Customer story

How Woodhull streamlines collaboration after switching from BQE Core to Monograph

Learn how design-build firm Woodhull saved time and money by switching to an easy-to-use project management software designed exclusively for A/E firms.

95% time reduction to prepare scheduling reports for firm owners
53% faster process for generating client invoices every month
100% error reduction on retainer invoicing, avoiding client refunds
Firm profile

Woodhull is an integrated architecture, construction, and millwork firm delivering thoughtful and enduring residential and commercial projects throughout New England. Their holistic ethos and business model relies on transparency, communication, and collaboration to drive successful internal operations. Everything starts with the 80 active projects in Woodhull's 25-person design studio, which switched from BQE Core to Monograph to improve speed and accuracy across the entire business.

Portland, ME
25 architecture, 75 total
Architecture, construction, and millwork

Problems adapting to changes quickly

Woodhull faced a common challenge in the architecture and engineering industry: changing projects and timelines.

This posed a unique issue for their integrated design-build firm, where design shifts have a compounding effect on the architecture, construction, and millwork divisions.

Previously using BQE Core, Woodhull struggled with the system's complexity. Project managers innately understood their own project schedules, but this wasn't reflected in the data because it was too cumbersome to update.

As a result, the firm owners couldn't rely on the platform to get the accurate insight needed to make smart business decisions. This added 4-6 extra admin hours every week to maintain a manual spreadsheet that tracked project schedules and team availability.

“Project managers knew their own projects inside out, but their schedules weren’t consistently maintained in BQE Core, so the bird's-eye view of all projects was completely wrong. And not only wrong, but extremely misleading in a dangerous way because it could make you feel that you need to hire or need to consider layoffs. The facts in the system weren't real. That got super scary. That's why it wasn't hard to sell the firm on shifting to Monograph, because once I showed them the general concept, they realized that this would be much easier.”

- Teresa Telander, Director of Residential Operations at Woodhull

Photography: Trent Bell. As an integrated architecture-construction-millwork company, it's clear to Woodhull that it can't be successful in delivering exceptional design if it operates as silos.

Inefficiency hits clients, staff, and revenue

Clients come to Woodhull because they offer design and build services, which results in faster and more accurate delivery of exceptional design.

Inefficiencies can set back calendar time and construction revenue, overburden staff, and accelerate client fatigue.

Instead of dealing with slipping timelines and guesswork, Monograph helps Woodhull easily track, forecast and share what the design schedules are going to be across the business.

Now it's much easier for Woodhull to see all the moving parts in Monograph.

Project managers can easily keep project details updated and manage their team member's workloads, firm leaders can staff new projects months ahead, and owners can set realistic expectations with new clients based on the current backlog.

“The journey of designing and building a home can be really stressful for clients - in particular couples. Our working relationship with them is long, anywhere from 24-48 months. It is our job to make this journey as painless as possible, and a critical component to this is having reliable internal systems. Compared to BQE Core, Monograph makes it easy for our firm owners and project managers to see all the moving parts so that we can deliver projects with more efficiency and accuracy.”

- Teresa Telander, Director of Residential Operations at Woodhull

Before Monograph, Woodhull was stuck in a negative flywheel where inefficiencies in BQE Core caused inaccurate data as projects changed, which further compounded inefficiencies across the business.

Creating accountability for financial results

Before Monograph, invoicing at Woodhull was a long back-and-forth saga between accounting and project managers across 50-80 invoices every month. Woodhull needed a new system that was more transparent and easier for everyone, and empowered project managers to fully own their projects.

Now, project managers in the design studio take just 10-15 minutes in Monograph to draft an invoice each month before sending it to accounting. This enables them to take full ownership of their projects' financial health since they're directly driving the process.

Monograph also enables the leadership team to see all project data at a glance. They now provide the final approval on invoices where they didn't before. Owners are able to hold project managers accountable for on-track billings, while addressing client issues proactively.

After just four months, invoices now reach clients 53% faster. Using Monograph's retainer reminders, the firm reduced 100% of retainer invoicing errors compared to previous trends where 50% of retainers were not applied, avoiding embarrassing client refunds. In addition, clients now provide Woodhull positive feedback about receiving transparent payment confirmations from Monograph.

“Switching to project managers generating their own project invoices has put them fully in the driver’s seat. It used to be back-and-forth with the accounting team for every single one of our 50-80 projects every month. But now the architects are generating their own invoices. They are truly owning the financial health of their project. Now, invoicing is not just a financial exercise. It is project management.”

- Teresa Telander, Director of Residential Operations at Woodhull

Photography: Trent Bell. To ensure transparency, communication, and collaboration across their business, Woodhull identified that they needed a management software that was easy to maintain. They found that with Monograph.

Smarter collaboration across the business

Woodhull cannot be successful if it operates as siloed divisions.

The switch to Monograph from BQE Core has increased overall visibility, reduced ownership team stress and saved Woodhull from countless headaches. Architects are visual professionals, and Monograph makes their business more visual. Now firm leaders are more fluent in speaking about backlog and availability, and they can provide visibility across the business to non-Monograph users through the Shareable Gantt.

The finance team feels more confident and has more clarity in their bookkeeping. Previously with BQE Core, they were dealing with long page loading times and poor customer support. It was easy to make mistakes, hard to catch them, and even harder to correct them. Now, the team feels better about the workflow, the data, and their ability to predict.

Monograph has fostered more collaboration in the studio. Before, the managers didn’t really know they were overloading their team members until it was too late. Now, everyone collaborates more. The managers meet weekly to ensure they are assigning work to the team appropriately. The broader positive outcome is that everyone is talking more and breaking down silos, which is a top priority for Woodhull.

And as Director of Operations, Teresa can now tackle larger operational challenges, beyond the management of studio staffing, thanks to no longer needing to maintain that very cumbersome and manual 'pre-Monograph spreadsheet'.

“We really appreciate how Monograph regularly asks for our feedback. Our suggestions for improvement are heard, considered and often implemented. Many other companies are much more rigid in their appetite for change. I was recently involved in the improvements to Monthly Staffing. The Studio Director and I love this view. It helps us see gaps and overburdens at a glance. It also helps us see when we can feasibly take on more work. And our managers still like the Weekly Staffing tab. They can drill down into what they and their teams are doing this week and next.”

- Teresa Telander, Director of Residential Operations at Woodhull

After Monograph, Woodhull created a positive flywheel where efficient systems compound greater accuracy and efficiency, which leads to more productive project progress and better response to evolving client needs.

If you would like to try an easier software built exclusively for A/E firms that fosters more collaboration in the studio, get started with Monograph today.

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