Director of Operations
Team Leader - Architecture
Rossmann Architecture Inc. (RAI) is a commercial and residential design firm based in St-Joseph, Gatineau, Quebec. Founded by husband and wife—Erik and Sara Rossmann—in 2012, this family-owned firm has quickly grown over the past few years to a team of over 30 staff members and plans to reach 40 within the next two years. Rossmann Architecture provides expertise in all areas of interior design and architectural services, including studies, surveys, and construction management.
St-Joseph, Gatineau, Quebec
Rossmann Architecture Inc. is a commercial and residential design firm with various projects across the Ottawa-Gatineau region in Quebec. Founded by Erik and Sara Rossmann in 2012, this family-owned firm has quickly grown over the past few years to a team of over 30 staff members and plans to reach 40 within the next two years.
Consisting of young professionals and seasoned experts, the company brings forward a corporate culture that produces innovative and clever architectural projects rooted in its Canadian reality. Rossmann Architecture provides expertise in all areas of interior design and architectural services, including studies, surveys, and construction management.
After a few years, the firm took on additional employees as work started piling up. The Rossmann’s began discussing how the company would cope with growth and change.
It became clear that in order to upsize and expand the company, they needed to streamline operations and button-up efficiencies to make sure its skilled talent could focus on architecture by having the right technology stack.
When it came to project management specifically, they previously employed a traditional method of jotting down deadlines and tasks on paper and attempting to recall them throughout the workweek.
The team turned to the cloud-based platform Monday.com to help increase operational efficiency and workflows. However, they quickly found that this general work management software failed to meet the needs of their architectural design firm, including:
Before the pandemic, the team consisted of only 14 staff members, which made managing personnel much easier. But as Rossmann Architecture skyrocketed to over 30 team members, the firm was at a disadvantage without having a platform to assist with project and operations management.
In 2020, the Rossmann team decided to restructure the company to ensure they could scale in an effective, efficient, and profitable manner. In search of a project management solution tailored specifically to the architectural profession, Shane Balcom, Managing Director of Rossmann Architecture, discovered Monograph based on positive word of mouth.
“We really like that the people behind Monograph have an architectural background. They developed a software that answers all our needs. Everytime we talk about something specific in architecture, they know exactly what we’re talking about and build software that helps us.”
Amid the pandemic, the Rossmann Architecture team inquired about the project management solutions via videoconferencing calls with the Monograph’s team, who answered all of their questions. Compared to other platforms, Monograph was attractive to them because it’s project based so you can easily see the timeline and team members associated with that project filling the needs of the AEC community.
If you want to learn more about how Shane is restructuring the operations of Rossmann Architecture, check out our Best Practice webinar below.
Prior to the pandemic, the team reinvented how they approached their business model and needed a project management tool that would support their current team growth at a rate of at least one new employee per month. Following a series of discussions about the project-based software solutions, Rossmann Architecture started rolling out Monograph in October 2020. In just 2 months by December, the entire staff had incorporated the management software into their work.
Part of Rossmann's realignment was creating a Director of Operations position whose sole job is to streamline operations, manage the office, and provide back-office support to architects. These efforts have allowed the firm to scale much faster than it could in the past.
Another component of the firm's reconfiguration was to offer clients a personalized and customized approach, so Rossmann Architecture organized smaller work teams known as “pods.”
With the addition of Monograph to the company’s daily workflow, the design team has gained a greater macro perspective toward its project portfolio and client roster. Monograph collects and organizes valuable data and presents an overview of their firm projects and financial status on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. This gives the firm the added advantage of anticipating adequate-sized pods for specific projects and appropriately delegating resources for significant milestones.
“Monograph gives you a broader view on everything from deadlines, resources, to hours worked and to be worked. We can see if we have enough staff to handle incoming projects. That helped us make decisions based on fact instead of emotion and stress.”
Monograph delivers data that helps users make fact-based decisions and work more efficiently. The firm’s leaders utilize Monograph, in conjunction with Salesforce, to forecast as much as 5-6 months in advance, which allows the firm to see any potential revenue dropoff.
If they know a month might be a little soft — rather than experiencing the stress of missed targets or idle hands — they can schedule holiday time, team building activities, general training, and more. Individual staff members became more accountable for their personal deadlines and managed discussions relating to stress amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“Some of our favorite features in Monograph are the ability to see forecasting and pull reports from project milestones. We’re also able to see if we’re over budget or under budget when people enter their timesheet.”
Monograph allows the firm to make decisions based on real-time statistics and facts, regardless of the project's status. Principal architects responsible for multiple projects, whether active or inactive, must be up-to-date on all the details for fiscal decisions.
With Monograph in play, Rossmann can hold weekly forecast reviews with all the head architects and has found they are within 1 to 2 percent accuracy every month. It has allowed the firm to build a bonus structure around forecast reviews, add to company culture, and show efficiencies gained, which helps the firm ultimately make more money.
This data-first decision-making process has turned into a snowball effect in relation to the growth of the company. Monograph provides the answer through numbers, making Rossmann more efficient and profitable, allowing more hires.
“We use the data inside Monograph to make important decisions on how to manage our project and our staff, which is making us more efficient, more profitable and in turn hire more people.”
For day-to-day activities Monograph has allowed the architects at Rossmann more time to build and innovate. Their 2-to-3 hour weekly firmwide meetings have been eliminated with the use of Monograph. The pods now have shorter 30-minute meetings to connect before a week of work. Ultimately, the restructuring has allowed Rossmann Architects to triple its revenue in the last nine months without doubling its spending.
“Looking ahead with Monograph, we’re able to capture a lot of data that we haven’t been able to before. That will inform all future decisions that will help us grow in the future.”