We've spent some time in the trenches. Literally. Large scale multibillion dollar projects don't just happen. They are meticulously planned, designed, resourced, executed, checked, checked again and handed over. There's a lot in it - and a lot of moving parts to put it into action.
The processes for the above tend to be intricate, mapped and (hopefully) well documented in order to minimise risk for the project backers and operators. And rightly so.
The question on our lips however is : why is so little attention paid to ensuring the construction team is aligned before the project kicks off? This applies to both client and prime contractor teams.
Research by major projects societies tells us that around 80% of major project risks are people related in some form or another. Whether it be poor decisions on the ground, lack of discipline in the supply chain or communication deficiencies, the list can go on for days.
One of our colleagues at i40 working overseas once witnessed a $5m decision made based on a personal issue (Poor relationship) by a senior manager of a client organisation. The logical course of action was looming in the background but 'Project Fever' took over and the individual's emotional course prevailed. He was lucky. The decision wasn't an operational failure, but its hard to get the 5 big ones back for the shareholders who were none the wiser.
Unfortunately, this behaviour can filter all the way down to the workers on the ground.
As you know we like to talk about autonomous robots - because they will soon be part of the furniture. But if you can imagine for a moment a machine where each of its parts, in the thousands, was itself autonomous. The level of control to counteract each others' decisions would be monumental. Not insurmountable, but monumental all the same.
On a more basic level, this is no different to your project or operational team. You have to ensure they're holding the same hymn sheet BEFORE they start singing.
We have seen it. The job gets moving and the focus is on momentum alongside compliance and assurance. Each component (project team member) makes it work in their own way, without any form of consistency. Clashes happen, time and money are wasted.
Here are just some of the topics we have incorporated into these alignment sessions for our clients, with good outcomes (using elements from The SpiceRack Method - more to come on that):
Rules of engagement
- Contracts (The delay experts love this!)
- Communication protocols
- Role clarity
- Escalation boundaries
- Business outcomes over personal gain
- Emotional Intelligence
- Decision making frameworks
Now, we aren't saying that we DON'T want people to be individuals - we of course promote that this is fundamental to a successful team environment. However construction projects are dynamic and fast paced which can induce stress and hampered decision making. By getting your team together and mapping out the rules of the game, you will find that your
- Contractor/client management;
- Team cohesion and, critically;
- Safety/cost/schedule and quality is far better off for it.
Thanks for reading.
Contact i40 today to discuss introducing a project/campaign alignment programme to your organisation.
The SpiceRack Method - Effective Communication In A World Of Individualisation will be available at reputable online retailers in May 2019.