Original Date: 02/26/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Partnering Program
The Partnering Program provides a framework for government and industry team members to work together to solve problems and informally resolve disputes. Success is dependent on the preparation for change, management commitment, development and use of tools for teamwork, and the feedback and reinforcement of team members.
In the past, the relationship between the contractor and the Federal government with regard to the HYDA-70 Rocket System could be characterized as poor. Typical scenarios involved unresolved technical issues, poor delivery history, unfavorable perceptions by end-users concerning performance, a lack of trust, and poor communications. To improve the HYDRA-70 program performance, the government and industry team adopted a partnering model sponsored by the Army Materiel Command called “Partnering For Success.” Partnering is founded on a total commitment to work as a team, improve communications, create a vision for success, establish common goals and objectives, and resolve disputes without litigation. The charter for the Program ties all team members together via a common mission, vision, and shared set of goals. All team members sign the charter to attest to their commitment and pledge cooperation.
In 1995, General Dynamics Armament Systems (GDAS) won the competitive contract to deliver the HYDRA-70 Rocket System, a family of 2.75-inch unitary and cargo rockets, to the Federal government. In January 1996, internal partnering workshops were initiated to prepare team members for the change in approach. This up-front investment to prepare organizations and individuals for change included a partnering pamphlet and a video (released Spring 1997). In August 1996, senior level management from GDAS and the government reaffirmed their commitment and support by signing an alternative dispute resolution agreement. Team building sessions and partnering workshops were also created to develop skills and create tools that would be useful to team members. The joint partnering workshops were used to discuss topics such as the charter, problem solving techniques, issue resolution procedures, roles and responsibilities, communication strategies, and means to assimilate new team members. Team building workshops afforded an opportunity to practice inter-organizational team building skills. The Partnering Program’s shared set of goals is the roadmap for continuing success. These goals require periodic review to assure that the Program is proceeding on a partnering path. The team periodically conducts partnering surveys which are qualitative assessments on the status of partner relationships. Individual team members are also recognized and rewarded for their outstanding commitment to team work and contributions to partnering.
Since the Partnering Program was implemented, the team has achieved many of the originally set objectives. Training rounds are being delivered early, and the consistency of performance has been improved through the reduction of variability and continuous process improvement (CPI). In December 1998, the team received the Award for Excellence in Contracting from the Secretary of the Army. In March 2002, the team received 2001 AMC partnering awards, in both the program and contractor individual categories, for outstanding contribution to the success of the U.S. Army Material Command partnering program. GDAS also received the 2001 AMC award for outstanding achievement in value engineering to recognize an innovative collaborative value engineering agreement established by the team to provide equal government and contractor incentive to process value engineering changes. As a result of the Partnering Program, GDAS has gained effective communications; joint problem solving; and team response to challenges which provides a framework for successful program execution.
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