Highlights of Alignment Partnering

Alignment Partnering is a robust and sustainable team-building program with built-in, real world processes to manage risk and assess opportunities. It is designed to assist project partners in actually achieving the goals of completing the project safely, on time, on budget and with the specified quality.

Sustainable Team Building

    • Builds teamwork through development of sustainable cross-organizational teams-the Executive Team, Project Management Team and Field Team-that cut across traditional company, agency and department silos
    • Develops, then regularly assesses, professional respect and trust on the project
    • Sets up a horizontal communication system across appropriate levels of competence and authority, emphasizing low-tech, face-to-face and voice-to-voice conversations
    • Allows and encourages all parties to concentrate on Project First Thinking-focusing on what is in the best interests of the project
    • Provides training, as needed, on partnering, collaboration and facilitation processes and trains team members how to foster and maintain professional relationships among all project team members and other stakeholders

Empowering Decision Making

    • Realigns organizations to form teams that develop solutions to issues at the level closest to the problem
    • Encourages teams to truly collaborate on a daily/weekly basis because the team's success depends on the participation and contribution of each team member
    • Provides the Executive Team with justified confidence to delegate sufficient authority to the Project Management Team and the Field Team to build the project, together with on-going mechanisms to monitor progress against team commitments and goals

Keeping the Project Moving

    • Includes an initial kickoff Partnering Session of all project stakeholders PLUS regularly scheduled follow-up sessions with the multi-level teams
    • Implements feedback systems (report cards) to address team members' concerns and challenges
    • Solves problems in real time while keeping the parties focused on moving the project forward
    • Tailors a dispute resolution system that places initial responsibility for resolution with the level closest to the issue, but enables timely elevation if necessary to higher levels
    • Assesses communication, trust and professional respect on the job to ensure continued commitment to partnering goals and responsibility at all levels for delivering the project every day
    • Anticipates expansion and change by providing the flexibility to add new team members, trade partners and other consultants when they rotate in and out as the project progresses

Alignment Partnering Benefits
Partnering has traditionally relied on a one-session, relationship and team building exercise that ends in a Charter for the job. But experience with partnering has indicated that a more robust, on-going effort with processes to check risk and assess opportunities is more beneficial to the goal of completing the project on time and on budget. Alignment partnering was designed to accentuate the positive parts of partnering while addressing the perceived negatives.

Traditional Partnering compared with Alignment Partnering

Traditional Partnering



  • Builds teamwork
  • Develops strong relationships
  • Opens lines of communication
  • Allows parties to see other perspectives

  • 1 day session at the beginning of the job with the entire project team provides no followup
  • First conflict that arises on the job destroys the team-buildng
  • Partnering can mask inefficiency, lack of effort and a failure to follow contract requirements
  • Some people lack commitment to the partnering process and ultimately, the project
  • Touchy-feely games do not advance the goals of the project or drive parties to real success
  • Often the wrong people are involved; only the field people partner without the organization’s leaders
  • Partnering is often poorly administered, meeting times are not controlled and there is no obvious purpose to the meetings
  • The Charter is often not specific on the goals of the parties or the commitments to be made
  • No process for anticipating risks
  • No process for exploiting opportunities
  • No process for internal dispute resolution; the resolution ladder merely passes on responsibility for the issue to another level of the organizations or to the lawyers

Alignment Partnering


Enhancing Benefits

  • Builds teamwork through developing actual cross-organization teams
  • Assesses and develops trust and professional respect on the project
  • Sets up a system for horizontal communication
  • Allows parties to concentrate on Project First Thinking

Addressing Negatives
  • 1 day kickoff session with regularly scheduled followup sessions
  • Organizations are realigned to form teams that develop solutions to issues at the level closest to the problem
  • Realigning organizations into project teams prevents team members from hiding behind their organizations; teams also recognize and correct lack of effort because the team’s success depends on the participation of each team member
  • Project Alignment routinely assesses trust and professional respect on the job to insure commitment and make sure the right people are involved
  • No games are played in Project Alignment; project teams are developed to enhance Project First Thinking
  • The Executive Team is comprised of top people in each organization and provides authority for the Project Management Team to build the project
  • Built in dispute resolution matrix through elevation of issues from the Project Management Team to the Executive Team
  • Solves problems while keeping the parties on the project and moving the project forward