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Procurement – How behavioural assessment can help achieve project excellence

Procurement the scourge of so many project and programme managers is often blamed as the root cause of poor value under-performing contractors, and arguments across the supply chain…. But why?
Procurement is an important step in a project or programme lifecycle and can set the foundation for a better way of doing things.

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Procurement:
• Can and should help clients achieve better outcomes and add value to your organisation.
• Can and should ensure that everyone involved in a project wins
• Can help reduce risk
• Can help increase innovation
• Can establish strong long term relationships

Where do we go wrong?
When it doesn’t work or the results aren’t as good as they could have been its often because we forget the grey in amongst the black and white of our process.
The black and white is important. A clear well defined scope, schedule and cost are always the underpinning that a good project can build on, but they aren’t the only things that we should be concerned with. They aren’t the missing ingredient in achieving excellent project outcomes. What we often forget during the procurement process is the importance of the individuals that will be doing the work. Specifically we don’t spend enough time looking past their IQ and looking at their Emotional Intelligence.
Behaviours are an important part of our industry during design, construction and operations. Many organisations invest in developing their middle management to work more effectively but many do not. This is why behaviours should be given more consideration in procurement and throughout the projects’ lifecycle.
A project team is always an evolving one, how a team gels together can make a huge difference. We have previously discussed the benefits of psychometric testing to build more effective construction teams but what about our bid and procurement teams?
Innovative clients across the public and private sector have already seen the benefits of behavioural assessment within the tendering process as a driver for building those effective partnerships. Why aren’t we all doing it?

Why should you do it?
More bang for your buck, programme certainty, encouraging innovation, stronger relationships and reduced project risk, these are all the standard and accurate benefits. However in our experience the best collaborations lead to unexpected great outcomes which may not be predictable but are massively value enhancing for all.
The complexity of the interfaces of large-scale infrastructure projects requires collaborative ‘one team working’ in order to deliver efficiently and effectively to programme, cost and quality.
Much has been written in recent years about collaboration in construction and the vast potential benefits to clients and the supply chain from sharing information and working more collaboratively.
BS11000 and digital platforms such as BIM are developing rapidly to support this process, helped by the UK Government’s mandate for level 2 BIM adoption on their projects by 2016.However, adoption and use of both of these do not guarantee a collaborative project or programme. You still need the right people to drive the process forward.
There also needs to be an understanding that this isn’t only about building strong relationships at executive level and that this needs to be an ongoing process throughout a projects life. I have first-hand experience of spending time at an organisational level building strong relationships, understanding the business to business long term aims and objectives, but then forgetting and suffering for it, the importance of relationships at ground level to support successful projects.
When relationships break down (or never start) projects face difficulties when they have a need to overcome challenges, adapt and manage change and need to work together to come up with a better way of doing things.
On the Invennt website you’ll find two white papers (A guide to BS11000 and Collaboration in Major projects) that give detail and offers case studies as to the importance of building strong relationships to the success of projects and programmes.

What happens when you don’t do it?
Collaboration on Major Projects – A brief overview
We at Invennt looked at several complex projects and programmes for a large client where the project leadership teams were interested in understanding how collaborative their projects are, what people really think and whether there was an appetite for change and doing things better.
What did we find?
Relationships that had deteriorated to such a stage that projects were suffering. The inability of a project director and his counterpart to communicate was so bad one of them had to be moved on for the good of the project.
Within other projects and programmes when reviewed relatively good performance masked potential problems in the supply chain bubbling away. We supported an initiative to improve behaviours and communication, to build relationships and provide the tools to strengthen them.
Had they looked at this at the procurement stage and monitored during the project lifecycle, the issues we discovered and supported the improvement of, would not have been there to find.

What happens when you do it?
The benefits are clear: Improved collaboration, enhanced health and safety, customer focus, quality assurance and better governance.
Project leaders are beginning to embrace the notion that, although managerially harder, applying collaborative leadership will lead to:
• Better outcomes
• More profit or less cost
• Better managed risks (or more certainty), and
• A better journey along the way.
Want to hear more and understand how to do it?
Come along to the ‘developing a new reality for behavioural assessment in procurement’ event on the morning of 2nd July at an iconic central London art gallery. You will hear from Invennt plus a range of speakers including MVD consulting, The Environmental Agency and Turner & Townsend, that will help you understand how to better apply it to your procurement process and throughout the project lifecycle.
The seminar on the 2nd July will debate these aspects in more detail and although nearly full, there are still a  limited number of spaces.

If you would like to attend, please register via Event Brite

 

Ben Pritchard

Ben joined invennt from Magnox Ltd where as a Framework manager in the Nuclear Decommissioning sector he led the procurement and commercial management of a range of frameworks and projects covering demolition, new construction, refurbishment and retrieval, processing and conditioning of waste.

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