Why the Navy Sees Value in Having a SmartStart®

by Balfour Beatty


Recognizing that eliminating as much waste as possible from the construction equation is mutually beneficial for clients and the company, Balfour Beatty methodically analyzes project performance to continuously hone best practices and improve processes. This analysis doesn’t stop with typical surface issues but goes deeper into the underlying causes such as poor planning, communication challenges, and ineffective meetings.
All parties are negatively impacted by this waste and inefficiency that ultimately hinders the creation of healthy construction teams. As a result of the ongoing analysis, Balfour Beatty developed SmartStart®, its proprietary process for developing high-performance teams and custom project strategies designed to maximize success.

Case Study: U.S. Navy

You would be hard-pressed to find an organization or team as regimented as the U.S. Navy. But, every now and again, they are willing to consider a new concept. One example took place recently with the start of a $24 million project in California. The Navy allowed Balfour Beatty to implement its SmartStart process in place of its standard procedure that usually includes a third-party consultant for the project kick-off.
What did they stand to gain from this change to their tried-and-true process? Standard partner kick-off sessions are usually only based on team-building and/or evaluating the technical aspects of a project. With SmartStart, Balfour Beatty looks at a project from a more holistic, comprehensive view. And, as a result, the team is best able to develop actionable strategies that address each of the issues the collective team has considered.
By implementing the SmartStart process, the team successfully worked with the Navy to evaluate the full spectrum of factors that would be important to consider on this project, including:

  1. Behavioral alignment of the team members;
  2. Optimizing value for the owners (including decision-making criteria and metrics);
  3. Establishing an agreed governance model to maintain accountability; and
  4. Assessing and addressing the technical requirements and potential challenges.

The shift to the SmartStart approach paid off for all parties involved. After the session, Navy representatives were so pleased with the experience, that they asked if Balfour Beatty would be willing to provide SmartStart facilitation for other projects in which they are working with other contractors, proving the proprietary process to be a true differentiator and value-added discipline for clients.