ITZEN Architects Inc. is a full-service architecture design firm rooted in the heart of downtown Santa Ana, California. They are focused on creative collaboration throughout each stage of a project and believe their client's architecture should be thoughtful, exciting, forward thinking, and FUN.
The structure and size of our firm allow each of us to really have our hands in every single aspect of a project. However, even smaller teams can benefit from a streamlined workflow and clear communication between each other.
While we came across several content-rich online tools, we found they were overly complicated to use or maintain. Jana and I, from our standpoint as the owners, really questioned how to raise up our team, without inundating them with project management overload.
Not to mention, we’re always questioning ourselves to see if we are expending too much effort––it’s not like drilling into the details is bad, but is it taking away from our primary goals?
When it comes to scheduling or understanding our phases and contracts and how things are being managed and even what tasks or deadlines are at hand, we were always coming back to: how can we simplify this and communicate clearly amongst ourselves?
After my exhaustive online research for project management software, I was attracted to Monograph’s approach. CEO and Co-Founder Robert Yuen had numerous phone and video calls with us that really got us intrigued because he was so personable and hands-on in investigating our needs.
It really came down to that aspect in our decision-making process—finding someone who cared enough to not just answer our questions, but also ask us questions in order to build a better, more beneficial relationship.
After understanding their approach, it made sense for us to just dive right in.
When I talk about the need for simplicity, it was one of the obvious things that came to light as soon as we started working with Monograph—you could easily recognize the visual simplicity and the care that was going into that.
For me, there has always been a constant battle between what my brain can remember and what I really don't want to have to remember. One of the great things about Monograph is that the important items I don’t always want to retain in my brain don’t have to be there, because they can easily live in Monograph’s platform.
I also love the simple project schedule and their version of the Gantt chart, as we were always struggling to stay on top of that before. We now have access to a quick visual within seconds, so that I know exactly where we’re at with any given project at any given time.
If you ask me what stage all of our projects are in, I could probably recite it to you from memory, but Monograph is a much better tool to use in order to communicate these things––I just love having a dashboard of data on our projects. It’s also great to understand how our fees are leveling with the time spent, and how that relates to where we’re at on a project.
Needless to say, Monograph has really helped us. Sure, everyone realistically hates timesheets—but it helps the team as a whole to know where to put their time in, so that they can each keep track of their work.
It’s really a step above a simple spreadsheet, as Monograph harnesses the data to then give you some straightforward intelligence about a project.
Photo Credit: Daniel Han