Hans Versteeg

Freelance Piling/Civil and HSE Specialist.

Written by: on 1 September 2011 @ 16:15

In the past years I have become increasingly convinced that construction really is a team sport: the individual players may be very good indeed but without passing the ball the goal will never be reached!

Of course the reverse is also true: even though the individual players work together as a team, as long as they do not master the basic techniques of building, the goal will never be reached….It becomes really dramatic if players without qualities and without any sense of teamwork are “in the field”; in that case the game is lost beforehand!

In order to work together as a team, a line-up must be made before the beginning of the match: which players will be selected and on what positions? This must be clear to everyone, players should be able to find each other blindly!! During a football match there is a fifteen minutes’ break after 45 minutes of play, this is clear to everyone.

All in all, these matters  seem very logical. In many workmen’s huts  the matches of the past week  are discussed on Monday mornings  and, considering these comments, everyone knows exactly  which mistakes were made by whom and what action should be taken by the trainer/coach. Unfortunately, all those things that are considered as natural and logical in sports, very often seem to go wrong in practice. I have always believed that large, well-known organisations that execute enormous projects throughout the world, open a drawer at the beginning of each project where a ready-made “line-up” is waiting. However, by now I have learnt that this is far from the truth! The agreements and conditions that we all experience as natural and necessary, are not so natural in practice!

In one of my last projects, nine months after the start of the project the question was asked whom of the workers had access to the project server. The number of “players” that raised their hands was less than 30%(!!) of the team members. In the same project it turned out that the distribution of “hard copy” drawings was not properly organised  either. Due to a combination of both factors, nine months after the start of the project there were still many people who did not have access to the relevant drawings while they were supposed to be working on the basis of these drawings each day!

As already mentioned, a football match is interrupted after 45 minutes to give the players fifteen minutes of rest, in the building industry this is of course also necessary. In large (industrial) projects building goes on constantly. In these projects it is more logical to decide beforehand which workers rest at certain times so that there will always be enough players left “to keep the ball going”. 

In the project  described above, it was discovered three days before the temporary absence of some workers, that at a certain moment, none of the key players would be present …..In that case you start wondering if a project organisation that is not capable of guaranteeing  the basic conditions for the game will be able to finish the game at all. In this way, a good outcome is lost anyhow!

An organisation playing in the Champions League should be expected to bring a better team to the match!


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Catogories: Management

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