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From "manual" mechanisms to "liberated project leads"
Weston Williamson + Partners are a RIBA award winning architectural and urban design practice, with 150 staff working across four offices in the UK, Canada and Australia. The firm has over 30 years of experience, specializing in infrastructure, urban regeneration and placemaking projects.
Their open and collaborative studio culture recognizes the voice of all of their staff. They also hold a monthly forum that allows their employees to share ideas about how to change the world for the better and move the practice forward.
"In the same way that the founders created a partnership and brought new partners into the fold, we wanted the software to bring everybody into the fold, being more transparent with performance and spread accountability." This was not something WW+P could achieve with their old system, one they'd had in place for around 15 years. "Our software did timesheet recording, and did it very well. But anything you wanted to know in terms of 'ok, where does that put me at the end of the project?' You had to do manually. It didn't have any mechanism for telling you what your outcomes are going to be."
As a result, the task of creating reports and managing the project information fell to Thomas (partner and design manager) and a small centralized team, running a series of spreadsheets. "It's fine, but what we actually wanted to do as we kept growing was not grow my team and keep the central control, but have more of a democracy and liberate project leads more to understand their own projects position and manage it themselves."
"If it's too complex for people to use, there's no point. Our final decision was primarily driven by our opinion that CMap would be more intuitive and user-friendly. We can roll it out to project leads and partners to review and manage project performance in real time, without them needing to have strong project management skills."
CMap's intuitive design and powerful tools mean that WW+P have given their project managers real ownership of the projects they're running. A simple change that's yielded impressive results. "There's a lot more ambition to kick on and create growth. A lot more energy and enthusiasm goes in when you change things like that."
So, would Thomas recommend CMap to his peers in the industry? "I'd rather have the competitive advantage, but yes!"