How WOLA Manages a Small Team with Monograph

How Wright Ostermier Landscape Architects upgraded their operations from Excel spreadsheets to Monograph, in order to plan forward with real-data and prevent their employee from overworking.

Onboarded in just a few days
3 Team members on Monograph
Prevent employee overload with Resource

Wright Ostermier Landscape Architects (WOLA) is a New England-based landscape architecture and design firm, created in 2019 by Emily Wright and Kathryn Ostermier.

Emily Wright, Founder and Principal of WOLA
Emily Wright, Founder and Principal at WOLA
Kathryn Ostermier, Founder and Principal of WOLA
Kathryn Ostermier, Founder and Principal at WOLA

The two friends met during graduate school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After forging successful careers separately, Wright and Ostermier decided to re-join forces, establishing WOLA—now a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE)—with three team members and offices in both Boston and Northampton, MA. The firm is inspired by both the natural and built environment, emphasizing the interconnection of landscapes and the many ways that people live within them. 

From Excel to Monograph

After an uptick in projects led to the introduction of the firm's first full-time employee, WOLA began searching for the best way to maximize efficiency and better understand how each team member spent their time.

Allyson Fairweather, Designer at WOLA
Allyson Fairweather, Designer at WOLA

The team was originally only using Excel spreadsheets to manage their projects, which requires lots of manual data input to keep up to date. Using a project management software like Monograph allows them to input project and timesheet data only once to keep track of their projects.

Monograph also turns all the data that they input into reports so small firms like WOLA can gain insights into their financial growth for future planning.

“We realized that we couldn’t easily take the temperature of our business or project growth using just Quickbooks and Excel. We wanted a way to track our progress on projects, the foundational part of our business, so we could understand exactly how to plan for the months ahead.”
—Emily Wright, Principal, WOLA

Easy Onboarding with a User-Friendly Software 

After discovering Monograph online and testing the software for a few weeks, WOLA fully incorporated the program into its operations in May 2021.

Instructional videos provided by Monograph made WOLA’s transition straightforward, and the firm successfully integrated the software in just a few days.

“We really liked that the software was developed by designers. We loved how user-friendly it is, and we also really appreciated the aesthetic of the interface.”
—Emily Wright, Principal, WOLA

Monograph’s practice operations platform assisted the firm in streamlining operations while maximizing their daily workflow.

Amherst-Private College (Credit: Hills3 Studio)
Amherst-Private College (Credit: Hills3 Studio)

Future Plan with Real-Time Financial Data

Simultaneously enhancing management capabilities, the software has given the team more insight into the financial status of projects during all phases from ideation to construction. It provides data that allows them to stay flexible regarding any issues that might require a change of plans.

The firm also found alternative uses for Monograph in:

  • Striking the appropriate balance between billable and non-billable work
  • Directly connecting timesheets with project tracking
  • Planning for the company's future workload
"Monograph has made it easier for us to see at a glance what each person is working on, the financial viability of each project, and how busy we can expect to be in the future. These pieces of information allow us to adapt and adjust so that no one gets burned out and we can keep the business growing.”
—Emily Wright, Principal, WOLA

Prevent Employee Overload with Resource

The firm’s weekly strategic alignments have also been greatly enhanced through Monograph’s Resource tool, allowing for a more appropriate allocation of tasks.

“With one employee and two principals, it’s easy to overload our employee with our production work. Resource makes it very clear how work is going to be accomplished in a given week. It allows us to sit together, allocate time, and figure out how to get it all done.” 
—Emily Wright, Principal, WOLA
Amherst-Western Massachusetts Residence (Credit: Hills3 Studio)
Amherst-Western Massachusetts Residence (Credit: Hills3 Studio)

With a thoughtful approach to their work, WOLA required an application that would aid their small team in allocating work efficiently, optimizing workflow, and remaining financially stable while looking at the potential to expand to new office spaces in the future.

Monograph works to assist firms in all aspects of management, from tracking billable hours to realistically planning for expansion while maintaining ultimate awareness of each team member's utilization of time.

If you want to improve your practice operations, get started with Monograph today!

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