September 16, 2020 2 min read 1 Comment

In 2009 Paul Graham wrote an essay called: “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”. In the article he explains that a maker’s day is divided into three long sessions; a morning-; afternoon- and evening session. Makers needs several uninterrupted hours to produce optimally. Managers, on the other hand, have very different schedules: their days are divided into hour or half-hour slots, like a standard diary is divided into time slots.

makers vs managers

Architects should, theoretically, have both these in their personalities, yet it is impossible. For one to optimally design one can not be in management-mode. In management-mode one is always dealing with the duties of the principal agent, responding to emails, attending meetings and compiling minutes.

Below is a diagram where the different role of the maker and the manager are compared by the size of the representing image in relation to the Standard Architectural Service.

5 names of makers vs managers

If a maker has a meeting in the middle of his morning session, his entire design session is disrupted. The fact that he has a meeting bothers him, his preparation for the meeting is poor and he easily tires from attending meetings. Makers should therefore avoid meetings. They should have systems in place where other people (managers) attend meetings for them and only feed them with the relevant information in order for them to do effectively do what they are best at.

On the contrary, should a manager be tasked with the design of something, it is a mammoth task to them. They will procrastinate and eventually produce a substandard product. They time spent on the task would be regarded as ‘time wasted’.

Makers should not be interrupted, they should have pre-scheduled interaction sessions booked with managers in order to avoid managers disrupting their creative time. Managers are adaptable, can be interrupted and redirected easily. Their job should be to deal with the part of the architectural service that requires that versatility.

As an exercise, think of your 5 closest colleagues and write down if they are maker’s or managers. Once one realizes in which category you yourself and your colleagues fall under it simplifies the allocation of tasks and actions in the architectural practice.

Providing the standard architectural service therefore, in my opinion, require at least two individuals, one maker and one manager.

My presentation: Architects Working From Home explains this and the practical implications.  Click here for video.  For the CPD accredited version you can get the full course: On Becoming a Digitally Skilled Architect


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1 Response

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