Firm Size Roundtable Wrap-Up

The Firm Size roundtables met at the AIA Virginia annual convention, Architecture Exchange East in November 2023. Here are the main themes that emerged from those discussions. I hope you will plan to join us at future roundtable discussions! Watch your inbox for an invitation.

The Small Firm Roundtable is chaired by Maggie Schubert, AIA
The Mid-Size Firm Roundtable is chaired by Andrew McKinley, AIA
The Large Firm Roundtable is chaired by Charles Piper, AIA

Small Firms Discussed:

  • Hiring + Retaining
  • Getting Work
  • Billing/getting paid for work
  • Software/technology (Job Tread, Harvest, Sage)
  • Outsourcing
  • *TIME* – Doer/Maker/Seller
  • Training – Personal Development
  • Work/Life Balance – how to deal with stressors
  • Master Spec
  • Ai – writing, Chat GPT/ Sort Pattern recognizing performance evaluation/ Resources marketing
  • Continual change/Scale up + Scale down
  • Flexibility
    • How to keep and get good talent
  • Firm Culture
    • How to keep and get good talent
  • Remote working – Trust needed to succeed (Set structure)
  • Open plan vs. focused work
  • Office – Client meetings and community connects

Mid-Size Firms Discussed:

When you think about being part of a “fun-sized” firm, what makes you smile?
What is the greatest innovation you’ve witnessed within your firm?
What is your (firm or individual) greatest challenge?
What question would you like to ask the group?
Read these responses

Large Firms Discussed:

Tailwinds –

  • Strong Backlog
    • Healthcare
    • Science/Tech
    • Higher Ed
    • Industrial
    • DOD
    • Aviation
    • K-12
  • Covid Funding/Public Funding
  • Technology
    • Efficiency
    • AI
  • Integration
    • Teams across offices
    • Disciplines
  • Efficiency, Meeting attendance
  • High Job Satisfaction
  • Project team structure/relationships

Headwinds –

  • Post-pandemic uncertainty/exhaustion
  • Political uncertainty
  • Un-even demand
  • Remote work QC/firm cohesiveness
    • Discouraged especially for young staff
  • Staff/consultant capacity to execute
  • HR/Training/Culture – stress of Growth
  • Design Quality suffering/Lack of professional development when teams aren’t together
  • Leadership development (for virtual work – lack of in-between/soft mentoring)
  • Lack of “windshield time” with staff and face-to-face time with clients
  • Being more “efficient” but less effective (due to remote work)
  • Need to clarify roles and expectations