More efficient planning and successful acquisition
Self-responsible employees, delegation and micromanagement: Brückner Architekten can implement more projects in less time with its existing staff.
As a general planner and specialist for high-quality interior design as well as system construction, the company Brückner Architekten pursues the goal of leading projects to an optimal result through good ideas, consistent execution and reliable processes. The office works on high-quality solutions according to the latest standards and scientific findings.
Quality management (QM) is essential for this. "We in architecture, in the planning of our work but of course also in construction, depend on processes running well," says Laurent Brückner, managing partner of the company. Years ago, he noticed that his company achieved its goals much better after introducing QM.
Initial situation, requirements and goals
Even though the quality management module in Excel worked very well, there was too little acceptance among the employees to work comprehensively according to QM in day-to-day business. There were too many obstacles: The QM manual was too extensive for the employees. In addition, there was no automatic reconciliation between the project and QM, so that a lot of manual work had to be done. Brückner learned about InLoox through a personal contact. He then decided to use the time tracking feature of the solution because he was convinced that his employees would make use of this solution due to the integration with Outlook, especially since they work with Outlook anyway. Furthermore, Brückner decided to use InLoox as a project management tool as well and to replace the previous QM module, because scheduling and processes were not connected at all there.
With the new solution, Brückner Architekten has been able to reduce the barrier to entry for employees. "We now map all projects in InLoox, which is our project list," says Brückner. The solution's features extends from time management to task management to resource management. Objects that have been planned with it include, for example, the interior design of a penthouse in the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg and the headquarters of a world-renowned technology company in Munich.
In time tracking, InLoox is used for economic controlling: for example, to determine how much time was spent on which task and when. It is also used for documentation when charging time-based fees to customers.
From design planning to prefabrication and assembly, everthing is digitized
The example of the planning and production of the complete interior fittings of a penthouse apartment in the Elbphilharmonie clearly shows the special conditions under which Brückner Architekten creatively realizes its projects using the most modern means. For the individually designed penthouse apartment in Hamburg, the office controlled all processes from Munich and had the parts prefabricated, which then only had to be assembled on site.
The special aspect of this is that Brückner Architekten created a completely continuous 3-D process from planning to production: This is because the entire manufacturing process is also carried out according to one and the same 3-model. This was necessary because the interior design of the apartment consists of unusual, round shapes that can only be represented and manufactured in this way. At the beginning, an exact room scan (photogrametic scan recording) was created and the design planning was carried out digitally on the computer. Later, further details and also the technical building equipment were integrated into the 3-D model. The 3-D model simultaneously fed the manufacturing process with data. All the individual parts were planned and manufactured at three locations in Bavaria and finally delivered to Hamburg, where they were built up in the apartment almost like Lego.
How to get started with such projects? Brückner architects often start with a mind map, because tasks can be quickly derived from it, which naturally gives rise to many sub-processes. "At the end of the day, it's all about very detailed scheduling, in which quite a lot of processes run in parallel and have to be coordinated accordingly," says Brückner. "This is then our important target-actual comparison for the project, which can be shown using Gantt chart planning." The weekly target-actual comparison results in a much higher target achievement rate and the project is implemented more quickly.
"With a planning that also takes into account the capacities of the employees, we can simply get better," says Brückner. Using the Kanban view as an example: ‚Not started, in progress, done', here the transparency is apparent. "After just one week, you can see at a glance if a task is not completed."
Experiences: Office build-out for a world-renowned technology company
The expansion of the office space in Munich within three months to a fixed acceptance date is another example Brückner cites of why his office could not have handled such projects without a project management tool. In an elaborate planning process, the following had to be brought together: high demands on the interior design, a deadline that could not be postponed, and many processes that had to be gone through within the company: Coordinating everything with many different stakeholders, involving them in every process, formulating every task down to the last detail, and constantly coordinating them so that everyone is satisfied in the end. And all of this must also be mapped in terms of processes.
Planning minutely detailed, defining milestones and building in obligation to participate
Every single area had to be worked through minutely from the beginning to the completion of the planning, so that the office could define milestones and would be able to give the client deadlines for approvals. Otherwise, the project would be completed belatedly. According to Brückner, this customer participation (obligation) can be specifically incorporated into project management. If necessary, the solution's documentation feature shows who is responsible for what, where and when, if something should go wrong.
In addition, Brückner Architekten can integrate the tasks of the employees into the schedule. There, it is possible to see which employee is completing the task, to what percentage of his capacity he is working at this time, and how long he may need for this. If something needs to be adjusted, the plan is updated. Brückner attaches great importance to communicating with his employees in the event of changes and, if necessary, asking whether the newly estimated time for an adjustment is really sufficient for the employee. Experience shows that the commitment of all employees means that changes to the plan are very likely to be implemented successfully.
More effective through employee self-management
As far as the daily work with InLoox is concerned, according to Brückner, it is important to guide the project members in task and time management until they are able to organize themselves with the tool. For example, it is advisable to schedule enough time for planning and meetings. The Self-management of the individual employees can yield huge gains in effectiveness. "The effectiveness gains are so strong that it's actually enough to plan only two-thirds of the time with PM," says Brückner.
InLoox as an acquisition tool is a USP
Brückner discovered another side effect when he once showed a schedule as a Gantt chart at the first meeting with a new customer to illustrate how things would now proceed. "After taking stock, the goals are formulated, then we make a contract, and after that we start with basic investigations, preliminary design, etc. The customer liked that so much that he chose us." InLoox has become a real acquisition tool. "When I approach with a plan like this, the customer feels picked up, and says 'This is my roadmap, now it can start, I'm getting on board.' And then he gets on board."
„Overall, InLoox has brought a very positive impact in the workflow," concludes Brückner. He calculates: Without InLoox, Brückner Architekten would need 10 more employees for the same project volume, which would also lead to increased communication and coordination efforts. "It's good to be able to implement a high project volume with just a few employees. That is a positive effect, which I clearly attribute to this tool."
„You can tell at a glance when a task isn't done.“
„Without a project management tool, we would not have been able to handle such a complex project at all.“ [[Interior design of the offices of the headquarters in Munich of a world-renowned technology company]]
„InLoox as an acquistion tool is a USP.“
„It's good to be able to implement a high project volume with just a few employees. That's a positive effect that I clearly attribute to this project management tool.“
Laurent Brückner, CEO Brückner Architekten
Quality management is essential for high-quality interior design. The previous QM module in Excel found little acceptance among employees. In addition, the QM manual was too extensive for the employees and there was no automatic reconciliation between project and QM, so that a lot of manual rework had to be done. Scheduling and processes were not linked to each other.
A solution with a high level of employee acceptance was needed to reduce the barrier to entry for employees. Such a tool was found in the form of the project management software InLoox that is integrated in Outlook. The range of uses extends from time management to task management and resource management.
Self-responsible employees, delegation and micromanagement: Brückner Architekten can implement more projects in less time with its existing staff. Processes from QM and from the projects are completely mapped. InLoox also serves as an acquisition tool. With the presentation of schedules as Gantt charts in InLoox to potential customers, Brückner Architekten has discovered a unique selling point.