trade tales | Jan 27, 2023 |
How does your firm tackle project management?

Design work involves tracking many moving parts, so the better a firm’s project management systems, the more time designers can devote to designing. That’s why we asked six designers—Nicole Hurd, Noelani Zervas, Samantha Struck, Mark Bittoni, Julie Dodson and Ruth Gamarra—to share the tools they use to streamline design projects.

How does your firm tackle project management?
Nicole HurdJessica Bordner

It Takes a Village

“All members of our firm are involved with project management. While each project manager is the specific point of contact for a client, it’s important that all team members are up to date. Our firm prides itself not just on offering great design, but being organized and efficient in order to execute that design. We use tools such as Standard Operating Procedures in Asana for each client since, for the most part, every service is templated—we shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel for each client.” —Nicole Hurd, Hurd Homes, Jupiter, Florida

How does your firm tackle project management?
Noelani ZervasKatie Kaizer Photography

The Juggler

“My firm is a one-stop shop right now, with me, myself and I handling project management. Having my hand in all the pots can be hectic, but it translates into a continuity of care and customer service across the board. Is order tracking and back-end work the most thrilling? No. Is it essential to the business? Absolutely. Right now, I track materials, invoices, communication with vendors, deliveries and the endless to-do lists myself. In an ideal world, when the monthly invoice goes out, the client is also getting an update on the process at the same time. As the name and face of a brand, it’s important for a client to know they can always get in touch with me, no matter how large or small the issue.” —Noelani Zervas, Noelani Zervas Interiors, Boston

How does your firm tackle project management?
Samantha StuckEmily Kennedy

Connect the Dots

“Everyone on the team handles project management to a degree [because] we all have to know what is going on with a project. Our firm offers both design services and procurement of materials, so communications, scheduling and cross-pollination between departments is essential. We use ClickUp for all our internal project management, and then for client-facing project management, we create a custom private website that is accessible to the build team and clients—that is the hub for all project information. This [system] centralizes all of the platforms we use into clickable buttons and links for the team to access at all times. For our firm, I am the one driving the ship and the deadlines. We do weekly team syncs to assess where we are. From there, the team implements information across our systems and platforms. We are a small crew, so at any given time, if someone is sick or needs to take a break, we have to know how to step in and keep it all going.” —Samantha Struck, StruckSured Interiors, Hood River, Oregon

How does your firm tackle project management?
Mark BittoniCourtesy of Bittoni Architects

Chart the Course

“Our studio director handles project management. During our time at home and working remotely, project management and organization became critical. The first thing we needed to do was develop a detailed org chart. The idea was that when a new project came into the office, there [should be] a clear process to onboard the client, and a direct path to funnel the project to the correct team and staff, depending on the client’s specific needs. Our staff was given a clear directive for their role in [a given] project, and it overall helped our team with accountability. Not all projects have the same tasks, so efficiently directing work has made for a smoother [process, timely] project deliverables and, ultimately, success.” —Mark Bittoni, Bittoni Architects, Los Angeles

How does your firm tackle project management?
Julie DodsonCourtesy of Dodson Interiors

Try It On

“We’ve tried it all, and finding the right person with that skill set takes a long time. We tried outsourcing project management but found it was not efficient. Right now, our team focuses on design and project management; it’s not a one-man job, it’s a team effort.” —Julie Dodson, Dodson Interiors, Houston

How does your firm tackle project management?
Ruth GamarraCourtesy of Unique by Ruth

Divide & Conquer

“Our firm currently has three people doing project management: I handle the design; Maria Perez Blanco is in charge of the production at the factory; and my soulmate Jorge Ruiz Diaz is in charge of outside projects, including commercial. We are focused on customer service, intense detail-oriented work with the team, and we always try to run on schedule with our agenda as part of our daily routine.” —Ruth Gamarra, Unique by Ruth, Rockville, Maryland

Homepage image: Noelani Zervas creates warmth in this living room with orange accents and a leather sofa | Jessica Delaney

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