Build Better Templates

Everyone loves saving time, and there’s no better way to save time than using templates. If you can build highly effective templates, you can easily save yourself hours of time each week.

Minimizing the Impact of Revisions

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You just built a complex model of the building or system you’re designing and got it working. Results show some minor tweaks are needed, but the bulk of it works. So you send the details to the client for review, and when they come back, they’ve completely changed their concept and you have to re-do the whole model. Does that sound like something you’ve experienced before? 

This is the situation where templates work best. Instead of spending dozens of hours developing something that may work but could change, why not spend less time developing an approach that could work, but without the headache of re-doing work? Templates are the perfect tool to allow you to quickly and efficiently check requirements against typical design requirements.

How to Create Better Templates

The biggest obstacle to creating templates is knowing when and where to start. Here’s a list of simple steps you can take to kick off the process and create templates that your team can actually use:  

  • Ask individual team members what they struggle with and where they need the most assistance
  • Ask typical authors what issues they have with the templates and whether it would help to include explanation text, example text, and/or tailoring guidance (i.e. what is mandatory and what is optional?)
  • Build a simple page or folder for the templates that can be accessed with one click and includes only those templates that are regularly used.
  • Forget about sophisticated knowledge management systems – they’ll just discourage staff from using the templates.
  • Broadcast the templates to everyone who could use them and ask people to critique the documents. Tell them to use it or lose it. Make changes when changes are necessary.
  • After using the templates consistently for three months, ask around to see if they’re actually helping. If not, reconsider your approach to templates.


More Templates = Less Time Spent

Once you have a system for setting up templates that translate to time saved, continue to build them out. Templates keep people on track, they reduce wasted hours and budgets, and they help guarantee great results for everyone.

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