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Revolutionary Change in Construction: Share Your Bold Story of Innovation

Posted on November 27, 2017 in General Industry - 0

The construction industry is facing disruption. Like any industry facing sweeping change, we can either choose to innovate and surpass expectations — or we can sit back and let the shift overcome our businesses.

Stephen Mulva and CII recently unveiled a draft Manifesto calling for transformational change in our industry (see below). Continuum Advisory Group has been a proud partner in this effort, coordinating workshops throughout the country that have provided input for this Manifesto. These discussions have also laid the groundwork for the 2018 CURT Owner Trends Study.

To further drive this change, we now invite leaders to share their stories of bold and innovative strategies to achieve success. We want to hear more about transparency, trust, under-funding of R&D, and fragmentation. We also want to hear how your team is overcoming these challenges. If you have a story of bold and innovative strategies in project execution, we want to feature it! We also welcome nominations from throughout the construction industry.

This information and study will tie into the 2018 CURT National Conference theme of Leading Strategies to Optimize Project Outcomes and will highlight the stories of owners that demonstrated excellence in a variety of areas.

We can lead this change or be overcome by it. We can achieve improvements in cost, schedule, quality, and safety performance results to support the needs of our citizens. We gathered some of your stories at the recent CURT November member meetings in Atlanta. Please continue to share your stories with us. Contact Kelcey at khenderson[at]continuumag.com.

Together, we can move our industry forward.

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2017 CURT Owners Study: Owner/Contractor Relationships

Posted on November 18, 2017 in Owners - 0

This year’s CURT (Construction Users Roundtable) conference was centered around a simple idea: excellence in total project performance. But like any great idea, the steps to bring it to life can be far from simple.

Our annual owners study seeks to outline those steps and figure out how great owners have already made progress. This year’s study explores the key ingredients of project excellence and how to bring it to life.

In our last installment, we looked internally at lean processes and tools. Lean and similar methodologies have a definite impact on your scheduling and budget, but you shouldn’t ignore external factors! That’s why today we’re looking at the ever-important owner-contractor relationship.

What Makes a Good Owner-Contractor Relationship?

To get the full picture, we asked the same question to both A/E/C and owner teams: what sets high excellence owners or A/E/C partners apart?

The results are similar, with the most-desired attributes centering around communication. Both sides want transparency, which streamlines problem solving and mitigates cost overruns. That further contributes to an atmosphere of trust, which helps eliminate micromanagement and other hurdles that lower morale and stymie innovation.

That idea of communication births long-term, fruitful partnerships. Owners, in particular, expressed the desire for long-term relationships with contractors they can depend on. Contractors also desire less transactional relationships, preferring to be seen as part of a team.

The Millenial Perspective

In Fall 2016, a workshop at the CURT Young Professionals Summit asked similar questions. The results showed a great deal of overlap between the mindset of the next generation of construction and  our 2017 findings.

  1. Protect Each Other: there’s a win-win spirit in a good owner/contractor relationship, one where both businesses help each other. Contractors can act as “trusted advisors” for owners.
  2. Clear Communication: especially relevant given our 2017 findings, young professionals want openness. For contractors, this means letting owners know early of planning changes; for owners, it means giving contractors an explanation for losing RFPs. A major theme was to stop “sandbagging,” or not putting one’s full capabilities forward.
  3. Clear Expectations: for contractors, this means that owners need to be willing to hear feedback on any unrealistic expectations for a project. Such misunderstandings can cause huge delays, balloon budgets, and sour owner/contractor relationships.
  4. Pre-Planning: the big issue here is time. Owners and contractors both want more upfront time to get on the same page. This arguably helps with items 2 and 3, as it deliberately carves out time to set expectations and goals.

You can read the full study here.

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2017 CURT Owners Study: A Culture of Excellence

Posted on October 30, 2017 in Owners - 0

This year’s CURT (Construction Users Roundtable) conference was centered around a simple idea: excellence in total project performance. But like any great idea, the steps to bring it to life can be far from simple.

