A comprehensive research study conducted by the Construction Industry Institute reported that the two most important contributors to project success are front end loading (FEL) and team development.

FEL has to do with the "hard" or technical aspects of the project. FEL defines the concept for the project, the project economic rationale or feasibility, and the depth and breadth of the project scope.

Team building and team development concern the "soft" aspects of a project — the activities and initiatives undertaken to help a group of individuals work effectively together and produce superior project results. When people are combined into teams, the results can be highly unpredictable. Even teams with great people and great skills can be unsuccessful. The ultimate success or failure of a project is often strongly linked to the way in which project leaders and the project team handle the soft issues. In fact, it has often been said that "the soft stuff is really the hard stuff."

In intelligent energy projects involving experts, team members and practitioners across distance and function, teamwork challenges can be magnified. Finding ways to build alignment, and productive collaboration in a complex project environment can require dedicated effort and, if not done properly, can have detrimental effects on team and project success.

This paper presents:

  • A definition and assessment of successful teams

  • Principles for a well-designed team

  • Team development—start with trust, end with trust; everything else goes in the middle

    • Trust always affects two outcomes: speed and cost.

    • Building a collaborative team

  • Addressing team challenges

  • Case Study: Digital oilfield solution project team

  • Transportable lessons

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