Sunday, 21 July 2013

Collaborative contracting, 1+1=3

Will Brown - New Business Manager, Piletech

 What defines a successful project? On time? On budget? Was it easy?

Thinking back, what strikes me is that the most successful projects I've been involved with on all of the above measures have been the most collaborative ones. The projects where client, consultant and contractor work alongside one another from the outset, complementing one another's strengths and engaging with one another to understand and deliver the client's objectives. Rarely have I found, in either a consultancy or contracting role, that this early collaboration is wasted.

So what stifles this collaboration? Why don't we always work like this?

In my early days as a consultant I certainly felt a level of mistrust towards external parties, particularly when they called themselves contractors. Why would we look at changing the traditional model when we can write it all in a contract then get a price, and avoid discussing the 'risks'? What I missed was that where there is risk there is opportunity, and by insulating my clients from this risk I was creating hidden costs. I was then given the opportunity to work in a more collaborative model and when I look back at my 5 years as a consultant the result of that project is my proudest achievement hands down.

Fast forward to my current role where I have the opportunity to work with a large number of people from all over the industry, and guess which ones I feel most engaged in? At Piletech we strive to exceed our customers' expectations in everything we do, but you can bet that the projects where we have the opportunity to engage with our clients up front yield the best results and deliver a huge sense of satisfaction to everyone involved. People leave projects feeling energized and wanting to work with the same team again, rather than feeling like they've been for a round with Mike Tyson.

Aside from the obvious financial incentives, as a contractor, a consultant, a project owner or a developer, isn't that we all want from our work?