Understanding and communicating how long a task will take is the most crucial skill a young architect can learn. Whether you are working as part of a bigger team on a large project or you are setting up on your own, your effectiveness and skill as an architect will be measured by your ability to accurately predict how long a task will take you to complete and then to deliver it.
No task should be viewed as an isolated event. When you set out to complete a piece of work, it is always contributing to a wider package of information. In conjunction with this, no one is right all of the time, so take responsibility for the quality of your work and if you find errors in the project, highlight them, don’t push over them in favour of hitting a deadline. This is an area in which architects add significant value to the construction industry. Conversely, any changes to a scheme will have implications on what you are doing, so make your client or your superiors aware when this happens. If work has to be re-done, or detailed to a level beyond what was originally agreed, that is going to affect your schedule and affect your deadline. You will either need more resources, more time, or both!
Constraints are the young architect’s best friend. In an academic setting, an architecture student’s understanding of the role of their own profession is distorted by the removal of nearly all constraints from their own work. In practice, few tasks are ever completed in isolation from external influences. In practice the limitations and opportunities to which you are beholden are always changing and it is your job, as architect, to adapt to these shifts in momentum. This is how good architects hit deadlines and get paid on time.
Moving from an academic setting to the workforce, young architects jump into an imperfect landscape peppered with arduous obstacles and constraints. Priorities and values are tested by parties with their own views as to how an architect should spend their time. You are now a member of a services-based profession. Your time is a commodity to be bought and sold like any other. Welcome to Architecture.