When a new project arrives into a design office much work has already been done. It is a complex process of preparation. The brief has to be understood explicitly, the deliverables have to be identified, skills gaps identified and programmes created to hit the target dates. Without being churlish the cost to client is needed and often a commercial department will cast its eye and bend the cost according to the prevailing financial constraints of both the market and the company along with risk aversion considerations.
At the point of handover a gap analysis is done to identify any changes so the deliverables can be reassessed and where necessary new budgets or early warnings can by issued. All this becomes the embryo for the designers to work from.
Work can start as everyone knows what is expected of them, where they fit into the scheme of work, what they have to produce and the design relationship their work has with other designers to ensure coherent delivery.
If any of the above is not in place, or people are not informed at the start or, the real killer, not informed of changes along the way then the tower will crash.
In my experience only lip service is paid to spirit of teams and what they have to offer so the order of the day is to look after number one.