Practice Structure and Management.
I have been called upon to advise from a full scale review of practice structure, for example Penyore and Prasad (2011), to reviewing systems and QA procedures.
Design management is very important. I believe that every project from initial enquiry to close out must have a project plan and a job captain – a single person responsible at each stage. There must also be an overview at Practice level to ensure that teams are not hoarding resources.
A common problem is that architects’ fees are loaded towards the front end around the intellectual value of the services, but the run off during construction is long, meaning high person hours. It is important to recognise this in management accounts, particularly when there is a slowdown.
Systems and Procedures help with management.
Reporting systems need to be streamlined to enable management to concentrate on the key issues and not to be diverted into the minutia.
A good Quality Plan for each project will help to do it right, do it once. It will identify which aspects (aesthetic or technical) need review, when and by whom.
Knowing what your Practice knows is important. I can help set-up a knowledge management system which is not high maintenance – knowledge is not power!
Systems should allow admin people to do the admin – they are good at that – and allow designers to get on with design and earn the fees.