By Neal Flesner
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. We all witnessed this firsthand during the pandemic when old innovations were reimagined and new ones were created so essential businesses, like construction, could continue to operate. Many of these innovative ideas have improved the AEC industry for the better and will remain part of our normal course of business once the pandemic subsides.
One of the biggest hurdles Construction Partnering companies overcame during the pandemic was finding a way to conduct Partnering sessions with project teams when it wasn’t safe to meet in person. Cloud-based video communication technology and computer equipment effectively mitigated this challenge, and a new era of Virtual Partnering was born.
Sure, we miss seeing each other in person, as well as the coffee, baked goods, and bountiful lunch buffets we enjoyed during an in-person meeting, but have we been able to move the needle? Absolutely! Using Virtual Partnering delivery, projects were kicked off, completed, and turned around with velocity and more economically than before.
Not only has meeting remotely solved this immediate challenge, the “Virtual Partnering” model has proven incredibly efficient. Here’s why:
- Virtual Partnering saves time and money. Due to a variety of reasons, it’s not unusual to have people from more than four different time zones in one Partnering session. It’s much easier and more efficient to meet virtually with these distant team members than having them book hotels and fly around the globe multiple times throughout the course of the project. Not having to plan or pay for the venue, refreshments and other accoutrements needed for an in-person meeting also reduces costs and time.
- We’ve seen a 25% increase in meeting attendance since going virtual. Virtual Partnering accommodates the schedules of a busy and mobile construction workforce because the workshops and meetings can be attended from anywhere. This makes it easier than ever before for more project team members to participate. All a project stakeholder needs to attend the Virtual Partnering session is access to Wi-Fi and a computer or mobile device with a camera—common technology most any project team member already possesses.
- It works! VELO Group has conducted more than 200 Virtual Partnering Sessions and kicked off billion-dollar programs and projects during the pandemic. Based on the monthly Partnering surveys we conduct, and the goals achieved by these collaborative teams, projects utilizing Virtual Partnering are achieving impressive results. If an IPI Certified Facilitator is leading these meetings, project teams should realize the engagement and experience that will drive results whether meetings are held in person or online.
While we still believe there is a time and place for in-person meetings, such as for tough conversations and kick-off sessions, we’ve learned that not every Partnering meeting needs to be held with everyone in the same location. We envision the future as a mix of virtual and in-person gatherings, where the team decides which method is most efficient and effective. The point of Partnering is bringing people together to create a sum greater than the parts. We’ve proven that Virtual Partnering achieves this purpose and is one pandemic-inspired innovation that is here to stay.
Please reach out to me if you would like more information about our Virtual Partnering sessions: Neal@Velogroup.com or (310) 400-6521