Critical success factors in collaborative multi-disciplinary design projects

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore critical success factors (CSFs) in interdisciplinary building design projects from the view point of the project members themselves. While there is a plethora of research on CSFs, there is a paucity of studies that examine CSFs within this unique project context. Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured interviews, a survey and facilitated workshops were used to identify factors and their interrelationships within the project context. Findings –Thirty one primary CSFs were distilled which were then further grouped into four interdependent group factors: management factors, design team factors, competencies and resources factors and project enablers. It would appear that there are factors that are particularly important in such project environments, which do not figure strongly in other project environments. These factors are related to the socio-political dynamics of inter-disciplinary team work such as passion and enthusiasm, shared values, creativity and innovation and represent so called ‘super soft factors’ which reflect personal success and its importance in achieving positive project outcomes. Research limitations/implications – Although there has been significant research on critical success factors (CSF) in construction projects, little attention has been paid to those which are related to the collaborative design phase of such projects. Practical implications – The results suggest that it is worthwhile for managers in construction related organisations and beyond to recognise the interdependencies which exist between the project context, processes and the project members’ experience and affinity to the project and the team itself in project work to achieve desired outcomes. Originality/value – This paper extends the CSF literature by identifying the nature of the primary factors and their interrelationships which influence project outcomes in collaborative design projects.