While many papers talk about the benefits of Collaborative Work Environments (CWE), few have addressed the issues related to the design and implementation of the projects.

This paper covers the development of the NEB field CWE in Abu Dhabi Oil Company for Onshore Operations (ADCO), and addresses the experiences and learnings across all phases of the project. It addresses the development of the Smart Fields strategy and the planned coverage of CWEs across the producing field, the required IT infrastructure, the selection of applications and the development of workflows to support the CWEs and the significant project management and logistical challenges.

During the course of the project ADCO underwent a reorganization which aligned the company around its producing assets. The paper addresses the benefits that this change has made in implementing the CWE programme and highlights some of the change management issues faced by the team. Critical to the success of the project was to ensure staff quickly familiarized themselves with the new working environment and that a clear support structure was in place which could respond to technical problems and requests for assistance.

A key purpose of the paper is to share the acquired knowledge from implementing the project, covering both the successes and the challenges of overcoming bottlenecks, pitfalls and things that simply go wrong. In such, it provides the leadership practitioner with a balanced methodology of process and necessary soft skills to map out a road which manages the risks and avoids the potholes.

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