Fostering Collaboration and Learning in Project Definition: A Case Study in Workplace Planning

Michael Whelton1, Ari Pennanen2 & Glenn Ballard3

1Ph.D., Engineering & Project Management Program, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, USA, whelton@cal.berkeley.edu
2Ph.D., Department of Architecture, University of Tampere, Finland. Project Manager and Workplace Planner, Haahtela Oy, Helsinki, Finland, ari.pennanen@haahtela.fi
3Associate Adjunct Professor, Engineering & Project Management Program, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, USA, ballard@ce.berkeley.edu

Abstract

Effective project definition requires process conditions to support group collaboration and learning. This paper presents a case study showing how a project definition methodology provides such conditions. The case was selected because it offered the opportunity to compare traditional architectural programming with an alternative workplace planning approach. Traditional programming was not successful in controlling project needs within budget constraints and failed to produce a cost-feasible definition. The workplace planning approach was successful. The study shows how project stakeholders were enabled to work within project constraints. The case study shows the group learning about their various needs and the ability to fulfil those needs within project constraints. This study demonstrates a set of management practices that engage multiple stakeholders in collaboration that resolves the purpose of projects, often in environments where collaboration was not evident before. The ability of the workplace planner to steer the problem solving process is instrumental in facilitating group learning and the group's ability to make innovative changes in their operational functions and, in the workplaces required to perform those functions. Future research is proposed to develop and generalize the project definition methodology.

Keywords

Collaboration, customer needs analysis, dialogue, emergence, learning, project definition, purpose, shared understanding, value generation, workplace planning.

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Reference

Whelton, M. , Pennanen, A. & Ballard, G. 2004, 'Fostering Collaboration and Learning in Project Definition: A Case Study in Workplace Planning' In:, Bertelsen, S. & Formoso, C.T., 12th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Helsingør, Denmark, 3-5 Aug 2004.

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