Recent Research: How and Why Collaborative Methodologies Lead to Success

Presented by Markku Allison, AIA, and Christian Pikel | Town Hall 2017 Highlights

Research tells us collaborative project delivery methodologies are better…but how and why? What happens on a Lean/IPD job to make it more successful? Allison and Pikel explored these questions in their presentation at the 2017 Cogence Town Hall.

Background: Two Challenges of Research in Design & Construction

If we want to understand and replicate project success, we have to be able to define success, and we have to conduct research.

The first challenge: How do we know that a project has been successful?

Cost and schedule performance are common metrics, but they aren’t enough. Many other elements contribute to a project’s success or failure.

To gain meaningful insights, Allison argued, the industry needs a standardized definition of success, one that provides a consistent set of metrics the industry can adopt and use to compare performance across time.

Allison is in the process of developing success metrics, conducting exercises with groups of people to identify ten key metrics. His goal is to turn the research into an industry-level conversation and to allow for better research.

The second challenge: The cost of research

Research is not cheap, and it can be hard to access the data needed to conduct research. Plus, our industry doesn’t invest in research on their projects. Rather, the tendency is to finish a project and move on to the next thing.

Allison cited this as an area where the industry could improve, and he suggested partnering with academia to carry out research.

“Motivation and Means: How and Why IPD and Lean Lead to Success”

This research study examines 10 successful building projects that used an integrated form of agreement. Allison was a member of the research team, and Pikel was an interviewee for one of the projects.

The goal was to understand what made these project successful, to gain a realistic understanding of IPD, and to examine IPD’s applicability to different project types and sizes. The researchers gathered data in 6 broad categories (23 subcategories).

“Our major finding was a striking uniformity of success for all the teams in this study, regardless of project type, scope, geographic location, or previous experience with IPD and Lean. The second finding was that the powerful complementary strength of IPD and Lean supports success.” (Executive Summary)

The report, structured as an interactive PDF, is available online from the Lean Construction Institute. Click to view, and download it for the interactive PDF functionality.

For an overview of some of the report’s discoveries, view 5 Myths about IPD and Lean.


About Markku Allison, AIA

Markku Allison, AIADirector of Engagement and Innovation – Chandos Construction, Alberta, Canada • President, IPDA

Markku Allison has over 25 years’ experience both as an award-winning designer and as a thought-leader on design and construction industry transformation issues. His background as a practice owner and industry subject matter expert with strong relationships across disciplines and organizations uniquely positions him to assist in shaping responsive strategies to forces driving change in business and culture today.

In his current role, Allison heads up a portfolio that includes Chandos’ IPD, Lean, Sustainability, BIM, and Marketing initiatives. He also serves as president of the Integrated Project Delivery Alliance, a Canadian not-for-profit organization focused on improving the AEC industry. Allison has held positions at the American Institute of Architects, where he was instrumental in developing the AIA’s “Integrated Project Delivery: A Guide,” “50to50” – 50 strategies to 50% carbon reduction, as well as a range of other influential industry resources and white papers.

About Christian Pikel

Christian PikelChristian Pikel, managing principal and lead coach for The ReAlignment Group, Ltd., brings a unique insight and novel approach to lean/IPD coaching for teams and organizations. His ability to coach, teach and facilitate is defined by a diverse career spanning two decades in the design and construction industry as design/build trade manager, preconstruction and project developer/consultant and then owner for a major healthcare network.

This is coupled with Pikel’s nine years of experience as student and practitioner of lean construction and engagement with over 25 IPD projects in roles of collaborator, leader and coach.

Pikel is an LCI Improved instructor and CoreClarity™ Certified Facilitator.