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Sharing my views and research on Organization Design, Architecture and how our profession is developing.

Organization Design for Architecture: What?

Veronica Baraldi

 by FRAN


In the previous post, I presented a list of issues we encounter in our everyday work. To various degrees, they could all be seen as caused by decision making process, planning process and accountability. These causes are interdependent and interweaving:

:: the difficulty of making choices when facing definite timeframes and tasks obviously translates in >

:: the impossibility of preparing a realistic plan, taking into consideration time and available resources, and the whole process when not guided properly and lacking definite responsibilities >

:: brings people down and makes them doubting whether the effort they put in their work is worth at all.

What Organization Design can do is elaborating tools that can support and smooth the process to avoid unnecessary waste of energy and time, and generally guide it in a flexible way. In order to do so, it’s important to understand the way an office works, its dynamics and purpose, so that the tools can fit in its identity and create a change without crashing what has been built so far.

The analysing of the existing situations and the customisation of the process are hard to describe, being different every time. And they are! Every office I’ve been collaborating with would deal with specific situations in different ways, depending on priorities, values, internal hierarchy, and so forth.

It’s nevertheless interesting to make a shortlist of tools to give an idea of what could be accomplished. So, let’s have a quick look at the issues defined before (for a better understanding check the post OD for Architecture: How), and let’s pair them with what could be done:

:: how to introduce new colleagues to the office and to its ways in an efficient and involving way > Office Manual

:: how to plan deadlines and deliveries > Plan of Approach & Drawing List

:: how to improve internal communication > Shared Communication & Agenda

:: how to build an efficient information sharing system > Knowledge Sharing & Activity Log

:: how to work efficiently with third parties and advisors > Office Manual & Standards

:: how to work better together and on material produced by other colleagues > Standards

:: how to deal with emergency situations > Office Manual, Standards and Plan of Approach

:: how to build the historic process of a project in order to trace back important passages > Activity Log

:: how to build an office archive including all the material developed, whether used or not, but that could be useful for future projects and researches > Knowledge Sharing

:: how to improve the decision making process > Plan of Approach & Shared Agenda

The above list is a simple way to explain how a selected and customized system of tools could improve in a medium time frame the efficiency of an architectural practice. I will never get tired of repeating that it’s not about a rigid and imposed structure, but it’s about a flexible and tailormade system that guides a practice into making a change in its dynamics and working ways. The main focus is shifting the energy into a better organization to have more energy and time to concentrate on what matters for us: design.

Please share your thoughts about these issues, and new issues you may have in your work, to see what could be done to solve them.