Help me help other architects! This blog is an excerpt from the first draft of my book: Breaking the Box: Explode out of Architecture School to a Successful Career as an Architect. You can help me make it better by leaving a critique in the comment section below. Thx you rock! -Steve
In part 1, I shared the 3 constants of deadlines: Murphy's Law, Parkinson's Law and 'In Architecture, You are never Finished.'
In this article I share:
5 Tips for Managing Deadlines
1. Print Early and Print Often
This is my #1 strategy for dealing with Murphy’s Law. If we have a Friday morning deadline than my goal is to print a set before we leave work on Thursday. When we arrive Friday morning, we are essentially done. The team can review the drawings and see if there are any last minute changes. If there are changes then we only swap out the sheets that need to be reprinted.
In addition, it is always a good idea to print check-sets along the way. In the computer age, we spend a majority of our time fixated on a computer monitor whereas the contractor primarily works with printed drawings. Printing check-sets allows us to better visualize the finished product.
2. Manage the Consultants
Typically, the consultants will fall under the architect’s contract therefore the architect is responsible for compiling the master set of drawings and specs. This means that in addition to the architecture drawings, the architect needs to compile the sets from the:
Fire Protection Engineer
Other specialty consultants.
That is a long list of folks to be responsible for and it also opens the door for more Murphy’s Law action. My best advice is to set the consultant deadline at least 3 days before the final deadline. For a Friday deadline, ask for the consultant drawings on Tuesday. This gives you ample time to review and organize their drawings and allows for a safety net should there be a problem.
3. Arrive Early
If you have a morning deadline then I recommend coming in at least one hour earlier then your usual arrival.
- The extra time will help you manage any obstacles Murphy’s Law presents.
- Starting your work in an empty office will allow you to concentrate and work more effectively.
- The extra time could allow you to finish earlier and help reduce stress.
- And this is the final push, so why not put in a little extra effort!
4. Schedule Deadlines on Friday not Monday
If you have the ability to influence scheduling, I would avoid Monday deadlines. The reason being that a Monday deadline will almost guarantee that you and the project team will be working that weekend before the deadline. I know this too well.
Even a Friday deadline can be risky. “The contractor isn’t going to look at the drawings until Monday, so we could continue to work on the drawings over the weekend and resubmit Monday morning,” someone might say.
A Wednesday deadline would be ideal since it would help you avoid weekend work. However, mid-week deadlines are rare in the industry.
5. Ask for Help
Remember that your firm is one team. One of the benefits of having a team is that you have backup in the form of lots of helpers. If your project team is scrambling around the office frantically trying to make a deadline in 4 hours, consider asking for help outside of your project team. Having an extra helper or two on the day of a deadline can be a huge help. Delegate simple tasks like printing drawings or organizing pdf files. This little boost will help you focus on the important tasks and improve your chance for success.
Opportunity for Growth
Although deadlines can be challenging and stressful, they present a tremendous growth opportunity. Consider a deadline as a great way for you to flex your ‘architect muscles.’
The tips listed above can be very helpful:
Print Early and Print Often
Manage the Consultants
Schedule Deadlines on Friday
Ask for Help
You should always be thinking of the team. A good teammate is dependable, will execute their responsibilities and will always look out for their other team members.
Do you have a good deadline tip to share? I would love to hear it. Thx -Steve
Chapter 9 by the Numbers
· 1,358 words
· 5.4 – Translates into approximately 5.4 pages in book form.
· 2 – Blog Posts
· 5 – Hours to Write and Post on Blog
· 6 – Stretched over 5 calendar days.
· .9 – Average book pages written per day.
The Book by the Numbers
· 19,622 – Total Words
· 78 – Total Pages
· 27 – Total Blog Posts
· 220 – Goal for final page count.
· 10 – Straight Days of Writing
· 1.625 – Average book pages written per day.
· 87 – Estimated days to completion. (220-78) / 1.625) = 87
· 8– Chapter down.
· 22 – Chapters to go.
· 2 – New subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter
· 30 – Total subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter