Project Collaboration Toolkit

The ECITB’s Project Collaboration Toolkit (Edition 3) supports collaborative working relationships across the engineering construction sector. The toolkit offers advice and guidance to companies looking to work together more efficiently.  The toolkit shares industry best practice and guides clients, contractors and other supply chain organisations on joint working.

Originally designed for the offshore oil and gas sector, the toolkit has now been used on several projects where pooled resources and shared skills and expertise have improved efficiency and provided a wide range of benefits.

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The ECITB Project Collaboration Toolkit (PCT) 3rd Edition is a practical guide for the project management community. It is designed to enhance collaboration and improve project delivery performance across all UK engineering construction and industry sector communities.

The PCT is directed at project managers and project management personnel within organisations that:

  • have a clear vision and understanding of the challenges that a collaborative project strategy will present.
  • have full commitment to a collaborative strategy from their boards / leadership teams.
  • are prepared to provide organisational development effort.
  • select the right combination of other organisations and people that can work together in a collaborative and complimentary manner to achieve specific project delivery objectives.

The Toolkit can be used to support project collaboration from inception to completion but individual phase steps and activities can be applied by project managers to projects which have not been established on a collaborative strategy.

The ECITB Project Collaboration Toolkit provides guidance on actions to achieve, or improve, collaboration. It assumes organisational leadership and support for a collaborative project strategy are in place and that continuous organisational development and support for the people involved will be provided throughout.

Although the Toolkit inevitably provides some description of ‘how’ certain activities should be approached, it should not be viewed as additional project management process.  It is also worth noting that not all projects lend themselves to a collaborative approach.

There has been ongoing debate in UK industry for some time around the most effective contracting relationships.

The Project Management community recognises there is an appetite for greater collaborative working throughout the industry.

The  level of collaboration for a particular contract should correlate to the risk profile of the work and the way the customer chooses to execute it.

Frame services contracts are, by their nature, quite collaborative as they relate to supporting the ongoing production and integrity for the assets involved.

Individual work packages could be quite “commodity” based and executed swiftly and efficiently, subject to a sensible agreed scope.

Larger projects promote the need for greater collaboration, as they are usually more strategic, with wider benefits being realised by the Operator and Contractor working together, with clearly defined roles.

Risk therefore plays a part in determining the extent of collaboration.

There is perhaps a rightful fear in the Operator community that ‘collaboration’ is some kind of code for Service providers having and easy contract with higher margin. This is not the intent.

A collaborative environment should be about the best people delivering the right work in an open and communicative environment, where risk and reward is shared appropriately.

It is as much about attitudes and behaviours with all personnel having the aligned view of what project success means. A collaborative project contract will have personnel working together to solve issues and to reduce cost. They will seek to deliver the end outcome in the minimum time possible.

Since 2016 the ECITB Project Collaboration Toolkit has been piloted against a number of real projects. These projects of different scope, size and complexity, have delivered a range of different experiences and benefits through the adoption of a collaborative delivery strategy. The outcomes and experiences of these projects have been captured in the case studies on this page.

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The entire toolkit can be used to support project collaboration from inception to completion but also individual phase steps and activities can be applied by project managers to projects which have not been established on a collaborative strategy

Toolkit Model: Phase 1 - 4

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WATCH: The toolkit explained

William Lindsay of Shell UK explains why project collaboration is necessary in the oil and gas industry.

William Lindsay of Shell UK sets out the background that prompted greater collaboration in the oil and gas industry.

William Lindsay of Shell UK describes how the ECITB’s  project collaboration toolkit came about.

Nicky Mason of Worley talks about the critical stakeholder relationship required to make collaboration work.

Nicky Mason of Worley explains how the toolkit is designed to aid effective collaboration.

Execute Collaborative Project

Following agreement and establishment of a collaborative project strategy and setting up the project for collaboration, the objective of this phase is the adoption of a collaborative approach to key project management operations during project execution.

3.1 Collaborative Schedule and Cost Control Processes

3.2 Stakeholder Risk & Reward – KPI Measurement

3.3 ‘”Single Team” Quality Monitoring & Assurance

3.4 “Single Team” Safety, Health & Environmental Management

3.5 Phase 3 – Review & Phase Learning


Close out and Learn

This phase will summarise the key learning points from the project, assess and measure project outcomes against the project objectives and agree forward intentions.

4.1 Evaluate Project Lessons Learned

4.2 Collaborative Lessons Learned Conference

4.3 Close Out Collaborative (Risk & Reward) Project Agreements

4.4 Review, Agree & Record Project Outcomes

4.5 Establish Basis for Future Project Collaborations

Project Collaboration Toolkit in action

The Project Collaboration Toolkit was created to help the UK industry improve its efficiency in a competitive global market by sharing skills and expertise to keep costs down. The following case studies demonstrate how the toolkit is working in practice.

Project collaboration as a catalyst for change: the view from industry

Project Collaboration Toolkit – Review Checklists

Monitor the progress of your project using the interactive Project Collaboration Toolkit review checklists for Phases 1, 2 & 3.


The Project Management Steering Group (PMSG)

The Project Management activities of the ECITB are led and supported by the Project Management Steering Group (PMSG), a voluntary team which was formed at the request of Industry in 2014. The PMSG works to encourage co-operation between businesses and organises conferences for industry to improve collaborative working.

Read more on the PMSG