Why Joint Ventures Mean Real Collaborative Working

Collaborative and partnership working is a goal for many organisations. Many  projects are impossible to deliver without several partners committing their resources and expertise. The big challenge is often how to move partnership working from ad-hoc to becoming structurally embedded.

Research shows that large construction projects are at risk of being delivered late and over budget. It’s a reasonable supposition that better collaboration between organisations delivering the project would help to keep things on track. But in the heated atmosphere of project delivery, good intentions can come under strain.

Joint ventures are different from informal collaborations because they demand discipline, openness and shared goals if they are to work. It is a physical, financial and legal commitment to working together in the best interests of the project.

First of all, for a joint venture to work there has to be a reasonably good alignment of business cultures. Furthermore, there has to be agreement about strategy, plans, project goals and execution. It’s much more than shaking hands and hoping that the details will get worked out during the course of the project.

Effective joint ventures also depend on mutual respect and trust. Partners are open about strengths and weaknesses and help each other to plug skills gaps to build the strongest possible project team. They also commit ideas and creativity freely to the project rather than being tempted to ‘guard what they know.’

Because there is shared responsibility for successful delivery, there’s also a real incentive for partners to pitch in and help if things look like going off track.

Forming a joint venture isn’t an easy option and is never entered in to lightly. And sometimes it’s uncomfortable to trust your performance to another organisation. But because the upfront commitment is so significant, this often guarantees that collaboration, teamwork and better project outcomes are what the customer will experience.