According to the Construction Industry Institute, the definition of partnering is “a concept that focuses on making the goals of the owner, contractor, designer and supplier better understood and easier to manage. Partnering . . . outlines mutually attainable goals, satisfies long-term needs and assigns risk among all the parties involved.”

Partnering is:

  • Designed to Obtain Creative Cooperation and Commitment by the Team Members (Stakeholders) to Avoid Adversarial Confrontation During the Life of the Project.
  • A Process Structured to Provide all the Participants with a “Win-Win” Approach to Problem Resolution.

The Partnering Facilitator like SDC & Associates, Inc. conducts initial interviews with key participants to obtain background information, and then holds a one- or two-day Partnering Workshop with follow-up maintenance meetings, including key subcontractors.
In the successful partnering model, the workshop has two phases:

  • Team Building
    • participants actively engage in exercises and hypothetical problem-solving to better understand the value of cooperative behavior and the benefits of “win-win” relationships.
  • The Project
    • Establishing goals, issues and responsibilities and developing the partnering charter. Each team member has input into the development of the partnering charter which memorializes agreement among the parties signing the charter.
    • Maintenance & Follow-up:
      Often, the initial workshop is very positive, but parties fail to maintain the charter commitments. Why?

    • Workshop attendees were company chiefs, not daily project participants
    • Adversity and conflict may arise and if allowed to grow, the parties may claim that the partnering process is failing
    • Follow-up is as important as the initial workshop
      Solution: periodically scheduling meetings as the job progresses, at which the parties

    • review and update the partnering process and charter
    • evaluate each other’s performance
    • Partnering will more likely be successful IF

    • top management is committed
    • the parties agree to the process
    • “line” staff participate throughout
    • a skilled facilitator guides the process