Does Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Yield Higher Project-Level Innovations?
Using alternative project delivery methods like IPD will always yield more project innovation, right? Not necessarily, according to Entuitive team members who have operated on these projects. The key to unlocking project-level innovation, they say, is to understand the nuances of each project and find project delivery systems that align with those nuances.
There is no doubt that IPD can unlock project-level innovation. All stages of project delivery can benefit from an IPD system – from contract document control to on-site execution. But not all projects will be a good fit for the IPD delivery model, and even the right projects can stray from innovation without the proper systems. That’s why we talked to our project staff familiar with the IPD delivery method to hear their thoughts on how to leverage the true benefits of the IPD model.
Consider the following lessons learned for your next project.
The Right Project Type
It’s important to first consider what type of project innovation you want to see. If a project contains complex scopes with high levels of interdisciplinary collaboration, then IPD is a great project delivery candidate. If, however, an owner wants an architecturally demanding building or a building that is relatively simple (“cookie cutter”), then IPD may not deliver as much value and other delivery models should be considered. Owners should ask themselves what type of asset they want and if collaboration is an important requirement to delivering that asset.
High Owner Engagement
The collaboration of IPD is best seen in the Big Room, where senior stakeholders can discuss different alternatives and collectively decide a path forward. That benefit is eroded when the decision-making process moves outside the Big Room. IPD consultants can facilitate collaboration, but an owner should still be present to ensure decisions can be made in a timely manner.
Alignment on Project Goals
At the beginning of an IPD project, ensure all stakeholders understand the goal of the project. There will always be goals like quality and schedule, but it’s necessary to highlight the bigger picture goals of what value the project will bring to the community. By aligning the team on one primary objective, it establishes a collective target and gives context on how to leverage project-level innovation to get closer to that target. It also highlights what metrics are required to evaluate success during the project.
Deliberate, Selective Collaboration
While collaboration is sometimes necessary, IPD teams should acknowledge which decisions should be made inside versus outside the Big Room. Consider the decision of paint colour – important for the owner and architect, but often irrelevant for the other disciplines. Discerning between full group discussions versus subgroup discussions is a helpful way to keep the collaboration productive. These types of delineations are best done at the onset of the project with the full group, so no one feels slighted down the road.
Team Experience & Composition
Make sure the IPD project team comprises experienced stakeholders who are familiar with not only their scope but also the broader systems that surround their scope. It’s also necessary to have the proper breadth of experience. For example, it’s key to ensure you have an experienced cost estimator in the Big Room who can put a dollar value to new ideas and divert the group away from financially unfeasible ideas.
Encourage Crowd-Sourcing Ideas
One of the quickest ways to take the “I” out of IPD is to impose a hierarchy onto the collective team and treat some partners preferentially to others. The best results arise when the full team feels valued and all stakeholders are comfortable sharing ideas outside their immediate scope. This team culture might seem frivolous, but it plays a surprisingly salient role in the success of the IPD initiative.
In summary, Integrated Project Delivery can be a powerful asset in driving superior project performance and outside-the-box thinking. By following the steps outlined above, you will know when and how to deploy IPD systems to maximize success on your projects.
For more information reach out to Nick Berci, Ian Washbrook, or Blaine Jansen.