Issue No. 65 - June/July 2012
Collaboration the key to delivering major projects
by Kym Williams
The collaborative approach to winning and delivering major infrastructure projects has become increasingly popular in the last decade, and for good reason - outcomes using this approach have been groundbreaking and have raised the bar for high performance.
More and more, owners and providers from a range of industries are also seeing the benefits of adopting a collaborative approach for major projects. Lessons learned in the infrastructure industry around the advantages of a collaborative approach can be applied to all businesses delivering major projects.
The traditional method of negotiating contracts on major infrastructure projects has been the master-servant approach, where the owner and provider both attempt to play “I win, you lose” to achieve an outcome to benefit themselves but disadvantage the other party. The cost of this method is the adversarial relationship it breeds, limiting collaboration and openness on key issues and opportunities, and promoting a culture of blame.
This gave rise to the collaborative approach to contracting, where the focus is building constructive relationships and satisfying all parties. This approach has gained traction as it is better for handling complexity and uncertainty - a key issue for major projects.
While the traditional approach plants the seeds for conflict, the collaborative approach recognises effective relationships are achieved through mutually beneficial outcomes and aligned expectations and objectives. It relies on all parties sharing what they think, feel and want, up front; this is critical to build the trust required to deliver the project successfully. Benefits and risk are shared or allocated up front, collective responsibility for performance is taken and the emphasis is on solutions, not blame.
All businesses involved with major projects can benefit from a collaborative approach to contract design. Project owners gain value for money, cut contracting costs, lower ...