Collaboration: How would you score on a behavioural assessment?

Gone are the days of working in your project silo of technical expertise, valuing processes and tools over individuals and interactions. Collaboration is now recognised as a critical contributor to success in complex infrastructure projects.

Collaboration is much more than a resource box to tick that the chosen few can look after. It is a culture that must be evident in every project interaction and decision. It is a way of doing things built on emerging relational practices that foster mutual trust and respect. It is a shared commitment and confidence in striving to achieve common goals and value creation.

While this core behavioural competence is used in nearly every environment today, from hospitals to classrooms to construction sites, it can still be challenging for projects to grasp the level of collaboration needed to achieve real success. An interesting research paper on this very topic hit my desk recently, and it got me thinking.


How would our clients score on a behavioural assessment?

It is a confronting question, but one that needs to be asked given that collaborative behaviour assessments can account for up to 20 percent of the overall evaluation of an alliance bid for complex project contracts (Plimmer, 2016).

The answer lies in careful consideration and evaluation of the project-related, customer engagement, project culture and stakeholder/community involvement practices that are in place. Can they be tweaked to build and maintain that shared mindset and collaborative behaviour?

For example, have you considered the strategic co-location of partners, integrated programme generation, joint forecasting, and joint risk scenario planning for the project-related practices? Are contractors involved sufficiently early? Do you measure and share collaborative behaviours and value creation? Do you consistently facilitate transparent connections through workshops, celebrations, and war room crisis meetings?

Achieving a genuine culture of collaboration in a complex project takes an uncompromising commitment to foster and embed the necessary behaviours with intent and a concerted, ongoing effort to maintain momentum. Collaboration is not a ‘set and forget’. It takes time, effort and dedication from everyone involved. Ultimately though, it is the key to complex project success.





Chakkol, M., Selviaridis, K., & Finne, M. (2017). The governance of collaboration in complex projects. Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

Plimmer, G. (2016). Bidders for HS2 contracts tested for their best behaviour. The Financial Times. Retrieved 18 November 2020, from