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Using Teamwork as a standard practice.

Matthew Lohden
Newcomer
We have decided to begin using teamwork as a standard practice on ALL projects. This decision has been based on the tremendous performance improvements I have seen in AC 8.1. There are now no significant delays in signing in, changing workspace, sending and receiving, etc. compared to opening and saving a solo project. The only added overhead is (obviously) the requirement to define the workspace.

The advantages we see are greater security against data loss (multiple backups & local drafts) and more administrative control of standards (having to sign in with with exclusive access to change attributes.

I am posting this both to provoke feedback and discussion as well as to promote the idea to others and respond to any questions people might have.

Any takers?
Matthew Lohden
Consultant, SF CA

MacPro 8core 32GB Radeon 5870
OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, XP32, Win 7x64
56 REPLIES 56

Djordje
Advocate
Matthew wrote:
I am posting this both to provoke feedback and discussion as well as to promote the idea to others and respond to any questions people might have.
Excellent opening, Matthew!

Please all - this is the right place. Eric is on his paternity leave, but other people do have extensive TeamWork experience. Please contribute/share!
Djordje

ArchiCAD since 4.55 ... 1995

James Murray
Expert
Hi Matthew,

We've been using TW as a backup tool for about two years. Copies are a Good Thing™.

Another non-team use is the abilty to sign in as viewer on another machine to run a VR Object, without having to stop work on the documents.

Glad to hear that 8.1 is faster, as that has been a disadvantage with 8.0.
James Murray
Rill Architects • macOS • OnLand.info

Aussie John
Newcomer
a couple of issues (v 8.0)
select a file in plotmaker and asking to be taken back to the original CAD doesnt work (at least with a draft file)

If working from a remote site updating plotfiles always tells me it cant locate the orignal PLP file and have an extra box to click. Trouble is the dialogue comes up in the background and have to select BG Archcad to find it.

I would like more options with the teamwork so layer combo can be altered to without exclusiove access.
Cheers John
John Hyland : ARINA : www.arina.biz
User ver 4 to 12 - Jumped to v22 - so many options and settings!!!
OSX 10.15.6 [Catalina] : Archicad 22 : 15" MacBook Pro 2019
[/size]

__archiben
Newcomer
matthew

i still don't think that teamwork is as stable and reliable as it could be (i have only mac platform experience).

i am currently trying to put a few thoughts together for graphisoft UK (and failing miserably because i'm pretty busy at the moment - sorry simon). so when i have i'll post back in more detail, however:

• file paths and networking seems to be a biggy: library loading, cache libraries, BGarchicad accessing plp files across a network all have too many 'quirks' if something unexpected happens to that network.

• there seems to be a 'critical mass' to a file (size) at which point some of the elements seem to drop off of the database whilst still displaying on screen. they end up in nobodies workspace until re-assigned. this can take a long time and some organization when combined with the networking/library issue above.

• consistency of team leader privileges, particularly with viewsets, which seem to have their ownership lost and become un-editable when a team mate who created them leaves the job.

• team leader again: i think that the team leader has to have a broader control over attributes to be able to work efficiently. because of the first point, having everybody sign out for the team leader to do something with exclusive access takes too long. i know, i know. you could argue that everything should be assigned and set-up to begin with, but on large, long jobs ongoing development dictates that tweaks need to occur to the project set-up.

[by the way john, you can update layer combs when you are signed-in as team leader (without exclusive access) in 8.1]

don't get me wrong. teamwork does have it's advantages: particularly with file back-ups, and can be fantastic when you are in with exclusive access . . .

i think i need to sit down and write out something a little more tangible . . . as i said, i'll post more on this. i would also be more confident using teamwork as standard practice on smaller files. again, nothing tangible here to give as an example - just instinct and experience (we have had large (between 50 - 150MB) files running in teamwork for over three years now: about archiCAD 6/6.5 to present . . .)

thanks for giving me a prod matthew. (simon - i'll get something to you soon!)
~/archiben
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

This is just a question for discussion.

Is there any advantage to using TW as single-person office? Are there any creative applications for it? (e.g. maybe in developing multiple schemes?...I really know nothing about it at this point.)
Richard
--------------------------
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

Millard Brooking
Newcomer
Richard wrote:
This is just a question for discussion.

Is there any advantage to using TW as single-person office? Are there any creative applications for it? (e.g. maybe in developing multiple schemes?...I really know nothing about it at this point.)

