When engaging an overseas partner, it’s a good idea to clearly state what each parties responsibilities are. Clearly defining the scope of your partners work helps to avoid any confusion of what is expected. It’s a good idea to clearly document any processes that you expect to be followed – remember that your partner may have different processes & norms for handling things. There’s lots of hidden knowledge in the things you do, it’s what makes you good at doing them. Converting that into a few simple documents
isn’t shouldn’t be easy.
It’s usually a good idea to send all the processes and requirements in a single shot, preferably well before any actual projects begin – almost like a welcome pack. This gives your partner plenty of time to absorb the material, and for you to schedule an on-boarding meeting with the concerned teams. Remember to discuss the processes & expectations with the staff that will actually be handling the work – not just your business contact. This prevents any loss of communication between the team members.
The scope of works will vary considerably based on what you’re doing, and what your partner is handling. When defining them, try to be as wide as possible – whilst remaining relevant. The following elements are drawn from my experience, hopefully they’ll be helpful for you to create your own. Please remember:
- Each element in the following table should have an explanation, no matter how self explanatory it might appear.
- No element should be assigned to more than one party. Break the work down to smaller components, till each component is only assigned to one party.
|Overseas Partner||Design Agency||Your Company||Client|
|Master project plan||Y||Y|
|Site access & building/works permissions||Y|
|Engineering permits / insurances / other job compliances||Y|
|Creation of environment||Y|
|Provision of ready site||Y|
|Storage & Warehousing||Y|
|User Acceptance Testing||Y|
|Ongoing support & maintenance||Y|
The table above will help you to establish the overall scope of your partners responsibility. A more detailed scope of work document should be established so that any doubts can be cleared and what you’re expecting is clearly documented. If it’s possible to include graphics & pictures that make it easier to understand please do so! Sometimes a long wordy document can be easily summarized with a single picture.
Personally I’ve found it really helpful to share the documentation from a previous project, with a quick run through of what happened & what to look for. This case study approach lets experienced partners very quickly asses what’s involved and ask pertinent questions. Don’t be afraid to share details or project problems. Your partner is going to find out anyway, and it’s better that they know the kinks up-front.