Culture Matters in Design and Constrution


by Dick Bayer

In the choosing, developing and managing of design and construction teams, the collaborative project delivery approach consciously seeks out teams of individuals that embrace certain core beliefs. The first core belief is that the current system is dysfunctional and doesn’t work well, that it is replete with waste and redundancy and that therefore it can be redesigned to perform better. This is a gateway belief—people will be unwilling to accept changing the project delivery paradigm if they don’t believe something is wrong with it.

The second is that teams build projects, not individuals or individual companies. Despite contractual limitations, silo creating borders have to be crossed by individuals to develop and deliver a workable project.

Third, individuals have to be open to the kinds of behaviors required to design and build effective projects and they have to be willing to make changes in their own behavior to accommodate this behavioral necessity. They must be empowered by their companies to engage in beneficial behaviors that are project oriented, rather than directed at protecting each company’s interest. This commitment is based on the second fundamental idea that teams build projects. Participating companies have to have confidence that by empowering their individuals to act as project first team members, the outcome for the company will almost always be better and in no circumstances worse than traditional delivery.

The Core Values: What are the behaviors we’re looking for in developing these teams? The behaviors are incorporated in and representative of the six core values of any collaborative project:

·       Visibility and transparency: The participants on a project must be willing to have all information on the project visible and transparent to the project team. Visibility means that the trailer walls contain all the information that is important to the mission of the team—the project plan, the budget, the schedule, the current state of the project, pending constraints, and other important information that allows the participants to know at any moment what is happening on the team. Transparency means that all information necessary for the team to know is freely shared including costs incurred by participants, profit amounts, man power loads, predicted efficiencies of teams and all costs of peripheral or “add on” programs that the project is expected to pay. As individuals, this also means that there are no secret agendas, that everyone’s commitment to making the project successful is manifest and clear and exhibited by their behaviors every day.


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