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Predict-Ability: How Partnering Scorecards Can Dictate a Project’s Success

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How would you like to be able to predict the level of success — or failure — of your projects? Well, it seems that reality is closer than you might think.

Studies show that by using a monthly partnering scorecard you can have a great handle on what is actually happening on your project, and the scores turn out to be a great predictor of what is going to happen! This means that you and your team have time to make course corrections before they become inevitable. How does it work?

Showing Correlations

The scores that the team provides accurately and truly will depict what is going on within the project. A recent study on the efficacy of partnership when constructing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge found that what the team members scored and said on the partnering scorecard was in fact what was going on at that given time on the project. There was a strong correlation between the two. The collective wisdom of the team came forth to show a clear snap-shot of the project’s status.

In the International Partnering Institute’s study of 13 different projects that used a monthly partnering scorecard over a two-year period, 12 of the 13 projects’ scores improved over the life of the project. Overall, project scores improved by as much as 1.13 points (28 percent) over the life of the project. The average improvement was half of a point (+0.54 = 14 percent), which indicates that the team has improved their results 14 percent over the life of the project. This is very significant! The score dictates that the project is moving forward in an efficient manner.

Scorecard as a Tool

Predict-Ability does take commitment. You must use the construction scorecard as a tool. Just as with every tool, the better and more practiced you are at using it, the better your results will be. Here are some tips for getting the most from your partnering scorecard.

Tip #1: Make the Partnering Scorecard a Requirement

• Requiring the project scorecard will help the team feel that it is valued by you and valuable for them to take the time to share their scores and comments. It is the leader who can and must make this happen. If you take the scorecard seriously, so will your team members. If you ignore it and don’t use it, they will do the same.

• Putting the requirement into your project documents will help ensure everyone knows you are serious.

• Having senior management remind everyone that you want 100 percent participation in this month’s scorecard — and convey that it is an important part of your project’s success — will get people to complete the scorecard.

• Monitoring and acknowledging those who are completing the scorecard will reinforce its value. Monitoring those who are not completing the scorecard will help ensure they will complete it next time.

Tip #2: Create an Atmosphere of Trust

• Your partnering effort is designed to develop a culture of trust and collaboration. This fosters the open, honest atmosphere that will allow your scorecard to reflect the good, the bad, and the ugly that occur on your project. The truth will set you free — free to work on what is needed to succeed.

• Trust happens when you foster certainty that you will be fair and resolve issues before they grow into problems or disputes. To have the most meaningful partnering and scorecard program takes commitment. Your actions show your commitment.

• Trust can be built over time, but it is highly predictable that your expectations define your relationships. So, check yourself to make sure you are not defensive, protective, or hostile toward your teammates. You will define the atmosphere and it will heavily influence your results.

Tip #3: Understand the Tool

• The partnering scorecard is a snapshot in time of what is occurring on your project and allows you to measure your team’s effectiveness and the ability to achieve your project’s goals.

• Orienting your team members to the partnering scorecard and its importance can go a long way in overcoming barriers to its use.

Tip #4: Evaluate Your Results

• Your scorecard will be emailed to everyone on your project team each month, but you have to evaluate what the scores mean. This can easily be done during a regular weekly project meeting.

• Look at any scores where you have a “1” or “2” as these indicate negative momentum. These are where the team is feeling frustrated or where issues are emerging. Focusing on these areas will help a great deal.

• Look at your scores in the “3s”. These are OK, and with a little focus might be able to achieve a “4” or better. This will grow your positive momentum dramatically!

Tip #5: Correct the Course

• Resolving issues where the team is stuck or they are feeling frustrated is your top priority and needs to happen before the next scorecard if possible. You can secure the help of an outside partnering facilitation firm for this if needed.

• Elevating issues up the chain of command is needed and should not be put off because you want to hold on to the decision. Get a decision and move on.

• Set deadlines and keep them. This will create trust and grow your predictability. The issues do not predict your success or failure: It is how the team deals with the issues that speaks to the predict-ability. Correct your course so the team stays together and gains positive momentum!

What Will the Future Hold?

Woody Allen said, “We are all interested in the future, because that is where we are all going to spend our lives.” Think about using a partnering scorecard to help you predict how you and your project team will be spending your future time. Will it be celebrating the building of great things? Or, fighting over project disputes because things didn’t turn out as hoped?

About the Author:

Sue Dyer is president of OrgMetrics LLC, the author of Partner Your Project, and a recognized thought leader on collaboration in construction. Dyer just launched Partnering FIT, a training program using new virtual training technology that allows her to include 30 years of lessons-learned and make them available to you and your teams any time, any place, 24/7. For more information, contact: Sue Dyer,

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