4 tips for submitting to project awards

Alain Mignot
May 11, 2011

How do award contenders craft their submission to tell a compelling story of how the team accomplished outstanding, award-winning achievements in the face of technical difficulty, program complexity and other challenges?

How do judging panels choose those award submissions worthy of industry accolade at fancy dinner events, glossy coverage in industry media and for proud display in office trophy cabinets?

To shed some light, we’ve gathered some insights from the judging panel charged with selecting this year’s best alliance project and long-term program and service alliances, as well as the award for outstanding industry leadership.

To choose the winners, six judges will assess written submissions, references and accompanying videos, as well as interview shortlisted teams and making a final selection. The judges include two client representatives, one design and two construction engineering senior industry leaders as well as a leading academic with a special interest in collaborative contracting.

All have had significant alliancing involvement and have a passion for ensuring collaborative contracting is recognised for its value in project/program delivery. Together they provide an understanding of what constitutes value for money for clients, construction benchmark achievements, successful team integration and innovation. Robust discussion is a given, but there is always alignment on who the final winners will be.

Here are their tips:

1. Respond to the evaluation criteria

Make sure your moments of truth, evidence and proofs are tailored to the criteria clearly outlined in the award submission forms. While it is useful to cut and paste material from previous awards, make sure it is relevant, fresh and truly outstanding. Take the idea and rewrite it to reflect the intention of the award program.

In the case of the alliancing awards, our purpose is to evolve the practice of alliancing and take it to the next level of excellence and effectiveness. Contextualise your response for the award category and evaluation criteria. And don’t forget to structure the submission with the criteria weightings in mind.

Shortlisted submissions will participate in a 30-minute telephone interview, so select the right mix of people who can respond to the criteria and contribute in the timeframe allowed.

2. It’s all about people

In relation to the video, judges gain great value in hearing from team members about how they achieved their outcomes. Think authenticity, enthusiasm and pride. Show off the team cohesion, leadership, integrity, passion and commitment to doing a great job. This includes interviews with team members from across the board, not just project leaders, providing examples of how team leadership and synergies solved the challenges.

Touch on innovation involved and accomplished, stakeholder integration into the efforts with their testimonials to support the story. It’s not about the project or its size, although showing how complex or wicked the project is will set up the framework for appreciating the team’s accomplishments. Concrete pouring, constructing rebar grids and pretty pictures of beautiful landscaping won’t work as well to tell your team story.

3. Use objective data

Avoid generalisations such as ‘ahead of time and under budget’. Be specific about how much time and cost saving was achieved, how this compares with the estimate and benchmark projects. Actual outcomes, performance scores and quotes from the client and stakeholders will support your case.

4. Be concise

In this case, the judging panel wants to see five pages of plain text only. Stick to the page limit and don’t provide excessive support material. The judges do not want to see a marketing document. If the submission does not tell the story within the limit and format, it is missing the mark.

The panel will choose from projects vying for the industry’s peak annual alliancing award presented by the Alliancing Association of Australasia. The award submission period is open now until Friday 1 July 2011, with the final award winners announced at this year’s national alliancing convention in Brisbane, Australia on 18 October 2011.

To find out more about these awards, see www.alliancingassociation.org > Programs and Events.

What insights do you gain from the award submission process?

Author avatar
Alain Mignot
Alain Mignot is the executive director and co-founder of the Alliancing Association of Australasia (AAA), a not-for-profit, independent, cross-sector initiative connecting the infrastructure industry to create better projects.
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