Administrative management, organizational management, time management, project management, agency management, financial management…
Many daily tasks that drain your time to the detriment of the time you have to devote to your job. As a business manager, administrative manager or branch manager, how can we be sure that we address all the elements necessary for effective management?
After a few years of research in the field of architecture, we have retained a few "tricks" to do to improve the efficiency and productivity of a company.
In this article, we are going to share with you some crucial tips to help you with this all-important task.
1. CENTRALIZE YOUR DATA
We know it's easy to say but very hard to do. You have a notebook for the appointments, an excel for the planning and the budgets, a word document for quote and proposals, post-its on your desk and files plans, elevations and 3D in different folders on your computer. So yes, all of these are very appropriate means for each action, but what do you do if you are asked for a general report? For example: “the percentage of the budget used of the total fees to make the plans for zone 1 in the APS phase”. For the less organized, it will take time to put everything together and calculate everything. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, but in general, try to gather all this data in one place and update it fairly regularly. This will save you considerable time and give you better visibility on your business.
2. TEAM UP, ASK FOR HELP
In difficult times, you don't have to be alone. First, talk to your collaborators, your project managers, do not underestimate them. You can also join forces, or carry out co-contracting projects, for example. If you are an architect, call on The Order of Architects. They will help you find contacts, recover your fees, find means of financing or direct you to new activities. There are also specialized councils and commissions if you need a little help. It's totally normal so don't be shy.
3. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS
Today the technology is everywhere. So, yes some people don't like it and want to avoid it. However, it is necessary to know how to use it positively in the work to gain in efficiency and productivity in order to remain competitive. If you don't, there will always be other companies and new agencies that will. There are extremely well-made tools and applications to manage your time (Fitnet), your projects (Workday or Wrike), your resources (Payfit) and your accounting (Sage or Quickbooks) for example. There are also all-in-one software and specifically suited to architects such as OOTI, Teamber, everwin Where Akuiteo. Most offer a trial period so go ahead, it costs nothing to try.
4. KEEP AN OVERVIEW OF YOUR WORKLOAD
Word cart and the expression be cart have now entered into everyday conversation. It comes originally from the vocabulary used by the student architects of the School of Fine Arts in Paris and means being late or very close to the deadline imposed to submit a project. So you don't have enough time and time is money. Unfortunately, and especially in trades like architecture, this sentence is very true. Most agencies work on a percentage fee, not a number of hours billed to the client. When a certain number of working hours is reached, the budget is automatically exceeded and the project loses its profitability. It is therefore important for collaborating architects, project managers and agency directors to know their work time, to prioritize deliverables or tasks and to know how to alert teams and managers when the schedule is not or no longer achievable. For this, the project or agency manager must assign his architects to certain projects according to their workload. Architects themselves must imperatively be responsible for their time and planning in order to better judge their deadlines.
5. EMPOWER YOUR TEAMS
As we said just above, it is beneficial to empower and delegate to your teams. A manager cannot do everything and control everything, he has more experience, of course, and knows many subjects, but it is important to train his collaborators on decision-making and on slightly more important tasks. A good manager must value his teams and must not be afraid to make them evolve. After all that is the role of any team leader. He will sometimes even have to delegate tasks and projects that are close to his heart. It is also recommended to give more responsibilities to its employees so that they realize the value and time of actions that they undertake. For this you can put them in charge of their own budget for example, by giving them a mission to achieve a specific objective. They may make mistakes but it will be their responsibility and they won't do it the next time.
6. MAKE BUDGETS, PLAN
For any business, it is necessary to make budgets, from forecast and to put in place action plans. At level project but also at the level of strategy corporate. Do the strategy exercise with your teams in order to mobilize everyone towards one and the same objective and give them points of reference. As for project budgets, it is important to use past experience to identify the reason for the overrun and thus put in place actions to prevent it from happening again. Like a feasibility study for architects, you will do a budget study, to already know if this project will be profitable for you as a whole or if it is necessary to modify your fee proposal before sending it to the client.
7. DON'T RUN AWAY FROM THE NUMBERS, ANALYZE THEM
Measuring the impact of your actions is essential. For some of us, numbers can be a subject that is avoided or underestimated, especially in creative professions. As a business owner, it is imperative to know your financial status in great detail. Some call on financial management, others do it themselves. For those who don't: it's not a lasting solution. Of course, it requires a small organization to set up an analysis system, but figures are the best way to analyze your actions and give you the direction to take in order to ensure the sustainability of your business. We are talking here about financial datas but also key indicators. Analyze your costs, margins and turnover and put in place performance appraisal systems. performance. For example: number of projects finalized on time, number of satisfied customers, average response time to a call for tenders, time spent on administrative tasks, etc. You will be in a position of control over your entire process and will be able to know exactly how to increase your Treasury and productivity on each of your projects, phases and contracts.
8. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
And finally, take risks!! It is by leaving your comfort zone that you can discover other horizons. A company is not always calm and serene, you have to know how to do new things, discover new ways of doing things, change your habits, discover new markets and new customers… So share your ideas with your collaborators, don't be afraid to make decisions, there is nothing worse than not making any, at worst you make a mistake and start over. This is how you will do exactly what you want. In short, dare the new, the unknown, the different and diversify.