PROPHET has been used in many High Value Construction Projects internationally. The instrument is perfect for using at Kick-off workshops or at key moments in the project cycle. As stakeholder relationships and teamwork are critical to high value major projects, the PROPHET insight provides a critical data point to enhance performance and reduce the risk that sub-optimal relationships can cause.
Relationship problems impact margin and reputation
Throughout the history of major projects, there are countless examples of the breakdown of trust in key relationships across the project cycle. The pressures of delivering on budget, to time and safely, are multiplied by the number of stakeholders involved, each with their own commercial needs, organisational pressures and unique cultures. Project and Client Directors work hard to develop alignment and the right relationships, developing team charters and principles for performance. However, behind so many commercial, technical and operational failures is a relationship that has been sub-optimal or has broken down.
The origins of PROPHET – the need for fast insight into relationships
A key factor in the design of PROPHET was a four year, practical case study into how to set up construction project relationships to enhance performance and reduce risk, in conjunction with the project team of an International Major Construction Project.
BritNed was a 600 million Euro, Joint Venture between the UK’s Electricity and Gas Transmission Company, National Grid Plc and Holland’s equivalent, the government owned transmission organisation, Tennet. The Joint Venture’s goal was to build an interconnector for electricity transmission between the two countries supporting a key part in European Electricity Supply Infrastructure. The challenge from the Project Director was how to excel in building teamwork and productive relationships across organisations, specialisms and cultures. The companies involved, Siemens, Bam Nuttall, ABB, sub-contractors and the JV partners all needed to work seamlessly together. A key challenge for the Project team was to retain knowledge, skills and focus throughout the Design, Build and Commissioning phase into Commercial Operations and Market Trading – over 10 years just to get to the operational phase.
This study shed a light on the importance of business relationship theory and how relationships change as the project moves through the stages. It also highlighted the need to fast-track relationships and trust as new people come on-board. A key element to achieving this successfully is the importance of having a common and pragmatic language to understand individuals and teams more effectively and identify blind-spots that can cause the relationship breakdowns.
When to apply PROPHET in High Value Projects
Kick-off workshops and Client / Supplier workshops
Use PROPHET as a part of group workshops to build insight into the relationships, teams and stakeholders to support collaboration
Profile Bid Teams
Use PROPHET to ensure Construction Bid teams are self-aware, diverse, and show clients the profile of the team
Regularly review the insight
Continually review the PROPHET insight and reports such as the Pivotal Relationship Report to keep teams and key relationships working effectively
Insight for all the stakeholders on Project Teams
As PROPHET started to be developed, organisations who came across it, realised that the insight provided an extra lens to reduce uncertainty and risk during projects. By all the key individuals within projects having a better understanding of their colleagues’ and stakeholders’ preferred ways of working in business, it helped build relationships and be more conscious of mutual blind-spots. Being able to understand people’s motivations and their preferred decision-making style, meant they could work more effectively together and reduce frustration by perceived difference. Having a cross-cultural framework to help build these relationships, reduced the time for the relationships to become effective, particularly helpful with international groups.
Uwe Gysser of 50 Hertz, Project Director, responsible for connecting Germany’s Transmission grid to its Western windfarms, used PROPHET at a key point within this project
“Prysmian, our cable supplier, recommended using PROPHET, having come across it on the Western Link interconnector. At a critical stage, the insight had a significant, positive impact in our relationship, through a better understanding of both parties and working relationships.”
PROPHET was used at different stages in the project to build or refresh relationship dynamics.
PROPHET also works across a range of companies, who have to come together to deliver major projects. Charles Horne, Development Director at British Land,
“I was introduced to PROPHET by Sir Robert McAlpine and have used the insight in the major projects that I am responsible for. It provides valuable, pragmatic, business focused insight into relationship and team dynamics. We have used it across many companies to support our client team, our major contractors and sub-contractors. It is perfect for client and project leaders to use at off-sites and revisit at team sessions.”
Because PROPHET provides a practical, business focused lens, it as useful for the leaders of organisations as it is for the project teams themselves. Skanska in the UK has been using PROPHET both with existing clients and in new bids.
“PROPHET has been used many times in our business to support leadership teams and to help effectiveness within our key projects. My HR Director recommended that we use PROPHET for our Senior Management population. I found the insight fascinating and very valuable to help us plan together, as we continue to lead and develop the business.”
Gregor Craig, President and CEO, Skanska UK.
In organisations where business success is predicated on project team success, PROPHET is also being used to examine key roles and the impact that they have on projects. By understanding the differences in preferences between Project Directors, organisations can understand more about their project leadership approach. By examining other key roles, such as Commercial Managers or Pre-Construction Directors, the PROPHET analysis provides a better understanding of how these pivotal relationships will likely interact and what to watch out for to enable performance.
PROPHET was built to support the development of high performing business relationships and to reduce the risk of misunderstandings caused by individuals not being able to read other people’s approach to key business activities. Effective relationships are critical to business success, however a major project adds both an extra level of stakeholder complexity and a time pressure that makes having fit for purpose insight to reduce risk, an imperative.