Integrated Project Delivery (IPD): Implementation & Tools

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IPD Expert Daniel Drouin

This is the second of a two-part Q&A on Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) with Daniel Drouin, who delivers direction and oversight through targeted workshops, training modules, IPD tools and process development, and contract execution. He is a recognized leader in integrated project delivery (IPD) responsible for facilitating a suite of advisory services for collaborative-focused clients.

Q: How should an organization go about implementing IPD?  

Drouin: Organizations should research to make sure they understand what IPD is and make that the contractual model is aligned with their business model. Research could consist of attending conferences, webinars, reading case studies and research. There are a lot of videos and podcasts that can also be helpful. However, if the organization does not have the time and resources to study all of the documentation, hiring a specialized IPD consultant to assess its readiness to jump into the IPD journey, could move things along for a reasonable fee. 

Q: Is the process difficult?  

Drouin: If you are an owner, the process requires availability from the leadership group, to assess their capability and capacity to support their project management team in such a delivery model. Also, procurement, legal, and risk management will require a certain level of assessment and understanding of IPD, often it is between these groups that we find the strongest barriers.  

The client group or operations, people that will operate and maintain the building will be part of several collaborative workshops to ensure they communicate their needs and concerns regarding the project. And, last but not least, the project management will require a minimum of information and training with the assessment as their role will completely change during the IPD project.   

The assessment is focused not on supporting but more on the management skills and soft skills, as in IPD projects success is often attributed to the people leading and working in the project. Furthermore, owner representatives will no longer be able to manage 30-40 projects at the same time as done traditionally, the time commitment required for an owner project manager will be full-time. 

If you are looking to become a partner, therefore you are an architect, designer general contractor or specialized trade, and time is limited to do research, the same type of assessment can be done, however some of the criteria are different. 

  

Q: How do digital tools play a role in IPD? 

Drouin: Before the beginning of the 2019 pandemic IPD was known to have analogic visual management and was very successful, during the pandemic multiple tools were created and tested, many where unsuccessful, and some were valuable for projects by providing a platform for collaboration, communication, and decision-making.  

By using digital tools, teams can easily share and access project documents, collaborate in real-time on tasks, and track progress. Digital tools can also be used for automated reporting, which allows teams to quickly identify and address issues that arise during the project.  

Additionally, digital tools can be used to support virtual meetings, providing a platform for remote teams to engage in meaningful dialogue. 

  

Q: What does an IPD team advisor do and what are the benefits of working with one? 

Drouin: The role of project team advisor has evolved over the years as the increasing complexities of contractual commitments have led organizations to seek more advice in order to be more informed and knowledgeable about the procurement, design, and construction processes. In the past few years, in IPD projects the project team advisor role has been filled by the Construction Management (CM) or Project Management (PM) role, as well as by various design professionals.  

However, the role has largely developed within collaborative project delivery models in which the designer and general contractor have direct contractual relationship, making full collaboration between the parties much more important.  

With IPD increasingly becoming a project delivery method of choice, we see project teams, including owners at two ends of a very broad spectrum. On one end project teams may be hesitant to make the transition to IPD because they lack essential knowledge and/or access to professionals, either in-house or on a consulting basis, to help successfully guide them. At the other end of the spectrum are more experienced project teams delivering more complex projects.  

 Among the most valuable benefits that the project team advisor will bring to the team are: 

  • Formulating and maintaining an integrated and cohesive team.  
  • Identifying, managing, and fostering healthy and collaborative relationships. 
  • Creating an environment of trust and collaboration characterized by the ability to create program/project alliance and build a common purpose. 
  • Helping the project team to establish a vision and motivate others. 
  • Helping the owner promote and build one team (One Team — One Goal) 
  • Guiding and creating consensus with all the stakeholders (internal and external) on the project definition, intent, design, cost, and schedule.  
  • Guiding a facilitative formal partner approach to identify and resolve issues.  
  • Recognizing and addressing any potential breakdowns. 

  

This includes fostering open communication, working collaboratively as a team and conflict avoidance/resolution.  

With honed facilitative skills the project team advisor will have the ability to guide and facilitate:  

  • Teambuilding and alignment of owner’s objectives and expectations 
  • Procurement process 
  • Commitment to put the project first 
  • Stakeholder facilitation  


Other important skills and knowledge include: 

  • Integrated project delivery skills including training on tools and processes that consist of design-build, target value design, construction, continuous estimating, planning, Last Planner System®, collaboration, and communication tools.  


The combination of the skillsets above provides the foundation for project team advisor success.  

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