Assessing the Practice - Staffing

8m 11s

In this ARE 5.0 Practice Management Exam Prep course you will learn about the topics covered in the ARE 5.0 PcM exam division. A complete and comprehensive curriculum, this course will touch on each of the NCARB objectives for the ARE 5.0 Practice Management Exam.

Instructor Mike Newman will discuss issues related to pre-contract tasks including negotiation, human resource management and consultant development.

When you are done with this course, you will have a thorough understanding of the content covered in the ARE 5.0 Practice Management Exam including business structure, business development, and asset development and protection.

When we're thinking about assessing the qualities of a practice, obviously the first place we're gonna think about is the staff. What are the qualities of the staff that you have? What is the nature of the skillset that they have? We're doing this for two reasons, one is we're assessing what we have already, and the second is we're assessing what we are missing. We can't really think about what the skillsets are and what skillsets are missing without thinking of what's the type of work?

If we're doing a highly technical or highly avant-garde or highly production oriented or we're doing schools or we're doing multi-family, each of those has a different set of skillsets and understanding the type of work would help us to understand the qualities a that we have and also the qualities that we need. When we talk about assessment, everything's gonna be sort of flowing back and fourth, one will affect the other.

When we talk about the qualities of the staff that we need and the type of work that we're talking about, well then, another question will come up which is gonna be the amount of work. It's one thing to have a firm of, say, three or four people work on a project and be able to move quickly through it and get it done in a timely matter but you wouldn't be able to have the three or four people work on 12 projects or 20 projects and get them done in a timely matter, it's just too many projects for that number of people, so it wouldn't really even matter what the qualities were, you have to understand not just the type of work but the amount, and then, kind of going along with that, we're also talking about the speed that's expected.

Different types of projects, there are different sort of expectations of how they're gonna move forward, certain kind of production projects will be very important for speed, certain kinds of projects are funded. Maybe with federal grant money, there might be very stringent rules about how fast things need to be able to move forward because the grant money will expire at a certain point.

There's a whole series of these different relationships about speed and quality, how those projects are gonna go and that impacts how we think about the staff qualities and how we think about the type of work and the amount of work that are appropriate for any particular firm. When we're talking about assessment, we're talking about having a very specific set of ideas about, well, okay, what type of work should the firm be doing? How much of that work can we imagine?

How fast would we wanna be able to do it? Is there some sense of quality that is mandatory? Maybe it's from a returning work standpoint, getting repeat customers, but it may be that certain kinds of work just demand more details than others, maybe for hospitals or something you would say well I can't do sort of fast paced projects, it has to be a very very detailed project that's gonna impact our series of assessments.

Once we've started to understand the amount of the work the type of the work, how that's all gonna play, now we have a way to put down certain very specific questions and we can start to assess what we have. That's when we go back and talk about the qualities of the staff and how we're organizing the staff, so it's a very different way to think of staff members who are in, say, a pyramidal form where there's one person at the head and then everybody else is below them.

Maybe I have a couple layers of people. That's very different than a staff that is all on equal footing and everybody is at the same level. I would work with that staff in a different way and I would have a different type of expectation of the speed and process of the work in those different scenarios. You could also imagine situations where I have, say, a group of, I'm gonna put them in little silos, makes the point, designers, and then I have another group of people who are the detailers and they're all in their own little silo, and then maybe I have another group of people who are the ones who do the construction administration and so they work with the contractors and everything.

It's a very different type of projects, it's a very different sort of flow of how it would work and it would take a different kind of assessment to understand what's working, what's not working, what's missing, what are the resources that are needed given this organizational system that you have. Obviously one of the things you're trying to figure out when you figure out where the resource is, is, okay, what do we need, who do we need to fill those gaps that would be for recruiting.

Are there way that we can continue to get our staff to be better and better so that maybe we send people to project management seminars or they go to black spectacles and learn more programs or, there's a whole series of different ways that continuing education can affect how the flow of work moves through a practice.

The point of the assessing is to be able to make action plans, you're looking for the information that you need in order to make the type of work you're doing more believable, more safe and more efficient so that, in that process, you now know what qualities of staff you need, you now know what qualities of, not just staff, but of resources, maybe of space, of model making or prototype working, 3D printers, whatever it happens to be in order to figure that out you need to have gone through the assessment process.

Okay, so, a little backtrack for a quick second here, remember this is an exam, and it's an exam about starting a firm, well not starting a firm, but having a firm, and that's sort of, as I said in the beginning, kind of an odd question, right? What does that mean?

An exam about a firm when we're talking about health, safety and welfare of the public, but clearly what they are trying to get us to think about here is what are the systems that would allow us to think about how to make things safer and better. If we're talking about assessing the staff qualities or assessing the type of work that fits to this particular type of firm, what they're really talking about, the scenarios that you can imagine thinking about are, how do you make it so that firm that really should be doing, say, a hospital, suddenly ends up doing a hospital, and they don't have the appropriate staff and they don't have the resources to do it and they can't do it on time, so stuff gets cut, corners get cut and things move too fast for the type of abilities that that firm has.

Suddenly you have a safety issue out in the world, right? We're talking about it as assessment, or how to put together a practice, but the exam is really thinking about it from the safety standpoint of, what makes sense for the safety of the public?

One of the things that makes sense is the right firm does the right kind of project. If you're doing the wrong kind of project, you're likely to be setting up a situation that just, is unsafe and is also bad for the industry because then the price points get wrong, the public doesn't understand how it's going to work 'cause they don't see who's supposed to be working with whom so there's a whole series of these different issues, that while we're talking about it from this standpoint of, okay we've got this firm, now we're just trying to figure out what's the best way to make it work, the exam is really thinking about all the potential disasters that could happen from it not working correctly.

When you think about this stuff, use it as a way to both think about how can we make our firms better but also to think about it from this sort of sense of how the exam scenarios by which they would be thinking about it, so that you have a way to answer the questions, sort of reasonably.

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From the course:
ARE 5.0 Practice Management Exam Prep

Duration: 11h 28m

Author: Mike Newman