The True Key for Successful Projects

* This column was published “Integratec” Magazine

As a CM Agency & Consultant for Latin America, many US clients ask me what is the key to success in projects South of the Border? Well my response is very simple, its “Collaboration”

I believe Collaboration is the most important and critical discipline a project must have than any other management activity such as Leadership, Communication, Coordination, or any other Tool or Process or Procedures. Many could argue differently but at the end of the day you will find out that Collaboration is a Fixer of many causes of failed projects.

Fortunately or Unfortunately, the first 10 years of my career, i participated, one way or the other on Failed project. I don’t know if Failure is the word, but that is how it felt. My definition of Failed project is a project that doesnt finish the way its planned from the get go, not even on the same ballpark, also its a project where everybody is stressed out, and tension is high every week in the board room. During this period of my career i thought to myself “WOW do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?, this is not at all healthy, I really want to quit being a CM (who wouldn’t), this is not for me, how can anybody have fun in this nightmare”. it was terrible, everybody fighting, everybody yelling. And let me tell you , it wasnt one project or any other project, it was all of my projects for the first 10 years, and guess what, all of them were failures. My only motiviation was my passion to the CM practice.

It wasn’t until I ended up participating in one of my still current accounts (3 years ago)  that I started to notice that 90% of my Projects were succesfull, I just couldn’t believe we finished on time and on budget as planned months ago, this was a 180 degree turnaround.. we didn’t had the best CM Practices, we didn’t had the best CM leading or coordination or communication or even the best of tools processes or procedures, i actually can tell you that we had the same “weaknesses” we had experienced in other projects that were consider failures, but this time we had Major Collaboration with the Client, we supported each other, my problems were their problems and the other way around. There is an understanding about teamwork, and they (my client) not only acted as a collaborative client but also the contract was very risk proportional. (you will not have collaboration if the contract stipulates a barrier, because everybody will look for their own interests and not find a way to collaborate and solve)


So is Collaboration the key to success??  Well, many can argue that identifying the causes of the problems increases the success of a project, and that is true, but no project is the same, and therefore no problem is the same, so once the cause is identified it will be very difficult to turnaround the problem in the same timeframe of the project.

I believe Collaboration solves the cause before it becomes a problem, so my answer to the question , as we Mexicans say.. “A huevo que si” (Hell yeahhh !!!) (article original published September 27,2012) ;

Written by: Damian Piza, Certified Construction Manager, Masters in Construction Administration and member of the CMAA Technology Committee. LEED AP, OSHA +30.


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