Research confirms that more collaborative forms of project delivery are being used in the construction industry.
Incorporating a qualitative approach, the research was funded by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and led by Professor Derek Walker and Dr Beverley Lloyd-Walker. Increased cooperation and collaboration in the delivery of major projects and public infrastructure was observed across construction industries and maintenance service contracting worldwide.
High levels of collaboration
A major finding was that high levels of collaboration are being used, and approaches most similar to alliancing (as practised in Australia) are applied to complex projects. Differences in terminology had previously made these similarities difficult to identify. The research teased out the levels of collaboration across project procurement and delivery types, aligning terminology—to aid a deeper understanding of collaborative approaches.
Relationship-based procurement classification
From this, a scale from the lowest to the highest levels of collaboration was created and a relationship-based procurement (RBP) classification framework developed, linking project type to the level of collaboration needed to ensure project success.
Research findings have been disseminated in a variety of ways to ensure they reach the widest global audience possible.
A book detailing the RBP classification framework, Collaborative Project Procurement Arrangements, was authored by the researchers and published through the PMI in April 2015. It provides an aid to project procurement method decision-making and demonstrates how project manager knowledge, skills, attributes and experience (KSAEs) might be linked to the level chosen, and linked to ensuring team members possess the KSAEs required to support success. Areas of weakness and strength can be clearly identified to target improvement initiatives, addressing areas of need and using strengths to greatest advantage.
Eight refereed articles–both journal and conference papers–have been published, and a further three have been accepted for publication. Workshops have been held and more are scheduled for delivery to specific industry and government groups in Australia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and other European countries. A global webinar, arranged by the Project Management Institute on 23 September 2015, communicated the findings to over 1,900 members registered for the event.
High-level relationship skills are key
These new forms of delivery require project team members to have high-level relationship skills, as opposed to the more traditional and, at times, conflictual or confrontational delivery methods.
Overall, these collaborative methods are best suited to the delivery of highly complex projects. They encourage best practice outcomes, versus the best outcome for any individual organisation involved. This is encouraged through the no litigation agreement and the establishment of agreed ‘acceptable behaviours’ by all members of the alliance project team. This leads to trust and commitment to the project outcome, use of consensus decision-making, and supports a ‘no blame’ environment where all parties are perceived to be equally responsible for the success of the project through a ‘sink or swim together’ approach.