project planning architects

Project planning for architects – the 2021 checklist

What is a project management plan?

Planning is an essential part of project management, and one you never want to skip, no matter what you are working on. This is especially true for architects and city planners. Without planning an architecture project turns into a long-lasting and costly failure. 

What makes a good project management plan? 

A good project plan takes into account all the tasks and activities that need to be done by various contractors and teams so that the project is completed on time.

If your architecture project plan is clear and transparent, everyone working on the project knows what they’re doing and who to contact with questions.

Getting started & stages of the plan

Normally there are several stages of architectural project planning. The main parts that all successful projects have are 

  • project scope
  • project schedule
  • communication plan

Let’s take a look at each of the parts.

Architectural project scope

The project scope determines exactly what is going to be done and what resources will be allocated for that.  

To determine project scope you need to assess client needs, their resources, and limitations (budget, time, site).

Very often as an architect you have to look through the client requirements and see the constraints and conditions that your client is not aware of. There are functional requirements, special considerations, physical requirements, and material design requirements that you need to take into account while planning your project. 

You need to plan for all that at the earliest stage of the project – right after you get the architectural briefing document from your client.

While planning out the scope of the project you also need to have a clear picture of resources, materials, suppliers, budgets, and everything that deals with the implementation of the project.

Architectural project schedule

Next stage of architectural project planning is to define your schedule. One of the most important skills an architect or a city planner needs to possess is being able to make an estimate about the time necessary to complete the project. Proper experience in project planning helps develop that skill.

If there are constant delays and shifting dates – you can tell the project was poorly planned.

Split the larger milestones into smaller ones, identify contractors and team members responsible for each milestone, and so on. Make sure you know task and activities co-dependencies that affect what needs to be done when.

Architectural project communication plan

Communication is extremely important for successful architecture projects, and every architect needs to be a brilliant communicator. Develop something called a communication matrix and make sure you follow it clearly.

A communication Matrix lists all the stakeholders and points of contact, their preferred medium of communication, the deliverables they expect, frequency of updates they require, and who else might be interested in your communication with these stakeholders.

Quality control

Quality control needs to go hand-in-hand with project planning. You need to inspect, monitor and verify all the services and products you are using in the project – take that into account while writing out the project schedule.

Project planning tools for architects and city planners

A lot of architects and city planners are sticking to the old fashioned paper notebooks for initial project planning. That makes sense during the brainstorm phase and for personal notes, however in order to work with modern teams you need project management software.

Since most architecture projects require collaboration between highly technological teams – the tools need to offer document sharing, messaging, task visibility by team, and other features.

There are hundreds of online project management tools that allow all sorts of planning and measurement as well as collaboration, space and they can all be categorized into several types. 

1)  List-type apps 

These tools organize your workspace as a simple list of things that need to be done. Todoist or Google Keep are the examples of such project planning tools.

2) Kanban-style apps

The other major type of project planning software is based on the so-called Kanban system.   These tools organize your workspace into several virtual “boards” and the tasks that need to be done are presented as cards. The cards start their journey on the “to-do” or “nice to have” boards and move to the “done” board eventually.

Kanban-style tools have become the de-facto standard for project management and project planning across multiple Industries. Most employees and teams are familiar and comfortable with them. Examples of kanban-style tools – Trello, Tracked boards.

3) Gantt Style 

Gantt chart project planning tools present the workflow as a timeflow chart that is continuous and is made of several stages. The charts can be broken down into segments and include sub-tasks and individual assignments for all the team members.

Gantt-style project management and planning tools are convenient for estimates and deadlines. An example – Ganttpro.

4) Hybrid tools

Hybrid tools contain features of all of the above types: kanban boards, Gantt charts, to-do lists, and more within their work space. 

Most hybrid tools are industry-specific and created for convenience and streamlined project planning of certain professionals.

PlanMan is an example of a hybrid project management tool that is designed specifically for architects and city planners.

PlanMan makes it easier to manage a project of any scope and focuses on effective collaboration and communication. You can use PlanMan for all stages of architectural project management and store all necessary documents from invoices to design renders and CAD plans in a convenient workspace.

Sign up for a free trial and see how convenient architectural project planning can be!

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