Empower your project managers

Agency project manager: when responsibility is an opportunity

The project manager is an essential cog in the smooth running of an architecture firm. It is by him that the projects live, he who participates in the cohesion of the team and the one who is at the interface between the various stakeholders. An exciting function also accompanied by obligations, which the editorial staff of OOTI presents to you today!

Switch to project manager. This is the logical evolution of an architect in an agency. With, it is the optics of a greater latitude in the architectural gesture, of a greater autonomy in the follow-up but also of a greater responsibility. A point that can be scary as we know the designer scrutinized in his work.

In short, architects are confronted with specific professional constraints: on the one hand, that of the over-responsibilization of design acts, with a risk of forgetting or misinterpreting the texts which can lead to a sanction and, on the other hand , a growing time budget devoted to the study of texts, to the detriment of production.

A fatality ? Certainly not if the project manager knows how to activate the right levers

The main missions of the project manager at the architect

🗓 All project management: phases, planning, progress.

💻 Production of some plans, meeting and presentation to the client.

👫 Team management, validation of hours worked.

🏗 If necessary, site monitoring and detailed reports.

The good reflexes of the project manager

There are things you should avoid doing: not signing a contract before starting to work, draw a sketch on a piece of paper and give it to a client, do not go to a summons for a damages-work expertise...

Among all these, there is one that must be particularly adhered to: not to commit to the cost of the work. As recommended by the standard contracts of the Order, the financial envelope is adjusted as progress is made of the architect's mission, alongside any program modifications.

In the event of a dispute, if the architect can prove that he has correctly informed his client – always in writing – of the foreseeable overrun of his budget, he cannot be accused of a breach of his duty to advise. On the other hand, if the contracting authority has not validated the evolution of the financial envelope, the architect will have no other solution than to seek the adaptations of the architectural project which will make it possible to remain within the budget. This can impact the characteristics of the building, requiring, for example, a modification of the building permit. The contracting authority can then decide to abandon all or part of the project.

Let it be said, this risks greatly compromising the agreement with this client.

Another mantra: do not forget to diagnose. It seems obvious, but too often, the absence of a study exposes the architect because, as the saying goes: the most expensive studies are those that have not been carried out! A figure of this adage is perhaps more telling: it is better to carry out an expertise at 1000 € than to risk a claim of several million.

That of the ground appears at the first of these because if the architect can do a lot, it is obvious that it is up to the design of the work to adapt to the ground and not the reverse.

💡 Do not commit to the cost of the work, they can evolve over time

Training to become a better project manager

The Order of Architects also offers a selection of training courses intended for project managers in agencies and to promote within the framework of your mandatory training hours.

The “Site management and management” session proposes, for example, to review the different elements of the mission based on concrete cases. Another series of training also proposes to save time and to be more efficient by focusing particularly on administrative management, internal conflicts in a context of deadline stress.

All the information can be found on the website of the Order of Architects, www.architects.org, in the dedicated section by following this link.

💡 Take advantage of mandatory training hours

OOTI: less management, more architecture

Last but not least, the functionalities offered by an ERP (as is OOTI) make it possible to free up precious time while limiting possible errors by automating certain tasks. 

This is the case, for example, of the system of project and resource management which offers a detailed vision of the upcoming workload for the team and a complete tracking of the time spent. Two valuable indicators in profitability monitoring that project managers do not always have in mind.

The same goes for the automation of invoices according to the progress of the project. Delegated operations that allow on average to release 20% of working time usually sacrificed on the altar of administrative management...

Do we discuss it together? Nothing could be simpler, just follow this link, choose the date and time that suits you and we'll take care of the rest: I request a demo.

I don't have time to read everything, can you give me a little summary?

Here are some tips to apply when you are a Project Manager in an architecture agency:

👉🏼  Write to protect yourself : The project manager who is not able to prove that he has advised his client well is, in principle, rather responsible

👉🏼  Do not commit to the cost of the work : the architect has an obligation of means and not of result

👉🏼  Diagnose : the economy of a diagnosis can be very expensive

👉🏼  Form to improve their practices

👉🏼  Use OOTI so as not to waste precious time

Discover OOTI, the 100% software dedicated to the administrative and financial management of architectural agencies.