How to empower your project managers?
Project Manager in an Architecture Agency: Embracing Responsibility as an Opportunity
The project manager is a crucial component of a well-functioning architecture agency. They breathe life into projects, foster team cohesion, and serve as the interface between various stakeholders. It's an exciting role accompanied by responsibilities, which OOTI will present to you today!
Becoming a project manager is a natural progression for an architect in an agency. With it comes greater freedom in architectural design, more autonomy in project monitoring, but also increased responsibility. The latter can be intimidating, given that designers are scrutinized for their work.
Architects face specific professional constraints: on one hand, they must be overly responsible for their design decisions, with a risk of oversight or misinterpretation of regulations that could lead to penalties. On the other hand, an increasing amount of time is dedicated to studying regulations, at the expense of actual production.
Is this an inevitable fate? Certainly not, if the project manager knows how to leverage the right strategies.
Main Responsibilities of a Project Manager in an Architecture Agency:
🗓 Managing the entire project: phases, schedule, progress.
💻 Producing certain plans, meetings, and client presentations.
👫 Managing teams, approving worked hours.
🏗 In certain cases, overseeing the construction site and providing detailed reports.
Key Habits of an Effective Project Manager
Some things should be avoided: not signing a contract before starting work, sketching on a piece of paper and giving it to a client, skipping a Damage Survey expertise meeting...
Among these, there is one habit that must be strictly adhered to: not committing to the costs of construction work. As recommended by the standard contracts of the professional association, the financial envelope should be adjusted as the architect's mission progresses, parallel to any program modifications.
In case of dispute, if the architect can prove that they properly informed the client in writing about any foreseeable budget overrun, they won't be held responsible for a lack of advisory duty. However, if the client did not approve the increase in the financial envelope, the architect will have no choice but to seek adaptations to the architectural project to remain within budget. This may impact the building's characteristics, requiring, for instance, a modification to the building permit. The client may then decide to abandon all or part of the project, significantly jeopardizing the relationship.
Another mantra: don't forget to diagnose. This may seem obvious, but often, the absence of a study exposes the architect because, as the saying goes, the most expensive studies are the ones you don't conduct! Quantifying this adage may make it more evident: it's better to conduct an expertise for €1000 than risk a multi-million euro claim.
💡So, don't commit to the cost of construction work; they can evolve as the project progresses.
Training to Become a Better Project Manager
The professional association of architects also offers a selection of training courses designed for project managers in agencies, which can be counted towards mandatory training hours.
For example, the "Construction Management" session reviews different aspects of the mission based on real cases. Another series of courses focuses on saving time and increasing efficiency by addressing administrative management and internal conflicts in a stressful deadline context.
You can find all the information on the website of the professional association of architects, www.architectes.org, in the dedicated section.
💡 Take advantage of mandatory training hours
OOTI: Less Management, More Architecture
Last but not least, the features offered by an ERP (such as OOTI) help save valuable time and limit possible errors through task automation.
For instance, the project and resource management system provides a detailed view of the team's upcoming workload and complete time tracking. These are two valuable indicators for monitoring profitability that project managers don't always have in mind.
The same goes for automating invoices based on project progress. These delegated operations typically save an additional 20% of working time that is often sacrificed on the altar of administrative management...
Let's Discuss! It's easy; just follow this link, choose the date and time that suits you, and we'll take care of the rest: I request a demo.
Here are some tips to apply when you're a project manager in an architecture agency:
👉🏼 Write to protect yourself: The architect who cannot prove that they advised their client properly is usually held responsible by default.
👉🏼 Do not commit to the cost of construction work: Architects have an obligation of means, not results.
👉🏼 Diagnose: The savings from a diagnosis can be worth its weight in gold.
👉🏼 Attend training to improve your practices.
👉🏼 Use OOTI to make the most of your time.