What we know from our work with A/E firms is that the “what” of the project manager role is simple; the “how” is incredibly complex. And because the job is so complex, firm principals are often hesitant to give PMs the responsibility and authority they need to be effective in their work. The work gets done, but the principal ends up being far more involved than they need to be because they are the ones who have the necessary information about the project.
As we?ve learned from our work with architecture/engineering (A/E) firms, there are relatively few absolutes when it comes to operating them. But, here?s one: If you aren?t managing projects well, you aren?t going to be successful. And while there are many aspects to effective project management, spending less money than you have budgeted for them is a core competency for any firm.
The average architecture/engineering (A/E) firm has fewer than 20 employees. If your company meets that description, you know that to be successful, most of your team members have to maximize their billable hours. This doesn’t leave much time for managing the accounting side of the business, which can be a problem since the people tallying the numbers typically don’t have a financial background.