Managing as an Architect

So now I have had the operation and am a manager I need a way of managing my time and also of giving direction to the people who work for me. As I have said before in my blog I have a very poor memory and attention span (typically 3 items and 30 seconds.. just like a goldfish!) so I have had to come up with a way which fits in with the way I think and the limitations I have. Needless to say I used an architectural approach and started off by saying that there are 3 generic things I need to cover:


·        Strategic things

·        Tactical things

·        Innovative things


So for this particular job I have three strategic things I want to do:


·        Work with communities of people

·        Work with Architects

·        Generate an online presence


And three tactical things I have to do:


·        People Management

·        Presentations and events

·        Reporting


Finally I want to focus on innovation and leadership in each area whilst ensuring the basic elements of the job are met. I call this “the line”. Things below the line are activities I and my team have to do and I only want to know about if things are going wrong. Things above the line are new, innovative, leadership things which I want to know about always.


This gives me a three dimensional cube which allows me to prioritise things (and decide when not to do things!):











The third dimension is “the line” e.g. innovative or day to day stuff. So typically I like to get all the tactical stuff done in the morning and then do strategic stuff in the afternoon.


Well it works for me anyway!

Comments (2)

  1. Carsten Brueggmann says:

    How do you get to know if things are going right? The managment cycle contains Analysis->Planning->Execution->Control(!)->Redesign->Planning->Execution and so on.

    Below you line, there should not only be the daily task of getting to know whats new/hot and innovative or going wrong. There should also be the control of tasks to see what is going right – so you will be able to get more and more data about the effectiveness of your team and what quality you produce with your team. I’ve seen too many people measuring the performance of their team on what is going wrong instead of seeing both sides of the medal and create a relation between them.

    Another advantage of this is, that you can build up your people managment. By knowing what goes the right way (and maybe, who is actuall working faster and better than you and the team precalculated/expected) you can get back to your team members and tell them, that you realized this and how much you aprechiate it – people managment is, after all, sense for social interaction and psychology.

    I think of doing it a similar way: There are my strategic goals which lead into tactical goals but this is only a matter of the ressources – this is a tool for me to channel tasks and group them int othe right context. I would create some sort of a weekly plan for my daily tasks (planning, data collection, presenting, reporting and so on) and the rest of my work is done fluently without precice planning, which contains: control of tasks, communicaton with the team, problem finding and just social interaction with the team so that they know, I am there and they can come to me with their problems. Due to being a human instead of a manager I will get even more information about what is going on in my team.

    In effect of this the direction of the information flow will be vice versa – coming first from my daily "tasks" – collected and put into patterns so that I can use them for redesign of workflows and plans – which leads into cheanges of my tactical tasks/goals (which I present and report). This does most likely not change my strategical plans/tasks as they were created on another planning base/level. As I can’t do that I have to model my tactics so that I can get the most out of them to reach my strategic goal.

    It’s all a big ping-pong movement – always from the high level to the low level and vice versa as I need a constant change of my tactics to fit into the right strategical situation and react to my daily experiences to make my team work at the highest performance.

  2. mike says:

    Sounds like the same as I am saying but rather better articulated!

    I agree there are anaysis etc and also there are feedback loops over and between all the elements in the matrix.

    With the line, i think of things below the line just coming out as part of my reporting and so I dont need to monitor them, only exceptions. Exceptions below the line are bad and the individuals / team gets marked down for them. Things above the line are good and the team / individual gets credit for them. I focus very much on above the line activity and as you say this feeds into my people managment and people box.

    Again, I run backward and forward all the time over each of the 6 elements that I am focussing on, trying to get a reasonable balance accross them

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