Client Feedback Tool
  • Project Delivery – SHAZAM!

    Posted on September 15th, 2011 No comments

    Shazam! An exclamation we’ve all heard – but most of us (myself included until today) probably don’t know the origin. In 1973 Marvel Comics created a character who, upon shouting this word, became Captain America. Shazam has many meanings, one of which is this:

     S   The wisdom of Solomon
     H   The strength of Hercules
     A   The stamina of Atlas
     Z   The power of Zeus
     A   The courage of Achilles
     M   The speed of Mercury

    Now what does Shazam! have to do with project delivery?  Well, who wouldn’t want a little Shazam! in their projects?  Wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage, and speed – what if we could purposefully and systematically introduce a little of these on every project we touched?

    Don’t go into your next project scheduling meeting and shout Shazam! while wearing a cape (though if you do, please let me know how it goes).  Instead, learn what some thought leaders in the A/E/C industry have been doing to bring about real, meaningful, and valuable change to entrenched project delivery methods – with results that have Shazam! impacts for everyone involved.

    In 2003 DesignFacilitator grew out of a small A/I firm looking for ways to do things better.  We developed a body of knowledge using client feedback to help project delivery firms continuously improve.  As we encountered more and more organizations who were looking for ways to do things better, with better results, and with better value for both clients and themselves, we began to find other thought leaders doing different, but equally amazing things.

    One group leading the charge with a big dose of Shazam! is the Lean Construction Institute.  Don’t let the name fool you – they spend as much focus on the design and engineering processes as they do construction.   The lean movement takes the many lessons learned in manufacturing (as pioneered by Toyota) and other industries, and applies them to every day projects.  This amazingly innovative and yet necessarily practical group of people continue to discuss, promote, and operate design and construction processes that cut costs and schedule by huge margins, while increasing product quality and consistency.  And they do all this with a keen focus on maximizing value to the clients.

    For the last year, DesignFacilitator has sponsored LCI and been actively involved in both their national Congress and many regional events.  If you are not yet aware of Lean Construction, or the ideas behind Continuous Improvement – I invite you to join us October 3-7th in Pasadena, CA at the 2011 LCI National Congress.   An introductory day outlines the key concepts of Lean, followed by two days of real-world case studies from architects, engineers,  contractors, and owners; followed by a fourth day of specialized break-out sessions.

    DesignFacilitator and LCI co-sponsor Newforma will be hosting a 3-hour breakout session on Friday, October 7th to discuss real-world software tools that are helping firms around the world bring a little Shazam! to their projects.  You’ll hear from actual users and be able to participate in brainstorming sessions to help define a “state of the industry” approach for innovative project delivery.  We will demonstrate our Client Feedback Tool and how the process of Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) helps everyone in your organization constantly adjust to meet client expectations.  Newforma will demonstrate their Project Center and highlight the value opportunities found in Project Information Management (PIM).

    If you are able to join us, please register here – admission is free to Congress attendees (register separately for the Congress here).

    Those who can’t make the trip can’t afford to miss this required reading, and learn how a little Shazam! can change your project delivery for the better.

  • Mike Phillips presents at Axium User Conference on Friday, October 23rd

    Posted on October 22nd, 2009 Matt No comments

    Axium User Conference

    DesignFacilitator’s Mike Phillips will be presenting seminars on Client Feedback on Friday, October 23 at 10:15am and 1:15pm Axium’s User Conference in Portland, Oregon.  Phillips will detail the simple strategies to improve the understanding between designers and their clients using client feedback.

    The 2009 Axium User Conference highlights A/E best practices and software solutions that empower design firms’ success. The conference is held October 22-24 and is for anyone involved with the architectural and engineering industry.

    For more information please visit

  • Mike Phillips presenting at Buildex Seattle on Oct.15

    Posted on October 13th, 2009 Matt 1 comment


    DesignFacilitator’s Mike Phillips will be presenting an educational session on Thursday, October 15 at 1:00pm entitled “Using Client Feedback to Improve Your Firm’s Prosperity,” at Buildex Seattle.  This case study will detail the simple strategies found to improve the understanding between designers and their clients.

    Buildex Seattle, held this year on October 14th & 15th, offers over 30 educational seminars and 150 products and materials exhibits for Interior Design, Property Management and Construction.

  • Best Firm to Work for Summit is next week!

    Posted on September 18th, 2009 Matt No comments

    The Best Firm to Work for Summit is coming up next week (September 22-23) in Chicago.  

    DesignFacilitator is proud to be sponsoring this event and to annouce that Mike Phillips will be presenting  a session on Tuesday at 11:15 am entitled “How to Use a Client Feedback System to Improve Your Firm’s Prosperity.”  He should know, his firm, Phillips Architecture, won several ZweigWhite Best Firm to Work For awards the first year that his office incorporated a client feedback system, and is up for more awards this year.

