CHAPTER 20Level 3: Systems (Relating/Collaboration)

Level 3 of the Project Design Controls framework houses the human/relational systems. (See Figure 20.1) We call them “systems” because they have complex moving parts and represent the framework's “communication,” “circulatory,” “personal,” and “spiritual” systems. But unlike building and machine systems such as HVAC and electricity, these human systems factors rely on complex moving parts such as relationships, trust, and people to work.

Illustration of a “collaborating” Project Control Level 3: "Systems" (Relating) in place.

FIGURE 20.1 Level 3: “Systems” (Relating/Collaborating).

Owner, Architect, Contractor: The Team

People come first, because without them, there is no judgment, expertise, or communication. Get to know the people on your team personally and professionally. Treat them as someone you value. Maybe they'll do the same for you. Make time for people and renew and refresh your efforts periodically. Invest in after-hours social time. It pays off. Trade organizational charts to ensure you know who they are and what they do. Invest in their preferences and accommodate them. Give.


No matter how well planned, organized, and documented your structural controls are, if the team doesn't have trust, the tangible factors are worthless. No one will believe or use them. Earn your teammates' trust. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable, admit when you've made a mistake, or need help.

Trust must be earned. ...

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