Our annual owners study seeks to outline those steps and figure out how great owners have already made progress. This year’s study explores the key ingredients of project excellence and how to bring it to life.

In our last installment, we defined project excellence and its effects on an organization. Today we’re going to look at one of its greatest starting points: your company culture. We interviewed owners and identified four clear, actionable principles of excellence-friendly culture.

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Introduction to Continuum Advisory Group’s Lean/ITP Series

Posted on September 15, 2017 in Lean, Owners - 1

Two of Continuum Advisory Group’s Senior Consultants, Nate Scott and Kelcey Henderson, just returned from an 11 day trip to India.  Outside of it being a wild, unique adventure for both, full of many cows and heart-pounding traffic experiences, there was excellent progress made with one of Continuum Advisory Group’s global, multi-billion dollar clients. The challenge for Nate and Kelcey? Introduce Continuum Advisory Group’s proprietary Integrated Team Performance (ITP) processing addition to various Lean tactics, to a multicultural Indian-based construction team responsible for the construction of a large manufacturing facility.

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2017 CURT Owners Study: Defining Project Excellence

Posted on August 15, 2017 in Owners - 0

This year’s CURT (Construction Users Roundtable) national conference was centered around a simple idea: excellence in total project performance. But like any great idea, bringing it to life can be far from simple.

Our annual owners study seeks to outline the path and figure out how great owners have already made progress. This year’s study explores the key ingredients of project excellence and how to bring it to life.

We start with a core question: what is project excellence?

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E/C/F and A/E/C Competition: Benchmarking

Posted on July 26, 2017 in General Industry - 0

The purpose of owner E/C/F (Engineering, Construction, and Facilities) teams may seem obvious: build stuff so that business happens. You wouldn’t be wrong, in the same way that a computer’s purpose is to “do math fast.”

The strategic benefits of that team can be harder to identify. Continuum Advisory Group recently completed a study to uncover these benefits and interview people changing the relationship between E/C/F and the internal clients they serve. Above all, we want to show others how.

In our new blog series, we’ll be exploring the results of the study in greater depth. Each blog is focused on one of the eight identified themes from our interviews with 35 diverse corporations.

In our previous installment, we talked about how to benchmark, especially against external competitors. Today for our final installment, we’ll talk about another external source you should lean on: your architecture, engineering, and construction providers (A/E/C.)

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The Importance of Alignment

Posted on May 20, 2017 in Owners - 0

One of the core beliefs of Continuum Advisory Group is alignment. Put simply, alignment is all stakeholders in an organization being on the same page. Sometimes its scope is smaller – a two-person partnership, a business unit, or a project team – but the ideas of uniformity and consistency remain the same.

In construction, such alignment is particularly important. Our projects require communication with dispersed internal departments and external vendors, many of whom don’t operate within the same processes.

Today we’re discussing a successful story of alignment, this one from the petrochemical sector. It comes courtesy of Petrochemical Update, and begins in Mexico.

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A Framework for Developing Agility

Posted on April 19, 2017 in General Industry - 0

Looking at organizational agility is like looking at a spider web. The first level of observation is an entire, beautiful creation, a single unit. It’s just there; you don’t think much about how it was actually built. But look closer at the linkages and threads, and suddenly it seems impossible to create.

Micromanagement of your organization is both impractical and undesirable. You can’t build every corner of it yourself, but you can build the builders. We think our three strategies below – based on the results from our 2016 CURT Owner Trends Study – can help.

It’s important to note that this framework, like the agility it aims for, is not absolute. Your organization has its unique idiosyncrasies. But these should get you and your builders moving in the right direction.

Scanning and Planning

Successful interviewees for our study have one thing in common: vision. While day-to-day operations and lean processes are important, they keep their eyes on possibilities. Kim Flowers (former VP of New Generation Projects and Construction for Southern Company) highlighted Southern Company’s  scenario planning team, a group of people who envision and plan for hypothetical futures. If one of those futures comes true, Southern Company is ready to act.

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