Providing digital solutions to basically “simplify” the work of architects, Monograph is a management software company that helps professionals of the AEC industry (architecture, engineering, and construction) oversee their projects in an integrated and user-friendly way. Founded and designed “by architects, for architects”, the San Francisco practice operations platform is an evolving building digital toolkit for projects of all scales.
Created by architects, who had previously faced the challenges and limitations of the field, Monograph is a solution tailored to the needs of architectural businesses. Named one of last year’s ArchDaily’s Best Young Practices, it is a clear example of how architects can expand the reach of their activity. In fact, the technology company was founded in 2019 by Robert Yuen, Alex Dixon, and Moe Amaya, three architectural designers who took the leap and ventured into the digital realm. This week, Monograph has introduced its new official web address, Monograph.com.
Changing the rules of the game, Monograph has helped so far architectural firms around the globe manage over $335 million in projects. Actually, the platform establishes a simple and synced workflow in order to optimize productivity and efficiency and minimize losses. By eliminating ineffective tools and integrating components “intuitively designed for AEC professionals to oversee projects, timesheets, and forecasts in one simple and integrated interface to inform decisions about their business and projects in real-time”, Monograph has abolished the idea that project management is a separate activity. Becoming part of the architect’s everyday errands, the cloud-based system empowers employees and generates cohesive progress.
Monograph’s evolving features reflect the profession’s specificities as every component is inspired by the founders’ experiences within the field and what they discovered was missing from the architect’s toolkit.
Not a task manager, but a project manager, the software can be accessed daily or weekly, to enter the required data. A sort of overview on “where we are with the project”, the dashboard presents a timeline with how much work has been done and how much money has been spent so far. It also highlights tasks, chores divided by project as well as forecasts. The relatively simple interface allows the user to start a new project according to one of two criteria: either by phase or by budget. Once established, the second phase assigns roles or people to tasks with the estimated time needed. By creating a task, the user sets also milestones.
Several new features were launched in the past year, including an alternative to the “Monday morning meeting”, a schedule that distributes the work per week, or plans the week across several team members, in a digital way, with estimated hours to put in order to stay on budget. Basically “Resource” is a project planner ensuring that professionals keep pace when it comes to an ongoing project. This new set of tools is expected to minimize the amount of time it takes to plan for the week by up to 50 percent, allowing “project teams to get an overall view of the week’s work, as well as manipulate units of time in a bottom-up fashion so they can understand the impact of that decision in real-time on the allocated budget, in terms of being on-track, over, or under”.
Based on our research, we estimate that between $37,500 and $165,000 or more of billable time is spent annually on these Monday morning meetings among firms with five or more employees. Through Resource, we’re giving firms the ability to ditch the spreadsheets and instead leverage a digital tool that simplifies, streamlines, and optimizes these weekly planning meetings. -- Robert Yuen, CEO of Monograph.
With the pandemic being a catalyst for more growth, and for AEC professionals’ growing need and dependency on technology, Monograph has announced on June 2nd a $7.4 million Series A round of funding led by Index Ventures with continued participation from existing investors Homebrew, Parade Ventures, Designer Fund, and several angel investors. Bringing Monograph’s total funding to $9.3 million, the investment will help the company expand its engineering and design teams to continue delivering valuable tools that advance the architect’s toolkit and support connected workflows. Paving an influential future for the design industry’s leading practice operations platform, this venture highlights the high demand for software built specifically for AEC needs.
Design professionals are underserved by existing technology solutions. The architecture industry is broken and Monograph is strategically positioned to help fix it. We’re disrupting the status quo by ridding firms of ineffective spreadsheets and tools that treat cost, resource, and project management as siloed activities. Our platform is a modern-day solution that syncs a firm’s range of projects and responsibilities holistically so that AEC professionals can provide a great client experience, and most importantly make a profit. -- Robert Yuen, co-founder, and CEO of Monograph.
Read on for some statements on how Monograph managed to help firms.
Monograph has helped us get a clearer picture of how our firm’s projects are performing and where our team is allocated. The team forecasting feature has helped us make staffing decisions, while the overview page for each project gives us a good snapshot as we pursue prospective projects. -- Kris Bradner, principal at Traverse Landscape Architects.
The time it would take us to staff our projects was cut in half, if not more, by Monograph––increasing our productivity by 200 percent. The Resource feature alone has allowed us to schedule all projects and staff on Fridays. Everyone knows the projects they’ll be working on for the week through a couple of one-hour meetings. Before, we’d spend four to eight hours over the weekend comparing the previous week’s calendars, emails, and timesheets. We can now ensure a greater work-life balance through Monograph. -- Thomas B. Merritt, director of design at Verdant Studio.
Robert Yuen, Assoc. AIA, is the CEO and Co-Founder of Monograph, a software company revolutionizing the future in how architectural projects are managed. Having worked as an architectural designer in his hometown Chicago and ultimately setting his roots down in San Francisco, Yuen discovered his passion for designing software solutions for the AEC industry. A serial entrepreneur, a trained architect, and zealously productive, Yuen is an active member and avid public speaker within the architecture, design, and engineering industries. His experience in working with some of the industry’s most renowned firms and designers, including SOM, Holabird & Root, and BluHomes, led him to discover a void for a simple cloud-based project management application that was tailored to the industry. As such, Yuen co-founded Monograph alongside his co-founders Alex Dixon and Moe Amaya, to help architects and engineers oversee projects in an integrated, user-friendly, and ever-evolving interface. He graduated with a Masters in Architecture and a Masters in Science in Digital Technologies from the University of Michigan.
This feature is part of ArchDaily's series where we share a general overview of a firm or an architect's career and present some of their iconic projects. Every month, we explore new names, highlighting their story and their architectural expression. As always, at ArchDaily, we highly appreciate the input of our readers. If you think we should feature a certain unfamiliar studio, firm, or architect, please submit your suggestions.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Collective Design. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.