Those who work in the Design and Construction world know all too well the elation of winning the bid yet it’s what comes next that can make or break the project. How well everyone is able to work together, resolve conflicts, make decisions and play their role in delivery is a huge determiner of project success.

While I don’t profess to be an expert in project set up from a design, delivery and governance perspective, over my many years of working with multi-disciplinary teams what I do know is that of equal importance is HOW the various groups agree to work together.

We know that culture exists whether you’re conscious of it or not. So why not consciously create the project culture that will best enable you to deliver a successful project without the strained relationships, double handling and wasted efforts, tensions and people burnout that often accompany these projects.

1. Start with the Vision and Purpose – The What

What are we here for?  What’s our vision of the end game? In understanding what drives each group and the project as a whole, we’re able to go back to ‘what’s best for project’ while also understanding the nuances of what that means for everyone involved.

Being clear on the strategic focus allows everyone to keep their ‘eye on the prize’.

2. Hopes and Concerns

Identifying our hopes for the project and hopes for how we work together sets a positive intent for the day and the project as a whole. During this process we uncover the concerns individuals and teams might have about the project and approach and while this is not the time to get into resolving technical issues, it is the time to acknowledge some of the difficulties particular groups may experience.

3. The How

If this is what we’re here to deliver, what will it require of us as a group?

We’ve all experienced projects that worked well and projects that were torturous.  Think about what the difference has been.  In effect we’re describing the culture that will best enable us to work together to deliver a successful project.

4. The foundation: Values

While there’s a bit of debate about the usefulness of values other than branding, when jointly created, agreed as a means of enabling a successful project for all there is no doubt they make a difference.  The key to this is in describing what you’ll see and won’t see on the project in relation to how decisions are made, how issues are handled, disagreements resolved.

It’s through this process that participants are able to agree their expectations of each other

 5. Values to standards: Agreeing the way forward.

Get specific, what behaviours and processes / systems do you want to establish or review to ensure the values are lived and the culture is created? These can be everything from meeting set up, agreements to pick up the phone first or not BCC others in to emails to establish an operating rhythm.

No Time or Budget?

While you may not think you have time or budget to bring everyone together it really is a case of can you afford not to.

Spending a day strengthening relationships, agreeing how you’ll work together, what to do when things go pear-shaped and planning the way forward sets a baseline for how the project will be delivered.

If you want some more tips on how to design your multi-disciplinary team day please get in touch.