Background

Podaris was created in the belief that infrastructure planning should be more agile and collaborative.

Traditionally, infrastructure planning is done as a slow, incremental process, moving step-by-step from one discipline to the next. At predetermined milestones, the work is reviewed by non-technical stakeholders (project managers, civil servants, and policymakers with direct oversight), before finally being submitted for review by external stakeholders (in many cases, the general public). If changes are required, then the process starts over again.

This "Waterfall" workflow has serious problems:

  • It's slow: projects spend years -- sometimes decades -- in early-stage planning. This drives up costs and prevents vital infrastructure from being built when it is actually needed.
  • It's opaque: Experts can go months without oversight or feedback from other professionals or stakeholders, often inadvertently working at cross-purposes to each other. Meanwhile, key non-expert stakeholders often have no idea what is happening until the project is ready for review. This opacity leads to a great deal of confusion, which is the root cause of more than 60% of the errors and cost overruns that plague infrastructure projects.
  • It's rigid: If project requirements change at any point in the life-cycle, then it can be very difficult to accommodate those changes. And if a professional downstream knows critical information that someone upstream ought to know, it's often too late to do anything about it, because information doesn't flow upstream.
  • It stifles innovation: The most valuable innovations occur when synergies are discovered that cross sectors, disciplines, and perspectives. This is not possible if a project has strictly linear, top-down information flows, with rigidly interfaces between disciplines. Bi-directional communication and collaboration is needed.

This is not something that can be changed simply by having a different philosophy of project management. The opacity and rigidity of infrastructure planning is reinforced by the very tools of the trade: specialist software that is inaccessible to most people, and incompatible between sectors.

Podaris changes this. Here's how:

  • Podaris is fast: Podaris is a real-time collaboration platform. Rather than synchronising disciplines and stakeholders every few months or years, Podaris synchronizes everyone in milliseconds.
  • Podaris is transparent: Anybody with a web browser can use Podaris, ensuring that critical information is never locked away in a silos due to inaccessible or incompatible software. (Of course the project manager can always control visibility settings). This allows errors to be discovered and corrected sooner rather than later.
  • Podaris is flexible: By allowing for real-time collaboration across disciplines, Podaris breaks the necessity for a slow, one-way flow of information. And by providing collaborators with parametric modelling tools that enforce real-world engineering constraints, Podaris ensures that projects stay grounded in reality even as they are rapidly iterated.
  • Podaris enables innovation: By breaking down barriers between disciplines, Podaris allows for new and better innovations to be discovered and acted upon.

Podaris draws inspiration from the world of software engineering, where Agile project management has contributed greatly to the quality and pace of innovation in that sector. For the first time, Podaris brings this capability to the world of infrastructure planning.

Podaris does not enforce any specific agile methodology, but rather gives the project manager the ability to make their project as agile as appropriate, without sacrificing existing workflows where they already work well.

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