8 key elements of a good management
8 key elements of a good management
Administrative management, organizational management, time management, project management, agency management, financial management...
Many daily tasks consume your time, taking away from the time you should dedicate to your profession. As a business owner, administrative manager, or agency director, how can you ensure that all the necessary elements are addressed for effective management?
After several years of research in the field of architecture, we have gathered some "tricks" to improve the efficiency and productivity of a company. In this article, we will share with you some crucial tips to support you in this task of utmost importance.
1. CENTRALIZE YOUR DATA
We know it's easier said than done. You have a notebook for appointments, an Excel sheet for planning and budgets, a Word document for quotes and proposals, sticky notes on your desk, and plan, elevation, and 3D files scattered in different folders on your computer. While each of these methods may be suitable for individual tasks, how do you handle it when asked for a comprehensive report? For instance: "the percentage of budget used for total fees to create plans for Zone 1 in the APS phase." For the less organized, it will take time to gather and calculate everything. Therefore, try to consolidate all this data into a single location and update it regularly. This will save you considerable time and provide better visibility into your company.
2. COLLABORATE AND ASK FOR HELP
In difficult times, you don't have to be alone. First, talk to your colleagues, project managers, and don't underestimate their input. You can also collaborate with others or engage in co-contracting projects, for example. If you are an architect, seek assistance from the Order of Architects. They can help you find contacts, recover your fees, find financing solutions, or direct you towards new activities. There are also specialized advisory boards and commissions available if you need a little boost. It's entirely normal, so don't hesitate to seek help.
3. USE SUITABLE TOOLS
Today, technology is ubiquitous. Some may not appreciate it and try to avoid it. However, it's essential to use it positively in your work to increase efficiency and productivity and remain competitive. If you don't, there will always be other companies and new agencies that will. There are well-designed tools and applications for managing your time (Fitnet), projects (Workday or Wrike), resources (Payfit), and accounting (Sage or Quickbooks), for instance. There are also all-in-one software solutions specifically tailored for architects, such as OOTI, Teamber, Everwin, or Akuiteo. Most of them offer a trial period, so go ahead and try them out; it costs nothing to explore.
4. MAINTAIN A VISION OF YOUR WORKLOAD
Le mot charrette et l'expression être charrette sont aujourd'hui entrés dans la conversation courante. Il vient à l’origine du vocabulaire utilisé par les élèves architectes de l'École des beaux-arts de Paris et signifie être en retard ou très proche du délai imposé pour rendre un projet. Vous n’avez donc pas assez de temps et le temps c’est de l’argent. Malheureusement, et surtout dans les métiers comme l’architecture, cette phrase est très vraie. La plupart des agences travaillent sur un pourcentage d’honoraires et non sur un nombre d’heures facturées au client. Lorsqu’un certain nombre d’heures de travail est atteint, le budget est automatiquement dépassé et le projet perd de sa rentabilité. Il est donc important, pour les architectes collaborateurs, chef de projets et directeurs d’agence de connaitre son temps de travail, de prioriser les livrables ou tâches et de savoir alerter les équipes et managers lorsque le planning n’est pas ou plus atteignable. Pour cela, le chef de projet ou d’agence doit assigner ses architectes à certains projets en fonction de leur charge de travail. Les architectes eux-mêmes doivent impérativement être responsables de leur temps et planning afin de mieux juger leurs échéances.
5. EMPOWER YOUR TEAMS
As mentioned above, it is beneficial to empower and delegate to your teams. A leader cannot do everything and control everything. They may have more experience and knowledge in many areas, but it's essential to train employees in decision-making and involve them in slightly more significant tasks. A good manager should value their teams and not be afraid to help them grow. After all, it's the role of every team leader. Sometimes, they may even need to delegate tasks and projects that are close to their hearts. It is also recommended to give more responsibilities to employees to make them aware of the value and time invested in their actions. For example, you can put them in charge of their own budget, giving them a specific objective to achieve. They may make mistakes, but it will be their responsibility, and they will learn from them.
6. BUDGET AND PLAN
For any business, it's necessary to create budgets, forecasts, and action plans, both at the project level and the company's strategic level. Conduct a strategy exercise with your teams to rally everyone around a single objective and provide them with reference points. Regarding project budgets, use past experience to identify reasons for overruns and implement actions to prevent recurrence. Similar to a feasibility study for architects, conduct a budget study to determine if the project will be profitable as a whole or if you need to modify your fee proposal before sending it to the client.
7. EMBRACE NUMBERS, ANALYZE THEM
Measuring the impact of your actions is essential. For some of us, numbers may be a subject we avoid or underestimate, especially in creative professions. However, as a business owner, it's imperative to know your financial status in minute detail. Some companies hire financial directors, while others take on the responsibility themselves. For those who don't: it's not a sustainable solution. Of course, setting up an analysis system requires some organization, but numbers are the best way to analyze your actions and guide you in ensuring the sustainability of your business. We're talking about financial data here, as well as key performance indicators. Analyze your costs, margins, and revenue and implement performance evaluation systems. For example: the number of projects completed on time, the number of satisfied clients, average response time to a call for proposals, time spent on administrative tasks, etc. You will be in control of your entire process and will know exactly how to increase your cash flow and productivity on each of your projects, phases, and contracts.
8. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Lastly, take risks!! It's by stepping out of your comfort zone that you can discover new horizons. A business isn't always calm and serene; you need to try new things, discover new ways of doing things, change habits, explore new markets and clients. So, share your ideas with your colleagues, don't be afraid to make decisions; there's nothing worse than not making any. If you make mistakes, you can learn from them and try again. This is how you'll achieve exactly what you want. In short, dare to be new, unknown, different, and diversify.