    Here’s a brief description of the event from the site

    Presented by CE News, Structural Engineer, The Zweig HR Letter and the Environmental Business Journal, the two-day conference will explore topics such as retaining top talent in tough times, workforce planning in an economic downturn, firm cultures that motivate and inspire commitment, retooling your current workforce, diversification strategies, staffing and cash flow, managing overhead, training and workforce development, benefits integration, legal issues, and best practices, as well as provide unlimited networking opportunities for all involved in the business of architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting.

  • PSMJ’s Premier Award for Client Satisfaction

    Posted on May 14th, 2009 Ryan Suydam 2 comments
    PSMJ's Premier Award for Client Satisfaction

    premier_awardweb09DesignFacilitator is pleased to announce a partnership with PSMJ for their Premier Award for Client Satisfaction!

    PSMJ has partnered with DesignFacilitator, creators of the only feedback tool designed specifically for the architecture and engineering community, to operate feedback collection for PSMJ’s Premier Award for Client Satisfaction.  The program uses feedback from design firms’ clients to identify some of the best A/E/C firms across the nation.  You can enroll to participate ($495) here.   For a limited time, participants can receive the entire cost of their entry fee back if they subscribe to our Client Feedback Tool.

    Upon joining the program, PSMJ will send participants a link to the participation form at DesignFacilitator’s website.

    Participants will enter their contact details and the names/emails of the clients they would like surveyed.

    The DesignFacilitator team will contact participants with further details and instructions including guidance on how to introduce the survey to your clients, with strategies to maximize your return rate.

    A week later, the survey will be sent using DesignFacilitator’s Client Feedback Tool.  Those who would like to receive a sample of the survey may request one by emailing

    The results will be collected over 30 days.  Within two weeks of completion, participants will receive a copy of the results, both a summary and detailed responses.   Participants’ results will only be collated and delivered to PSMJ for purpose of the award rankings, and will not be published in any way to anyone else.

    When the results from all participants are in and the program is over, awards will be determined based on the quantity and quality of feedback received, using DesignFacilitator’s “Feedback Quotient” formula.  The 2009 award winners will be announced in February 2010 and featured at PSMJ’s Circle of Excellence Conference in March 2010.

    All participants will also be entitled to a $495 discount on subscriptions to DesignFacilitator’s Client Feedback Tool purchased within 60 days of program completion.  For more details contact us at 866-4-DES-FAC or

  • Mike Phillips to present webinar with Axium on April 9th

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 Matt 2 comments

    April 9, 2009
    10:00 am Pacific Time

    Axium’s Best Practices Webinar Series, presents Mike Phillips

    Client Feedback: Learn Simple Ways to Enhance your Firm

    This program illustrates how a design firm can create a simple system to collect and incorporate client feedback. Utilizing six key principles, this system builds real value for your firm by fine-tuning your process to better meet your client’s needs. Learn to use client feedback to reduce problems, increase performance and improve profitability.

    Improvements for designers include:

    • increased value to their client
    • reduced wasted time & effort
    • enhanced professional satisfaction
    • reduced mistakes & project liability
  • Feedback Case Study: Discovering Expectations Early

    Posted on March 31st, 2009 Ryan Suydam 1 comment
    Feedback Case Study: Discovering Expectations Early

    Feedback collected early in a project’s lifecycle critically affects many projects to better results. Marc Christopher and Jason Byrd, architects at Phillips Architecture in Raleigh, NC, share an experience that occurred in the schematic design phase of a new activity center for a local church.

    Having used a previously successful process to collect programming information about the project, Marc and Jason met with the client to review the initial schematic designs. The meeting went smoothly, and both left feeling the project was on track. However, after a survey was sent to the eight participants, two attendees rated the efforts “needing improvement.”

    Surprised, Jason quickly followed up, and discovered that these project participants hadn’t been through an architectural project of this nature before – and therefore had no basis to set expectations for what a schematic design was, nor what the deliverables from that phase included. After some discussion (and education) everyone was up to speed. Subsequent surveys revealed a very high level of excellence, consistently exceeding the client’s more informed expectations. The project resolved successfully. Of the experience, Jason says, “Had we never sent a survey requesting feedback, we would have been oblivious to the client’s feelings as to where we stood to date.” Armed with this information, Jason could adjust expectations accordingly by walking through the project’s process clearly.

    Taking the lesson learned more broadly, Marc and Jason now approach new projects differently. Rather than take for granted an understanding of the architectural project’s process and deliverables, an initial project conversation is held to:

    • Clearly quantify expectations for the next deliverable.
    • Establish a clear timeline to meet those expectations.
    • Communicate any deviations in advance.

    “While these items may seem obvious, we sometimes take for granted that we are delivering in accordance with our clients expectations, ” says Marc.

    Recent projects have accordingly seen consistently high marks across the board, as the improved processes are taking place.