Generally, relations between the organization carrying out a project and a subcontractor working on the project are best characterized as adversarial. The parent organization's objectives are to get the deliverable at the lowest possible cost, as soon as possible. The subcontractor's objectives are to produce the deliverable at the highest possible profit with the least effort. These conflicting interests tend to lead both parties to work in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and antagonism. Indeed it is almost axiomatic that the two parties will have significantly different ideas about the exact nature of the deliverable, itself. The concept of "partnering" hag been developed to replace this atmosphere with one of cooperation and mutual helpfulness.

In their excellent article on the subject, Cowan, Gray, and Larson define part; nering as follows:

Project partnering is a method of transforming contractual relationships into a cohesive, cooperative project team with a single set of goals and established procedures for resolving disputes in a timely and effective manner. |8, p. 5, italics in originall r

They present a multistep process for building partnered projects. First, the parent' firm must make a commitment to partnering, select subcontractors who will also make such a commitment, engage in joint team-building exercises, and develop 3 "charter" for the project. (See next subsection for a description of such a charter I Second, both parties must implement the partnering process with a four-part agreement on.- (1) "joint evaluation" of the project's progress, (2) a method for resolving: any problems or disagreements, (3) acceptance of a goal for continuous improvement (also known as TQM) for the joint project, and (4) continuous support for the process of partnering from senior management of both parties. Finally, the parties commit to a joint review of "project execution" when the project is completed.

Clearly, each step in this process must be accompanied by negotiation, and just as clearly, the negotiations must be nonadversarial. The entire concept is firmly rooted in the assumption of mutual trust between the partners and this assumption, too, requires nonadversarial negotiation. Finally, the article focuses on partnering when the partners are members of different organizations. We think the issue is no less relevant when the partners are from different divisions or departments of the same parent organization. Identical assumptions hold, identical steps must be taken, and interparty agreements must be reached for partnering to succeed. (Also see (3|.)

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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