You did hit one major advantage. You can create alternate design options for a project and just send and receive changes after the client has approved a scheme. This is actually easier to manage within a single person office. The disadvantage is that any changes that would affect all of the options would have to be made multiple times. Getting an approval needs to happen quickly so as to not maintain multiple drafts.
Others have mentioned the file redundancy, however I will warn that a certain discipline needs to be maintained as people need to sign out, particularly before storing a file. There is no benefit to having a project from a previous version that you cannot get into because someone is still signed in. Also you need to get in the habit of making an archive file at the end of the project. (Good if team-worked or not)
Mac 10.6.7
MacPro Dual 2.66GHz Intel
AC113, AC14, AC15

__archiben
Newcomer
Richard wrote:
Is there any advantage to using TW as single-person office? Are there any creative applications for it? (e.g. maybe in developing multiple schemes?...I really know nothing about it at this point.)
not really a 'creative' advantage, but a teamworked project can be set to keep back-up copies up to the last 5 modifications (i.e. a 'send and receive' of changes). . .

~/archiben
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

James Murray
Expert
Millard wrote:
There is no benefit to having a project from a previous version that you cannot get into because someone is still signed in.
You can always sign in as administrator and save as a solo project, then reshare as necessary. Assuming the renegade Team Members are current with send/receive. If they're not, they need to be summarily glared at. Glaring could also be used to persuade them to sign out. In other words, it's a Standard Practices issue.
...get in the habit of making an archive file at the end of the project. (Good if team-worked or not)
Seconded. If one's libraries looked like ours did five years ago, opening a five-year old project without an archive is a nightmare; you'll never track down all the missing parts.
James Murray
Rill Architects • macOS • OnLand.info

Matthew Lohden
Newcomer
Following is my attempt to summarize the advantages and disadvantages of teamwork from my experience and what I've read so far.


Advantages:

- Mutliple backups.

- Log of time spent on the project (with notes if you can get people to do it).

- Developing alternates with multiple drafts is easier than doing it with layers or multiple solo projects. (Remember that you can sign it to just the area affected by the alternates allowing work to progress on the rest without complications.)

- Administrative control. File attributes can only be altered by signing in as team leader thus making it easier to maintain company standards. Even when everyone knows the password (as we do it) this prevents casual or inadvertant changes.

- For the super user: Allows one person to sign into the same project from multiple computers. I have done this when I needed to set up and run long renderings and fly throughs while also finishing drawings and details.

- Consistency of standard practices. We HAVE to use teamwork on some projects and it is always a problem to get people who are used to working on solo projects to adjust to the routine of sign in, send and receive, change workspace, etc.


Disadvantages:

- People forget to >Send and Receive and/or >Sign Out when they should. (We insist that everyone save a local draft on sign-in, save often, send changes frequently and sign out when they leave. Nevertheless, people sometimes forget )

- File size related reliability problems? I have not experienced this myself. If true it is a serious problem. Any more details Ben? Has anyone else experienced this?

- Remote access from PlotMaker. Is this really better with a solo project?

- Speed issues. These have largely disappeared with 8.1 AFAIK. Sign In, Send and Receive, etc. now take no longer than opening and saving a solo project. The only additional time is selecting the workspace, annotating sent changes, and changing workspaces. I feel that this is no longer really an issue.


This is all can come up with right now. What have I missed?
Matthew Lohden
Consultant, SF CA

MacPro 8core 32GB Radeon 5870
OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, XP32, Win 7x64

KenMcN
Participant
The main problem with V7 (Mac at least) relate to the need for Team Leader to have exclusive access to edit layer sets, quickviews, publisher etc. Good to hear this seems to have improved in V8.1 (see Ben's previous comment re layer sets at least).

In V7 if Team Leader signs in 'exclusively' and edits a publisher set, everyone else needs to delete their preference file for that project so they get the new version next time they sign in. If they don't they get warning when they open Publisher about "missing quickviews" and sets seem to have been deleted... Has this changed in V8.1 as well?
Kenny
V19 (fully patched), Mac OS 10.11.4, iMac 2015

__archiben
Newcomer
matthew

i'm still putting some notes together about teamwork issues and improvements! i will get around to posting it!

our biggest gripe mainly is its speed with large files, and troubles that may ensue because of this.

we have a 10/100 baseT network switch (which IMHO needs upgrading to a gigabit switch) and because of your comments about teamworking and sending and receiving changes being as fast as saving to a solo project, i wondered what you used?

thanks
~/archiben
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

Matthew Lohden
Newcomer
We are using a 10/100 switch (nothing special) and our "wire management" consists of wrapping the spagetti around spinklers, bx and emt conduit overhead (this will impove at the new office). The improved network speed appeared somewhere in the post-beta period; release candidate 4, I think. Panther also seems to make a difference, but performance is good on the other machines in the office which are still on Jaguar.

