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Collaborative Strategies for Project Teams

Construction project teams using integrative design approaches and collaborative practices create a sense of mutual trust among the team members, increase stakeholder partnerships throughout the project, and save time and money by reducing the number of handoffs between the design team and builder. GSA has experienced these kinds of savings:

  • Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building estimated a $940,000 cost savings and 9 months reduction in construction schedule because of the reduction in hours spent on design documentation made possible by integrated design

While integrative design methods are well known, impacts from their use in the Federal sector have not been studied as much and there are very few real-world examples of how project teams used these strategies in approaching and overcoming challenges. As a result, GSA conducted an in-depth study of five project teams to capture best practices, strategies, and lessons learned so future project teams could see how integrative design and collaboration help in delivering high-performing federal buildings on-time and on-budget. More information on the case studies can be found at GSA’s Collaborative Practices website.

Explore Your Role

See the links below for best practices based on the dimensions and elements of success for each role:

Key Elements of Project Success

Each role contains three main categories:

  • Strong Leadership - includes how the collaborative culture was created through intentional team building; how leaders defined goals, communicated them, and achieved alignment with them; how roles were defined; and how leaders established accountability within the teams.
  • Tenant Engagement - includes how the project teams interfaced with the tenants, discussed how they could assist with meeting project goals, getting their project buy-in, hearing concerns, and communicating to them about the project’s progress.
  • Commercial Strategies - includes a range of issues related to procurement: how the GSA developed the request for proposals (RFP), the process of team selection, relevant contract terms, and creation of a verification phase post occupancy.

The main categories are further broken down into the following subcategories:

  • Team culture - the establishment of norms (expected universal behaviors) and values. Team culture indicators are identified when a stakeholder establishes norms and values on a project team that serve as a foundation for collaborative team practices, project values, and expected team behaviors. These team culture activities are often established during early work practices and help to sustain the collaborative culture throughout the project.
  • Individual behaviors - indications of how some individuals act in relation to others. They are identified when some stakeholders act in ways that encourage psychological safety or support for the team and project, and when other stakeholders identify someone else on the project as embodying these behaviors. These can be thought of as individual personality traits or individual characteristics. It is the individual’s response to team culture and the pressures on the project that results from the commercial structure and dynamics.
  • Management and logistics - activities and patterns of activities that are established, codified, and maintained for the purpose of completing the project. These are the tools and techniques used on projects such as project schedules and budgets.
  • Communication - concerns the communication characteristics, skillsets, and means of communication on a project. This includes both written and verbal communication. This dimension is pervasive in terms of developing and reinforcing the other dimensions
Read More

Each best practice references the case study and provides more information as to where more information can be found. Examples are from the following projects:

  • EGWW - Edith Green - Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, Portland, OR
  • FCS - Federal Center South, Seattle, WA
  • LACH - Los Angeles U.S. Courthouse, Los Angeles, CA
  • Aspinall - Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse, Grand Junction, CO
  • Leland - Mickey Leland Federal Building, Houston, TX
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