Katherine Bew, Managing Director of the international built-environment consultancy, PCSG, continues her series of Guest Blogs to explain how a fresh approach to project delivery at Sellafield is unlocking benefits at the UK’s largest and most complex nuclear site.

Hello again! In last week’s blog post we looked at the importance of having Aligned Outcomes and how that links directly to the Shared Purpose of the project, which in turn is designed to meet the business needs of the organisations involved.

This week we will be looking in depth at the Outcome Based Contracting (OBC) Toolkit’s third (of four) cornerstones – One Team Approach.

Figure 1: The four cornerstones of Sellafield’s OBC approach

All projects have their challenges. It is how teams respond to these challenges that matter.

The Outcome Based Contracting (OBC) approach pioneered at Sellafield recognises that establishing and consistently promoting the optimum behaviours and culture – the ability to have the ‘difficult’ conversations in a mature, constructive way for example – is a fundamental part of the successful delivery of projects.

It is enshrined as one of the four cornerstones of the OBC Toolkit, developed by Sellafield’s Project Facilitation Team, comprising PCSG, Nuclear Technologies and Enkom, to provide a tool which will help project teams deliver works successfully using the OBC mechanism, long into the future.

The ‘One Team Approach’ cornerstone centres on establishing and developing, from the off, the right culture for successful delivery – one in which everyone is aligned, shares a common purpose and is equipped with an understanding of the importance of adhering to collaborative behaviours. PCSG’s ‘High Performance Team’ model, as illustrated in Figure 2, is central to this approach.

 But what are the three core principles needed for this one team approach as defined in the new OBC toolkit?

The first core principle is to provide continuous leadership based on outcomes and relationships.

Project leaders should possess a strong purpose, be outcome orientated and good at building relationships. Acting as role models, their inclusive approach invites input, they will listen to the contributions of others and encourage innovation. They make best use of competencies within the team, know when guidance is needed and when to give ownership to others.

The second core principle is to operate as a high-performance team with shared values and behaviours.

Under the OBC approach, team members are selected as much for their alignment to the shared values and behaviours and OBC mindset as for their technical competence and project experience. By playing to individual strengths, the team achieves optimal performance and builds synergies.

At Sellafield the core team has been co-located throughout Phases 1 and 2 and found this readily builds engagement and open lines of communication with all stakeholders, enabling teams to negotiate win-wins more readily.

The third core principle is to use a dynamic joint problem-solving approach.

A dynamic, collaborative approach to problem-solving helps reduce risk and enables smoother, faster project delivery. Clearly, there is always risk, but teams that work closely together are better positioned to solve problems and then learn from experience to aid de-risking activities on future projects.

Overall, our One Team Approach brings together the right people from different, varied disciplines

(e.g. some strategic, some more practical) to resolve issues. Teams need to share common values and be good at listening to each other while leaders show appreciation of people’s input and time and give praise when praise is due.

Workshops facilitated by PCSG were designed to set Phase 2 of the pilot project up for success. PCSG’s behavioural specialist, Dr Julie Bullen and I worked with the integrated team to help bring to life the practical realities of how the ‘One Team Approach’ could manifest on the ground and help focus attention on the all-important timely delivery of the project outcomes.

The integrated team has worked through challenges that have arisen and learnt valuable lessons as to how, by working together as ‘One Team’, we can achieve the best results. These lessons are being captured and shared with Sellafield’s supply chain for the benefit of future projects.

The scale of progress – and the demonstration of what teams can achieve when everyone buys-in to this collaborative, one-team approach – has been thrilling to see at Sellafield. I hope the guidance and learning provided in the OBC Toolkit provide valuable guidance for other teams embarking on their journey.


Read Katherine’s first blog in the series

Read Katherine’s second blog in the series

Read Katherine’s third blog in the series

Read Katherine’s Final blog in the series


PCSG-strapline-CMYKKatherine Bew is Managing Director of PCSG – a leading built-environment consultancy.

PCSG is focused on delivering sustainable outcomes through digitisation and effective use of resources. From its bases in the UK and Australia, PCSG is a trusted partner to some of the biggest names in industry. PCSG helps clients to deliver, operate and optimise their built assets – solving key business issues, unlocking value, building resilience and helping transform the way they do business.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and feedback by commenting on this blog, sharing on our social media feeds or by contacting Katherine directly at: katherine.bew@pcsg.co.uk.