How refreshing to read David Mosey's article on the use of peer pressure rather than big sticks to manage a project schedule (2 June, page 49). My experience of partnering and collaborative ventures in the industry over the years is that peer pressure is a powerful tool for one simple reason: it's personal - there's nowhere to hide.
Contracts are what they are and we all know the reasons for their existence. The first thing they achieve is to get people to start behaving in the "third person". At that point "people" disappear behind a corporate front and begin servicing the contract rather than the project.
Let's be honest - our industry is complicated in terms of technology, design and logistics, but these are issues that we can deal with fairly readily given the right environment in which to work as a team. Problems can normally be solved cheaply and quickly if everyone round the table wants that to be the outcome.
The trick is just that - how do you get teams to work collaboratively? Answer - peer pressure within a single-agenda environment, managed by people. Not war within a multi-agenda battlefield set out by a contract.
Ray O'Rourke has thrown down the gauntlet to improve our site practices - is that likely to succeed if "offices" are still contractual battlefields? A few organisations are moving ahead with the collaborative agenda, and they will have an integrated and collaborative supply chain to deliver the enormous workload that sits in front of the industry. But will there be enough?
Mark Perkins, regional director, SES