Unrelated to teamwork: My current main project is very large and PlotMaker was VERY slow to open the layout book in it's entirety. I separated the project into the different buildings (11 residential, an office, an inn, and a bunch of detached garages) and now it's nice and snappy. When it's appropriate I definitely recommend breaking up the layout book (precludes using "Page <PAGE> of <TOTPAGE>" though ).
Matthew Lohden
Consultant, SF CA

MacPro 8core 32GB Radeon 5870
OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, XP32, Win 7x64

Aussie John
Newcomer
Matthew wrote:
(We insist that everyone save a local draft on sign-in, save often, send changes frequently and sign out when they leave. Nevertheless, people sometimes forget )
Matthew,
why do you insist they sign out of a local draft? this seem contrary to one of there concepts of a local draft-ie autonomy

Un the other hand, maybe your workspaces are changing every day
Cheers John
John Hyland : ARINA : www.arina.biz
User ver 4 to 12 - Jumped to v22 - so many options and settings!!!
OSX 10.15.6 [Catalina] : Archicad 22 : 15" MacBook Pro 2019
[/size]

Matthew Lohden
Newcomer
It depends on the project, sometimes it's ok to stay signed in but there are too many times that it can be a problem. On my main current project we are frequently switching between 14 different teamwork files and it is annoying to find that someone forgot to sign out and have to either sign in as admin to force them out or find the PLC if there is the possibilty of unsent changes.

It's not a really big deal, but I do find that it keeps things flowing smoother, and since sign-in and sign-out are so quick now there is no real downside.

Naturally, when some needs to take the work with them out of the office, that is a different matter.
Matthew Lohden
Consultant, SF CA

MacPro 8core 32GB Radeon 5870
OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, XP32, Win 7x64

Jay Rennemeyer
Newcomer
Matthew wrote:
- Speed issues. These have largely disappeared with 8.1 AFAIK.
It might be better, but it is still noticably slower than opening a solo project -- at least in our office.
Jay Rennemeyer
Dell Precision M4300, 2.59 GHz Core 2 Duo, 3.5GB RAM
NVidia Quadro FX 360M, 512MB RAM
Windows XP Pro, Version 2002, SP3
AC10-1188, AC11-1210, AC12-2325
No longer using ArchiCAD

Matthew Lohden
Newcomer
Jay wrote:
It might be better, but it is still noticably slower than opening a solo project -- at least in our office.
Maybe it's better on Macs for now. I haven't tried it on my PC lately (just using it for AutoCAD as my Mac is faster). I have noticed speed differentials in network and file performance between the two platforms over the years. Sometimes Macs have been faster other times PCs.
Matthew Lohden
Consultant, SF CA

MacPro 8core 32GB Radeon 5870
OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, XP32, Win 7x64

Jeffrey
Newcomer
Now that you can use layer combos as a way to sign in, I see team-working being much more efficient than in days past as this allows different members to create the different documents on the same stories etc. simultaneously.
Yet, I still see no advantage to the single user using this function I've tried the different schemes in the past and found it to be more of a hassle than it was worth.

MHO
MacBook Pro 2.33 2GB OS X.6.5 AC9

Regarding Ben Frost's post, my biggest question with the standardized Teamwork approach is library loading. As of yet, I have been unable to find a way to have a standard set of libraries on our CAD file server and duplicates of them distributed to all of our ArchiCAD users with the hope that team members could load the local copies of the libraries. I may be thick about this, but satellites seem to need/want to read the parent library if it is available on the network so any time savings is out the window. I can't confess to having beat my head against the wall exhaustively on this, but I'd love to have a Teamwork project that used local libraries and only updated them from the parent across the network at the team member's request.
MacPro 10.6.8 AC 13 (3835)

Matthew Lohden
Newcomer
We have been loading all our libraries from the server. This was seriously tedious in 8.0 but has bee pretty snappy in 8.1. Older projects can still be tedious (those started before my new strict behavioral standards went into effect) when you have to load the 6.5, 7.0, 8.1 and various 3rd party libraries in addition to the office standard library. New projects in our office now load just the office standards, the project library, and (sometimes) the ArchiCAD 8.1(US) library.

To bring the older projects' performance up to snuff, we make an archive, unbundle the project library, and throw out all the duplicates to make the new project library.

I did find under 8.0 that the cache library (nee satellite library) was horribly slow. This was a shock to me because I had often used this feature to speed up the loading process in versions 7.0 and earlier. Library loading has always varied - sometimes wildly. If I recall correctly version 6.0 loaded libraries quickly on PC's but much slower on Macs (over the same network) but in 6.5 the Macs were loading them so fast that the dialogs barely flashed on the screen while the PCs were actually slower than they hed been before. I haven't tried the cache libraries in 8.1 because the network loading is working fine for us now and 8.0 was SO SLOW that I am reluctant to spend the time to test it now.

For related thoughts on this subject see my new addition to the wish list (which I am about to write) about consolidating the project file types (.pln, .pla, & .plp).
Matthew Lohden
Consultant, SF CA

MacPro 8core 32GB Radeon 5870
OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, XP32, Win 7x64

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