Building project owners face an important decision in determining a project team. When an owner makes the commitment to use an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach the decision making process is going to be different than their traditional approach. Using an IPD approach means that they will be more collaborative and transparent with their partners, to allow for innovation. When owners need to decide which team members to choose, they have to ask many questions, such as:

What are we looking for in architecture/ construction management firm? What are the factors that will help differentiate the companies?

In my experience this cannot be copy and paste from other projects. Decision-makers need to develop their own list of relevant factors. Yes we can look at previous decisions, but each case is different. For example, safety performance may be a differentiator for choosing a general constructor if one of the companies has a higher or lower performance than the rest, but if they are all the same it will not help in differentiating.  In addition, other non-traditional factors will need to be evaluated in an IPD, such as trust, evidence of collaborative behaviors in past projects, and lean IPD experience.

How to make the decision?

Many companies have their procurement procedures and treat decisions as a standardized process, rather than hold conversations to discuss concerns and develop standards (or criteria) to make assessments. As a coach I guide teams using Choosing By Advantages (CBA) to develop these conversations. When choosing an IPD team my advice is:

  1. Have conversations to develop factors and criteria before interviews.
  2. Make assessments and assertions of the teams, based on previous experiences and from interviews perceptions. This helps provide “attributes” and “advantages” for the companies in CBA language.
  3. Apply CBA Tabular method collaboratively. This means sharing assessments and grounding for them.

How to achieve resolution in the decision-making team?

When the owner team is open to sharing assessments about their potential IPD partners wonderful things happen. Decision makers quickly reveal different perspectives, even when looking at the same numbers! Sharing the team’s experience is very relevant.  Only after that conversation is the decision-making team able to share grounding for the advantages of each company. In addition, one of the most important effects of applying CBA is avoiding going directly to a cost discussion. This means avoid choosing the cheapest option without understanding what it means for the future of the project. Decision-makers have to question how much are they willing to pay to work with a team that presents more important advantages, such as being more experienced in lean IPD.  

When owners have the right conversations and are willing to engage in the CBA process the result is an empowered and resolute team, eager to move forward and work with the chosen partner; understanding and willing to work with their fortitudes and weakness. That is a great start to being committed to IPD team success.