Brett Blake, Training and Development Associate Director of business improvement specialists BBI Services, discusses why collaboration is key to fostering project success.

Made up of multiple stages, components and influential players, construction projects are incredibly complex operations and unfortunately, more often than not, they aren’t delivered on time or on budget. In fact, recent research shows nine out of ten projects are currently behind schedule following the Covid-19 pandemic1.

Additionally, a comparison of data before and after the pandemic alarmingly reveals that the number of delays has actually doubled since 2020.

Projects need increased collaboration in order to deliver the various stakeholder outcomes. This includes working as an Integrated Project team, a Joint Venture, or an Alliance, plus there is the increased closer and earlier integration of supply chains needed to deliver the offsite / modular and MMC opportunities.

At BBI Services, we’ve worked with many key players in construction and also have in-depth experience of other sectors. Time and time again, our work shows that a lack of collaboration is one of the major catalysts for any trouble that ensues.

So, creating a proactive collaborative culture and practice is essential.

Create a collaborative culture

Put simply, collaboration centres around people. It only works when all levels of an organisation work together to achieve a common goal which is usually outlined by the shared vision, mission and values set by each company.

Although this seems straightforward, some organisations don’t always invest the time and resources needed to create, embed, and reinforce a collaborative and challenge friendly culture. So, their processes and performance aren’t as effective as the companies that do put people at the heart of their business. For example, our Construction to Production masterclass at Toyota highlights how essential people and team development is to the successful operation of the Toyota Production System.

People-centric organisations, which understand the real power of their teams, are those that truly thrive. This is because they unleash the potential of each individual and, as a result, can successfully build one cohesive, high-performing team that achieves more.

Through a series of specialist training and learning and development opportunities, and practical improvement activities, organisations can successfully foster collaboration into a deliberate practice that runs through every level of the business. Practical activities breed teamwork, collaboration, and enthusiasm as the successful feeling of having made a difference and achieved something challenging together.

At BBI Services, we have experience working with companies to help develop a collaborative culture where every team member feels empowered to achieve a common goal, and we have equipped hundreds of individuals with the toolset, skillset, and mindset to deliver quality projects on time and on schedule.

Strive for continuous improvement

The foundation of building a collaborative culture is the challenge of working together to make a difference. Once the organisation has started building a collaborative proactive culture, it can build the momentum and challenge for teams to focus their attention to continuous improvement and accelerating doing things differently. It’s something that all ambitious companies should strive to achieve because, without it, they will not see the opportunities and will instead repeat the same issues time and time again.

In order to continuously improve, businesses must challenge, streamline, optimise and standardise their approach in every function, on every project and at every stage, to enhance the simplicity of all tasks and increase the performance of the organisation.

By assessing each part of the process, companies are actively seeking to make changes and embed these, a collaborative culture helps ensure everyone follows and adopts these new processes as the best practice.

In a collaborative organisation, teams can effectively and swiftly work together to pinpoint exactly where the problems are occurring to find a solution which can then be applied to “tomorrow” and future projects.

With clearer, faster, and optimised processes in place, companies will be enhancing their capabilities resulting in overall betterment and accelerated business performance.

Foster collaboration

It can be difficult to understand where to start when it comes to developing a collaborative culture within an organisation. A one-size-fits-all approach certainly doesn’t work as companies will be at different stages of the process, and therefore the support needed varies. Plus working ‘’on’’ the organisation while working ‘’in’’ the organisation is difficult.

As business improvement specialists we have worked with a range of organisations to foster collaboration. From helping teams, who are starting the journey, to identify what collaboration means to them, to supporting others who require help with specific processes and even, providing specialist training to teams who want to upskill and enhance their existing knowledge and capability even further – we’ve done it all.

No matter what support you need, we can work with you and your team to create a truly collaborative culture across your organisation to help deliver projects right first time, every time.