A Simple Framework for Putting Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Into Action

Design and construction projects are long and complex and require collaboration between many parties. While there are benchmarks in place to help owners achieve efficiencies, the traditional delivery model leaves much to be desired.

  • What if we could do better?
  • What if we could create buildings that exceeded expectations instead of falling short?
  • What if we could create buildings that are beautiful, efficient, useful, cost-effective and sustainable instead of often needing to compromise?
  • What if a building operated as a whole instead of multiple, disparate systems housed inside one facility?
Enter integrating project delivery, or IPD. The book, Integrating Project Delivery, provides something of value for both experienced practitioners and students of the industry and helps readers understand the following:

  1. The elements of integration
  2. How they interconnect
  3. Why they are all necessary
  4. How they can be put into practice and key examples

Worlds apart in every way: traditional delivery vs. integrated delivery

How do traditional building methods differ from an integrated approach? According to The American Institute of Architects (AIA), they differ in more ways than one.

What does a truly integrated project organization look like?

  • Decisions are made as if all participants were employed by a single organization
  • People trust each other and share in leadership duties
  • All decisions are based on what’s best for the project
  • Project leaders take responsibility for building a strong network of commitments
  • Team members create space for innovation by listening to each other in dialogue rather than trying to persuade
  • Delivery team members and stakeholders thank each other for discovering problems early on
  • New ideas and approaches are welcomed and heard

How can you manage and strengthen your team to ensure your project is set up for success?

In IPD agreements, the management structure is typically defined in the contract, and project teams are led by managers committed to making "best-for-project" decisions. These committees have six crucial responsibilities in managing the project:

  1. Develop a clear and common understanding of project values and goals. This is the foundation of an IPD project — clearly defined project values and goals that are determined by all key stakeholders.

  2. Clearly communicate these values and goals to ALL participants. In addition to clearly communicating values with all participants, leaders must appropriately onboard any subs or consultants, as well as continually reinforce the goals and values to the whole team through repetition and recognition.

  3. Create a functional physical and virtual space for co-location. To enhance performance, digital networks, collaboration systems and other elements must be established up front.

  4. Define the necessary project teams/select team members. Teams should be diverse, cross-functional and have different viewpoints and perspectives. Not only does this diversity provide more information to inform the design, the tension between perspectives stimulates greater creativity.

  5. Provide training and mentoring for project teams. Training and mentoring should address three task performance issues: level and coordination of member effort; appropriateness of the task and performance strategies the team is using; and degree to which the team leverages all of its members’ knowledge and skills.

  6. Monitor and adjust team dynamics as needed. The team’s strengths and weaknesses, including conflicting personalities, should be reviewed and addressed to minimize negative impacts.

I will be doing a webinar on The Simple Framework for Integrated Project Delivery on November 13, 2018. Please join me to learn about IPD and how you can develop higher performing projects through effective integration.

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