Do you have an easy way to determine the Deliverables you will need
to produce to complete a project?
Amazingly I didn’t until I was about twenty years into my career.
Here’s the concept. Create a spreadsheet like the one below that lists every drawing sheet that you are likely to need. At the start of a project and at every new phase, or more frequently, use the spreadsheet to plan and check on progress.
If you aren’t doing something similar, this must seem like busy work, unnecessary.
For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.
The other saying about planning that I have heard comes from Dale Carnegie: “Every minute you spend in planning saves ten minutes in execution.”
A savings of ten to one of investment seems like less of a stretch than 60 : 1; but the point is that you are going to work more effectively if you have a plan. That plan has two other uses besides the value of planning itself - fees, and assignments.
I find it helpful to use the Deliverables list like a checklist of what the proposed fee will need to cover. Invariably you find that you are overlooking a fairly significant amount of work. Besides helping you determine an appropriate fee, you may turn up questions about scope that you need to clarify. You might even consider some version of the Deliverables list as a part of your fee proposal.
Using the Deliverables list to make and document assignments is also an effective way to plan the actual work and document your decisions for the whole design team.
— Trello-PM takes this concept much farther when you are ready. —
Standardizing sheet naming and sheet contents helps newbies especially, but it saves everyone time by not having to recreate the Table of Drawing Sheets on every project. In turn, that saves time by not having to revise sheet contents. It even saves 'search time' years later because everyone knows where information is located.
This is my suggested Phase Deliverables spreadsheet showing my ideas on sheet naming/numbering conventions. You will definitely want to change this to suit your own preferences.
You can download a zip file containing XLS, PDF, CSV, and NUMBERS versions of this spreadsheet. You will find two other versions of the spreadsheet. An older version we used for years, and a newer NCS version that one of our clients insisted on.
NCS is the National CAD Standards. Its benefit is being a national standard. The disadvantage is that it isn't familiar or all that intuitive. (Maybe it is just me.) For more about NCS, here is a PDF of their Drawing Set Organization.
You will probably want your master numbering and sheet titles to be different. You might want to include more sheets or less in your master. We tried for a 'most likely' list of sheets, and we were comfortable with adding and deleting sheets for the project at hand.
Here are a few comments on our thinking and on how we used this spreadsheet.
I have no idea what other firms do to address the issue of what is included in the project Deliverables. If you have a good solution, add it to the comments below or email it to me. I can make an Addendum here to share with everyone.