One of the central tenets of integrated project teams is the distribution of leadership responsibility and decision-making power to the most able individual, or organization. On many design-build and IPD projects, this is achieved through the creation of cross-functional teams (CFTs). Each CFT is tasked with planning, designing, and constructing a specific scope or building system, while working within the project budget and coordinating with other teams across disciplinary boundaries. The result is a network of smaller teams, or clusters, that are interdependent with one another, yet operate nearly autonomously. Since CFTs are still an emerging form of organization in the delivery of capital building facilities, there is an urgent need to identify proven practices for guiding the efforts of multiple semi-autonomous teams toward the a set of shared project goals. The purpose of this research is identify a “recipe” for the successful implementation and management of CFTs in the construction industry. The results will be developed into a resource, envisioned as a playbook for owners, designers, and contractors, that will highlight tactics reliably found to improve the performance of integrated project teams.
M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management (Doctoral Scholarship Award)
This research uses qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to identify the necessary conditions and sufficient pathways for cross-functional teams to create improved project performance. This analysis uses data from 10 case studies of completed design-build and IPD projects. For each case, a combination of survey and semi-structured interview data is calibrated to a fuzzy set scale, representing the degree to which the project team demonstrated desirable conditions. These conditions included adequate team size, close physical proximity, strong senior management support, and clear goal specification, among others. Measures of project performance included cost growth, schedule growth and attainment of sustainability goals. The QCA methods use set-based algorithms to identify those necessary conditions or combinations of sufficient conditions found in projects with improved performance. Following the analysis, specific examples of tactics employed by team members to create those necessary conditions are identified to inform the playbook and support repeatable success.