1. The ultimate shape of the partnership and business relationships should be transparent, provide best value and quality service to the taxpayer. Remember the public is the ultimate customer. And, don’t underestimate the public and political lens that will evaluate these initiatives.
2. Make the upfront time to do “Strategic THINKING” about “what” you are trying to accomplish; and, ”why” you are pursuing a P3. Do your homework. Look at the experiences of others and spend the time to talk with them. Most will be helpful; and, Lessons Learned are invaluable.
Take an internal inventory and think “implementation” from the beginning. Be honest about your organization’s strengths, weaknesses; the appropriate allocation of risks; and, ways to mutually capitalize on opportunities. It is very important to have realistic expectations about what P3’s can help you to accomplish and what they are NOT. Bottom line, this is not free money.
3. "DTR” -- Determine the Relationships! I cannot stress enough the importance and necessity of being clear about your “new” business framework -- defining roles, responsibilities and expectations among the partners. This is a stool with at least three legs: technical requirements; financial and legal considerations; and a host of “people” and “process" considerations – a plethora of general administrative items.
At the end of the day, be as clear as you can about where the authority will reside to make things happen, communications flows and reporting protocols. Particularly in the beginning, it is also extremely helpful to build in decision-making processes that help your new partnership to quickly address issues and responsibly correct course when needed.
4. Assemble your project team to include key personnel that are “problem solvers” and have the skill set and temperament to be collaborative. While challenging, the technical issues are often easier to address than the people and organizational dynamics. Egos are best left at the door. Public confidence is always important. To that end, avoid agency discord and grandstanding. You want a team with plenty of healthy constructive tension that is focused on figuring it out.