There been many best practices published over the last decade. These practices tend to fall into five qualitative best-practice areas. These are:

1. Having some form of a Partner Coordination Team/Council established which has a contractual authority to modify the project.
2. Utilizing some form of a Partner Selection Matrix of functions versus requirements at the partnership selection phase of the project.
3. Having a single, remotely accessible Repository for Project Data and communications to ensure a single version of the truth exists across the partnership entities.
4. Utilizing some form of a Project Progress Metrics Display to use as an objective gauge of current project progress vs. expectations.
5. Prior to partner selection utilize a Partner Design Review to fully understand potential partner’s capability and people.

Partnership Coordination Council

One form of a Partnership Coordination Council is shown in the figure. It should be emphasized that in this form there is one each of a technical, management, project representative / manager and executive sponsor from each partner. The members of these teams are given broad powers to change specifications, direction, and allocate resources to the project. These broad powers are established by a contract between the two entities. This team is responsible for documenting all changes, progress, and interactions between the partners. In addition one executive is assigned as a sponsor. When partnership issues develop that are not resolvable by the Partner Coordination Team/Council, the issues are escalated to the executive sponsor as a path of last resort. The benefit of these teams is that they enhance the speed, consistency, and quality of everyday partnering decisions.

The Partner Selection Matrix of functions is a way to document a baseline of the initial requirements of the project. As such it is a cross functional document with inputs from each role that will ultimately be involved in bringing a product to market. It also sets the framework for measuring the performance of the partnership. The various roles are:

1. Project management: the cost, schedule, and tasks to be done are the requirements that this role provides.
2. Design engineering: whether or not the technology is sound and will provide a cost or performance advantage are the requirements set by this role.
3. Quality engineering: the testing and quality systems are the responsibility of this role.
4. Manufacturing: the capacity and delivery requirements are the responsibility of this role.
5. Purchasing: issues related to any past experiences as well as NDA considerations are the requirements that this role is responsible for.
6. Marketing: this role is responsible for the branding and competitive considerations requirements.
7. Business development: this role is responsible for setting the requirements related to potential customers’ needs wants and price sensitivity.

Partnership Organization Model

For project success all these requirements need to come together in an integrated manner. One way to achieve this is by having five teams work together is shown in the “Partnership Organization Model” figure. The Partner Coordination Team is key to the organization of the project and responsible for the Partnering Process Direction shown in the center of the figure. The project management role is responsible for the program management element in the upper left of the model. The design engineering and quality engineering teams are responsible for the upper right innovation elements of the project. Manufacturing and purchasing responsible for supply chain elements of the lower right quadrant. Marketing and business development or responsible for the lower left activities.