Five tips to power project collaboration
Collaborate. It sounds so easy: Engage with each team member and organization on a construction project team—architect, engineer, general contractor, subcontractor, and supplier—to complete a construction project according to the owner’s expectations. The project owner expects a team that works together to produce a quality project, builds according to plans and specifications, and delivers the project on time and within budget. But when collaboration does not occur, the project can suffer. Challenges arise, including wasted time, budget overruns, design errors, change orders, and the need to redo work. This impacts the project schedule and budget, and may result in an unhappy project owner. How can project teams put collaboration at the forefront to deliver better projects?
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
— Henry Ford
Collaboration is key to every project
Project collaboration means an equal sharing of risk and reward by developing a cooperative relationship between all members of the project team. Each project has its own set of challenges because each project team and project is unique. No one said it would be easy, but achieving internal, external, and cross-disciplined project team collaboration can be realized. Read on for five tips to help you improve your project team’s collaboration.
Tip 1: Embrace collaboration tools
A lot of different apps and software can help keep track of project documents, streamline processes, and provide the project team with real-time data for more intelligent decisions. Keep in mind that throwing a new tool at your team requires them to use it to be more efficient. If you intend to successfully implement a collaborative tool on a new project, the players on the team need to buy in and accept the method.
Three architecture and engineering (A&E) firms share their top five strategies on implementing new specification software in an educational webinar that helps teams understand how to simplify spec writing, automate tedious tasks, and take project efficiency to the next level. Teams that embrace collaboration tools can make better-informed decisions, resulting in fewer errors and improved project deliverables.
Tip 2: Bring players into the project early
Collaboration begins the moment you start planning a project. Make sure the major players—including architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, facility managers, and owners—are “all in” on the decision-making process. When team members own the outcome and decision-making, the resulting synergy can produce quality building projects more efficiently. By getting everyone together early, the team can identify critical project details that have the most risk and can plan, in advance, how to mitigate these issues to reduce project risks.
Tip 3: Collaborate around data
When planning new projects, A&E firms are sitting on a gold mine of historical project data. Why reinvent the wheel (or, in this case, the project) when you have proven project data at your fingertips that can be springboards for project team collaboration? Leveraging historical project data will connect teams around proven and predictable outcomes, and help solidify the project. Technology also ties into this. If your firm is using tools such as business intelligence to capture key actionable insights to drive better decision-making, it will go a long way to improving and streamlining project collaboration.
Tip 4: Communication and collaboration go hand in hand
Communication is at the core of project collaboration. Good communication can prevent plan and specification flaws, and reduce delays and change orders, to deliver a project that achieves the owner’s goals. Using technology, bringing key players into the project early, leveraging a firm’s knowledge, and reviewing past project successes to drive better future outcomes is the fuel for effective project collaboration. Project collaboration and effective communication supports better decision-making and minimizes project flaws, ensuring that the owner is satisfied. Project teams that adopt a collaboration mindset will reap many benefits, including:
- Fewer changes and rework
- On-time project delivery
- Projects that stay on-budget
- Higher profits
- Less wasted materials, money, and staffing
- Fewer contract disputes
- More referrals and long-term business relationships
- Happier owners and other project stakeholders
Tip 5: It’s about the team
Collaboration is about people working together. As the legendary Babe Ruth said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime.” Project team collaboration can stimulate synergy, creativity and, productivity.
To collaborate is to listen, adapt, and offer suggestions. The Technology Paradigm Shift: 5 Essential Steps to Transform Specifications guide provides best practices to save time, improve accuracy and quality, and enhance team collaboration. Cooperatively working with one another using tools and resources to foster a collaborative environment means the project will benefit the client. How will you foster better project collaboration?
Deltek Specpoint software improves the way architects, engineers, and product manufacturers collaborate, bringing teams together to work more efficiently and make data-driven product decisions for better built projects. Enhance project outcomes by easily sharing, updating, and distributing specifications that leverage MasterSpec content to better support dispersed teams. Learn more.
Better software means better projects. Deltek is the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for project-based businesses. More than 30,000 organizations and millions of users in over 80 countries around the world rely on Deltek for superior levels of project intelligence, management, and collaboration. This includes more than 11,000 architecture and engineering firms, representing 80% of the Engineering News Record (ENR) Top 500.