Sunday, March 20, 2011

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD): Optimize, Collaborate, and Own the Project

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) projects offer many advantages over traditional project delivery systems, including Design-Build and other fast track methodologies.  Integrated Project Delivery requires that entities which previously worked together on projects but with different goals and incentives now collaborate.  It also requires new behaviors, new attitudes, new contracts and new transparency.  Successful Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) projects recognize and exercise these IPD truisms.

Optimization Requires Collaboration:  The whole purpose of IPD is to optimize the project delivery process.  While there are many ways to collaborate with technology, the interpersonal aspects of IPD teams is critical.  Sharing documentation is one thing, rapid recognition of project issues and the ability to quickly convene and resolve them is another.  Although not an absolute requirement, many IPD project teams find that co-locating project personnel in one office speeds this process, encourages deeper collaboration, and results in faster decisions with greater cross-functional buy-in.

Collaboration Unlocks Creativity:  A natural outgrowth of good collaboration is increased creativity.  The free form flow of ideas and instant feedback feeds and helps to accelerate the creative cycle.  Design issues, constructability issue resolution, and every other facet of the project delivery process benefits from this outcome.

Joint Control Creates Joint Ownership:  Unlike traditional projects where separate contracts set up individual “fiefdoms” inside the project, each with its own set of priorities, incentives and penalties; IPD contracts create a project governance system that increases transparency and participation.  Shared decision making results in shared ownership of those decisions, thereby increasing buy-in and speeding execution. 

Challenge Stimulates Creativity but Fear Creates Defensiveness:  Every coin has two sides and IPD is no different.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, IPD requires new behaviors and attitudes.  When project participants are unable to make those shifts then the requisite trust among team members does not develop and the free exchange of ideas is inhibited, resulting in loss of project momentum and benefit.  Choosing IPD team members is a critical first step. 

Much of the benefit derived in successful IPD projects comes from enhanced collaboration.  But “it ain’t always easy,” as a wise man once said.  Participants need to make changes in the way they approach projects.  In traditional delivery systems project team members have individual aspirations.  They know how they define project success in terms of financial and other project outcomes.  But, they are not shared by all and sometimes differ significantly across the team.  Individual contracts do little to help and usually more to hinder.  IPD projects are based more on shared values.  IPD contracts unite all participants under the same set of goals with rewards and risks allocated by consensus.  Behaviors are enforced through rewards and consequences that are jointly agreed upon at the outset.

1 comment:

  1. I like that you refer to design-build as a "fast track" method. I think it can't be said enough that design-build really is "smart design", since it makes the process so much simpler.