Find out where Rena is speaking next and link to on-line educational offerings.
Current Events & Publications
Helping you run your design firm better. Problem-solving assistance, management coaching and organizational development. Help for start-ups and solo-practitioners.
Relevant, practical and participatory education for design professionals. Workshops and seminars on design firm practice and small firm management. All are eligible for AIA learning units.
Retreat Facilitation Services
Retreats can be effective and engaging. Open Space Technology method is used to maximize participation and results for design firms, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations.
Over twenty years experience in residential design and construction. Services offered include: residential design consultation; expert witness services; code consulting and compliance inspection.
Recent blog posts
- Eco-Home Magazine Winter 2013: When Design-Bid-Build Doesn't Cut It
- AIA New York eOcculus: The New Normal
- The Principal's Dilemma
- Provide Self-Aware Leadership
- Thriving in the New Norm: Strategies for Post-Recession Success
- How Wide Is your Triangle? Business Models for Design Firms
- AIA Trends: A Small Firm Management Expert Introduces" The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice"
- Do the Work Quicker and Faster
- Interview in AIArchitect
- The Architect's Guide to Small Firm Management
Practice Management BootCamp: Strategies for Success Salem, Oregon, Wednesday Dec. 11, 2013, 9:30AM – 4:30PM
Opportunities have opened for those small firm owners who embrace change. In this highly interactive workshop, participants will learn tools for firm management and development in the 21st Century. Case studies of emerging practice models that have successfully adapted to new economic and technological realities will also be presented.
Registration: Contact Katie Costic at 503-581-4114
Are you working more than 50 hours a week?
Are you doing more projects and not making more money?
Are you rebuilding after recession downsizing?
I can help!
“Rena met with me for a brief consultation to coach me in the management of my small architecture firm. After a quick review of my firm’s business history, financial summary, website, blog, publications, and a recent proposal sample, she was able to give me some valuable feedback. She was insightful and encouraging. She offered some constructive criticism which I took to heart. Two weeks later, three, yes three, new clients hired me! Thanks, Rena for your useful and kind intervention! It helped me immensely.” – Laura Kraft, AIA, Owner, Principal at Laura Kraft Architect
Need help running your firm better? CONTACT RENA
The Architect’s Guide to Small Firm Management
by Rena M. Klein, FAIA, published by John Wiley & Sons, 2010
“One of the finest practice books I have encountered. It contains some great information for an aspiring startup architect like me.”
“An outstanding book because it is very complete in addressing all aspects of a firm, especially those topics that no one wants to touch upon, all well organized in a concise book. I’m encouraging all our Principals and Partners to read your book.”
Owning and operating a small architectural design firm can be challenging, with tight project deadlines, on-the-fly meetings, rush proposals, and fluctuating workloads as part of the day-to-day. To help small firm owners cope with the chaos and prepare for the unexpected, here is The Architect’s Guide to Small Firm Management, a no-nonsense guide to repurposing daily demands into workable, goal-directed solutions.
Crucial topics such as self-aware leadership, people management, technology, financial health, scenario planning, sustainable practice, and future trends are examined using real life case studies and business model paradigms. This definitive text explores the whole system experience of a small firm practice to deliver organizational strategies proven to keep a firm’s creative mission on a steady, productive path.
Have you ever designed a near perfect high performance home just to have it diminished by poor workmanship? How about a home whose price comes in twice as high as expected when it goes out to bid? Have you ever been caught in the morass of adversarial finger-pointing with a builder when things just don’t go right? These all-too-common experiences are the inevitable result of the traditional design-bid-build (DBB) project delivery method. read more
Thought leader and lifelong contributor to the business interests and intersections of architects and their practices, Rena M. Klein, FAIA, gave a talk called “Small Firm Practice in the New Normal: Learning from Chaos Theory” on 05.06.13.
Are you the founder of a small design firm that has been in business for ten-twelve years? If so, you are at a moment of decision, a turning point. This moment in your firm’s life cycle would be the same in any economy, but it is especially critical during a recovery.
In the January 2013 edition of the CRAN Chronicle, I covered the importance of setting up systems and processes for routine work. In this article, I am switching gears from operations to leadership and the subject of job satisfaction, one of the critical elements in determining the success of a small firm.
Is your firm among the many that have been seriously hurt by the Great Recession? If your firm is half the size as it was in 2008, you are not alone. According to the AIA’s The Business of Architecture: 2012 Firm Survey Report, firms that managed to survive the recession have, for the most part, gotten smaller. There is no doubt that times have been tough, and Table 1 shows just how bad it has been.
What kind of firm you have probably depends on what comes naturally. Your capabilities, your interests and your habits all together have a way of attracting certain kinds of work and certain ways of doing business. Chances are, whether you know it or not, you are already operating within one of the common business models for professional service firms.
So, if it’s already happening without you knowing, why should you care?
by Rena M. Klein FAIA
published in the AIA Custom Residential Architects Network, CRAN Chronical, Feb. 2013
Architectural practice can be described as an endless and simultaneous cycle of “get the work, do the work, get the work, do the work, etc.” However, managing the processes of how these tasks are accomplished is also a significant part of the effort, even for a solo-practitioner. This requires tracking of financial results to be sure, but it also includes awareness of work process effectiveness, staff (and personal) satisfaction, and the ongoing need to learn in order to stay relevant in the marketplace.
SMALL PROJECT PRACTITIONERS
A Q&A with Rena Klein, FAIA: Small Firms Between Recession and Recovery
Strategic planning and the collaborative pooling of design resources are the keys to repositioning small firms and sole practitioners
By Sara Fernandez Cendon