Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Practice Management Issues Will Be Explored in a New Group of Executive Programs from Harvard Graduate School of Design

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Architects, project managers, engineers, and building industry professionals will benefit from a new group of executive education programs from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

This summer, among the more than 40 executive education programs offered by Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), a group of nine will focus on practice management and development strategies for principals, designers, business managers, and project managers in architecture, landscape architecture, planning, engineering, and construction firms.

Financial, marketing, project management, negotiation, and strategic planning issues will all be addressed in this new group of programs that will enable participants to develop new skills to build and sustain more successful organizations.

The programs offered include:

  • Effective Strategic Planning: Inventing Your Future, Fully Implementing Your Plan, July 10-11, Instructor: William C. Ronco, Ph.D., Gathering Pace Consulting, Bedford, MA
  • Increasing Merger and Acquisition Success: From Doing the Deal to High-Performing One-Firm Firm, July 12-13, Instructor: William C. Ronco, Ph.D., Gathering Pace Consulting, Bedford, MA
  • Financial Management for Design Firms, July 13-14, Instructor: Lowell V. Getz, CPA, Houston, TX
  • Negotiation Skills, July 13-14, Instructor: John Richardson, Triad Consulting, Cambridge, MA
  • Small Design Business Marketing and Management Workshop, July 19, Instructor: Michael McCloskey, Michael McCloskey Design Group, Marblehead, MA, and St. Jane's Development Corp., San Juan,
  • Project Budgeting, Concept Estimating, and Life-Cycle Costing for Economic Sustainability, July 20-21, Instructor: Stephen J. Kirk, Ph.D., Kirk Associates, Grosse Pointe Park, MI.
  • Financial Savvy for Project Managers, July 31-August 1, Instructor: J Gregory Carmichael, Desero Corporation, Windham, NH.
  • Beyond Project Management: Creating a Positive Business Climate, August 2-3, Instructor: David J. Cirillo, Ph.D., Cirillo Consulting, Boston, MA
  • Contract Fundamentals for Project Managers, August 7, Instructor: John Philip Bachner, Bachner Communications, Inc., Washington, DC

Effective Strategic Planning: Inventing Your Future, Fully Implementing Your Plan

Effective strategic planning provides strong potential for every organization in the building industry: architecture, engineering, construction, real estate, and facilities organizations. It helps organizations not just survive but thrive, manage change, and raise the bar for performance, productivity, and profitability. This comprehensive two-day program enables participants to achieve the full potential that strategic planning offers. Participants leave with a detailed plan outline for their own organization, learning not only the skills to complete core planning tasks but the theory to link those tasks into a complete whole.

Increasing Merger and Acquisition Success: From Doing the Deal to High-Performing One-Firm Firm

For architecture and engineering firms, a thoughtful merger or acquisition can add valuable competencies, broaden market reach, and make the firm a contender for larger and more interesting projects. This intense, pragmatic program provides participants with a full understanding and appreciation of the challenges mergers and acquisitions face: legal, financial, and firm culture issues; the differences between mergers and acquisitions; what the numbers reveal and what they can conceal; why firms that are most appealing on paper often have the most difficult cultures. It also examines ways to develop a timeline and task list from planning through selection through partnering and full assimilation and how to address differences in office culture and values.

Financial Management for Design Firms

Firms that combine professional excellence with sound financial management are the most successful. However, the emphasis on design aspects of the firm's operations frequently overshadows the time devoted to business practices, which can lead to weak financial controls. This program focuses on understanding financial reports and on learning to recognize the early warning signs of financial problems in time to take corrective action. Now in its 22nd year at Harvard, this program is intended for principals in firms of all sizes as well as for business and financial managers new to the design professions.

Negotiation Skills

This two-day negotiation program, based on ideas developed by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard, explores the ways that people create value and resolve disputes through negotiation. It examines several core themes in negotiation including trust and relationship building, the tension between competition and cooperation, the challenge of expanding the pie, and how to handle difficult tactics effectively. Throughout the program participants will have numerous opportunities to practice negotiating, both individually and in small groups.

Small Design Business Marketing and Management Workshop

Eighty percent of all design done in America is small-business based, yet most marketing and management courses are geared toward corporate design firms. In this program participants will learn how to chart a more direct course to their real goals, work more efficiently, and have more fun doing it. Discussions include branding, strategic planning, marketing, and management. The program is in the style of a workshop and participants are encouraged to bring their marketing materials for class review.

Project Budgeting, Concept Estimating, and Life-Cycle Costing for Economic Sustainability

The cost of a project is one of the most significant factors in its becoming a reality. This two-day program provides a basis for the many areas of cost management that the design and construction professional may face. Intended for project managers, architects, engineers, construction managers, and sustainability specialists, the program offers hands-on examples that will familiarize participants with different types of estimates and their components. With this basis, through research, study, and practical application, they can further expand their cost management/estimating skills relative to their own discipline or management position. Other methods of cost control, such as value management, will also be discussed.

Financial Savvy for Project Managers

This two-day program is designed to provide project management professionals with the working knowledge necessary to estimate resources, justify decisions, and monitor performance using widely applied and accepted financial measures and tools such as cost-benefit analysis, project estimation, and earned-value analysis.

Beyond Project Management: Creating a Positive Business Climate

This two-day program consists of two interrelated parts:

Part One-Organizational Alignment: A Winning Strategy for Motivating Employees, Retaining Customers, and Growing Revenue Business. Owners, managers, and employees interested in examining research-based drivers of employee satisfaction and customer loyalty and how to diagnose and fix problem areas will find this program useful. Discussions and class exercises will be included as will a demonstration of cutting-edge e-survey tools that collect, analyze, and act on critical alignment data to build winning strategies and lead to engaged employees, deeper customer loyalty, and revenue growth.

Part Two-Organizational Power and Influence to Achieve Project Success. In the context of modern project management, power-its use and its potential for producing outstanding achievements-is examined here. Specifically, those responsible for running projects and higher-level managers will gain an understanding of how to use power and influence more effectively to achieve desired project outcomes

Contract Fundamentals for Project Managers

This program focuses on basic contract issues project managers need to understand in order to proceed wisely, lowering their own and their firm's exposure to claims and losses. These issues include the relationship between project size and project risk, the impact of project size on contracting procedures, oral versus written agreements, moving forward prior to the signing of the contract, personal liability, using the contract as the project manual, and the reasonable professional rule. The program also covers subcontractor management and proven techniques project managers can apply to derive greater value and client satisfaction while reducing risk.

All of Harvard GSD’s executive education programs are registered with the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Continuing Education System and earn AIA/CES units. Complete program and registration information can be found at

About the Office of Executive Education at Harvard University Graduate School of Design

The Office of Executive Education at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) is the foremost provider of Executive Education programs for architects, planners, and real estate and building industry professionals. Executive Education offers an extensive menu of open enrollment programs that explore timely design issues and trends; admissions programs that cover topics in real estate; and customized programs that are tailored to an organization’s or firm’s specific needs. Drawing upon the unparalleled resources of Harvard University, Executive Education programs are led by renowned faculty from the GSD, the Business School, the Law School, and the Kennedy School of Government, as well as eminent practitioners and scholars from across the country and around the world. For more information, visit


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