Technology & Architecture. A look from 1986


Recognition of the importance of technology in shaping architecture firms is particularly derived from work conducted by David Maister during his years as professor at the Harvard Business School. In studying other professional firms generally-especially law and accounting firms-Maister recognized a pattern in the key technologies they all use.He defines these technologies as:

Brains (expertise) firms, which provide service to clients who wish to retain”the smartest kid on the block”-at almost any cost.These firms give their ctents new ideas.

Gray-hair (experience) firms, which customize ideas,but rarely are positioned at the cuttingedge. Clients of these firms recognize that the problems they themselves face have probably been dealt with by other companies, the client therefore seeks an organization that can offer know-how based on past experience.

Procedure (execution) which serve clients who know that firms, their problems can be handled by a broad range of firms and who are seeking a professional firm that can give them a prompt start, quick disposition and low cost.

The impact of different technologies on the shape of an architecture firm is profound. For example, a firm where the partner-in- charge directly executes the project uses a technology different from that  a firm where the partners hand the execution of projects over to project managers. Similarly, a firm that organizes projects around a single design director has a technology different from one that allow seach project team to mak eits own design decisions.

From ChartingYour Course. Master strategies for organizing and managing architecture  firms (1986).



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