kent.
Talking to Andy briefly before his presentation, he said they hadn’t ruled out the possibility of re-creating the product as a Software-as-a-Service application, but there had been little demand for it to be delivered over the web. More interesting is where they might go with the toolset as building information modelling, BIM, begins to be more widely adopted.
I also wonder whether (a) it might yet be used in an integrated fashion alongside project collaboration platforms as BIW once envisaged, and (b) if there might be ways in which some of the decision-making and collaboration might be streamlined and/or made more transparent through use of appropriate web 2.0 technologies.