Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

George Costanza need not apply

We are now preparing to choose an architect for a new building.

How do you think that’s done? Do we try to pick up visual cues to see who looks the most creative and artistic? Do we dump out some Legos and ask applicants to design something cool in 15 minutes or less?

On Seinfield, the nine-year hit television show that is still in reruns, George Costanza was always lying to impress women by telling them he was an architect. He was not. But for George, ethical leadership, was something that must not have been emphasized in his college education. So, how can we make sure that we don’t end up with a George Constanza trying to bluff his way through a design process?

The Division of Facilities Construction and Management have done this before. This state of Utah entity has come up with a point system that makes evaluating architects more of a science. I’ll give you a simplified version of how we evaluate potential architects. Let this serve as warning to any Costanzas out there. (With my luck, the winning firm will be called “Constanza and Sons.”)

20 points – History. What’s your track record? The DFCM (a short, catchy name for the people from the state mentioned above) gives firms it has worked with before a “performance rating.” You have to have a good track record if you want this important job.

35 points – Experience. We want the successful team to have designed a project for a school of business before. We’re going to evaluate their qualifications and management plan. We are going to interview them and see if they’ve ever dealt with a project that has this kind of size and complexity before.

35 points – Plan. We want to pick a team that presents us with an excellent plan. How are they going to tackle this massive project? Have they figured out what the risks are, and do they have reasonable solutions for those risks?

10 points – Schedule. Does this firm know how to set and meet a reasonable schedule? Can they hit deadlines and can all their subcontractors keep things on track? How long will it take them?

The real official requirements are posted online and the official
document has all the official legal language. Did I say “official” enough? There’s my blog language and there’s the official language? FYI - The official language is not in this blog.

So, if you are an architect wanna-be like George Costanza, you’re out of luck when it comes to this project. Don’t come looking to the Huntsman School of Business for work.

Ken Snyder

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