Building Stakeholder Relationships That Fuel Innovation and Growth

Building Stakeholder Relationships That Fuel Innovation and Growth

A project manager or leader is much more than someone who develops a strategy and controls all operations within a project. These experts, for example, must be skilled in communication and connection-building because the work requires them to do it frequently. The capacity to develop long-term, trusted relationships with stakeholders is a critical component of project managers’ and leaders’ success. Whether they like it or not, diverse stakeholders directly impact the business. As a result, companies with managers who can foster a deep connection with their stakeholders have a substantial competitive edge in today’s interconnected business environment.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders

Why Stakeholders are Important to a Project

A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organization whose interests are affected by the success of a business venture or project. As the name suggests, stakeholders are interested in a project’s success. They might be internal or external to the entity funding the initiative. Stakeholder relationships may positively or negatively impact the project’s life cycle. Therefore you’ll need to identify your key stakeholders and develop a stakeholder management plan to fulfill the requirements.

Every project you manage has stakeholders, whether internal or external. One of the most common reasons for project failure is that the deliverables differ from what the customer requested or did not meet the customer’s demands. To guarantee project success, one should be familiar with the project’s main stakeholders, how they communicate their needs, and what acceptable results are.

Engaging stakeholders throughout the project, especially at the start, will assist, reduce and discover hazards and boost overall “buy-in.” When stakeholders are fully engaged, their impact is amplified. Stakeholders are vital to a project in the following ways.

Importance Of Stakeholders In Project

Importance Of Stakeholders In Project

 

  1. Providing Expertise

Stakeholders are a source of information about current processes, historical data, and industry expertise. When gathering and documenting requirements, it is critical to include all essential stakeholders. Project managers and those in charge of deliverables may be experts on only a few projects. Key stakeholders can contribute to industry-specific needs or limitations that can be useful in identifying project constraints and risks.

  1. Reducing and Uncovering Risk

The more one engages and involves stakeholders in the project, the more they will decrease and identify risks. For example, during discussions, stakeholders may raise concerns regarding satisfying original specifications, project demands, and limits. Identifying risks and developing a plan to manage them before issues arise will significantly improve your initiatives’ success.

  1. Increasing Project Success

Stakeholders should be aware of the project scope, significant milestones, and when they will be asked to evaluate deliverables before final acceptance. Set expectations early in the project life cycle if the business must satisfy stakeholders’ demands due to competing needs or priorities. This move will assist in maintaining the relationship throughout the process.

  1. Granting Project Acceptance

The more frequently you interact and include stakeholders from the beginning, the more likely you will have a successful project outcome. By the end of the project, team members should be aware of delivery expectations and risks and how to reduce those risks. The final acceptance is their last stamp of approval at the project completion phase.

Stakeholder Relationships are key

Building relationships with stakeholders leads to improved trust. People collaborate more readily and successfully when there is trust. Investing time and effort in discovering and cultivating stakeholder connections may boost project confidence, reduce uncertainty, and accelerate issue resolution and decision-making. This concept recommends making a deliberate decision to devote time, attention, and effort to stakeholder relationships. In addition, personal qualities such as self-awareness, mindfulness, respect for others, and courage may be essential to developing trustworthy, open, and honest relationships.

Ways To Approach Stakeholder Relationships

Ways To Approach Stakeholder Relationships

How could we approach it?

  • Determine the stakeholder hierarchy.
  • Create profiles for individual and group stakeholders.
  • Create relationship maps.
  • Determine who should interact with whom and when.
  • Always maintain a professional and genuine demeanor.
  • Build trust and confidence through controlling and satisfying expectations, acting with integrity, honoring commitments, and being trustworthy.
  • Consider how you can assist your stakeholders rather than just how they can assist your project.

Risks of overlooking this concept include:

Risks Of Overlooking Into Stakeholders Relationship Concept

Risks Of Overlooking Into Stakeholders Relationship Concept

  • Increased project risk in terms of time, cost, and quality.
  • Greater known and unknown project opposition.
  • Project management is shattered.
  • Reduced team motivation.
  • Low cohesiveness within the project community.
  • Personal and corporate reputational damage, as well as recrimination.

The benefits of applying this concept include the following:

Benefits Of Building Stakeholder Relationship

Benefits Of Building Stakeholder Relationship

  • Mutual trust and confidence have grown.
  • Stress reduction and a more pleasant working atmosphere.
  • Improved problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Increased bid value and increased possibilities of keeping clients and employees.
  • Opportunities for personal development, maturity, and career progress.
  • Sufficiently prepared to deal with challenging circumstances.
  • Legacy to carry on with future endeavors.

 

Ways to build good relationships with Project Stakeholders

Stakeholders must be effectively taken care of for any firm to succeed. These include the customers, suppliers, partners, investors, workers, and the general public interested in your company. When a stakeholder is neglected, the organization can feel the consequences. Building great connections with stakeholders requires work, time, and a well-thought-out action plan.

Building trusted relationships with key stakeholders and maintaining communication throughout your project is essential. Through active engagement and speedy resolution, engaged stakeholders motivate individuals and keep the project on track.

Project managers establish trust and interact with important stakeholders at the outset. However, as the project progresses and the team size rises, we need to catch up on the importance of maintaining those connections. If unengaged, it usually results in communication failures, a mismatch of expectations, delayed decision-making, and, in extreme cases, misaligned project goals with company strategic objectives.

Here are six suggestions for developing and maintaining effective stakeholder relationships.

Ways To Build Good Relationships With Project Stakeholders

Ways To Build Good Relationships With Project Stakeholders

 

  1. Identify the key stakeholders.

In every project or program, the project manager oversees the initiative and identifies all stakeholders involved in planning, status reporting, or managing the dependencies. However, the focus here is on how you engage your important stakeholders. Who are the most important stakeholders? It is determined by project type, organizational structure, industry, and internal and external relationships.

Key stakeholders in project engagement are:

  • Persons who have decision-making authority.
  • Influence.
  • A vested interest in the project’s result.

They might be part of your project’s organizational structure (such as a project sponsor or business sponsor) or an extended stakeholder (like external customers or funding partners).

Identifying these important stakeholders early in the project allows the PM and team to build trusted relationships and understand their expectations of project deliverables, their role, and their level of engagement on an ongoing basis.

  1. Analyze the individual stakeholders

Analyze the individual stakeholders identified at the previous stage to determine the amount of involvement and time required to create the connection. Historical data, team brainstorming sessions, focus groups, and interviews might provide the necessary knowledge for analysis. Next, each important stakeholder is examined to determine their attitude toward the initiative, level of support, influence, and acceptance of the change.

The project manager would decide on the amount of engagement based on their interest in the project and their ability to affect change. When there is more ambiguity about the program’s scope, objectives, and expected outcome, the PM’s role in managing expectations and relationships is more significant.

  1. Plan on how to keep your stakeholders engaged in your project

Consider organizational culture and attitudes toward the project while developing an engagement plan. For example, understand the stakeholder’s level of support or resistance to team talks.

Define how you will assess when a stakeholder becomes disengaged as part of your strategy; the metric may be anything like the number of mandatory meetings missed by the stakeholder in a month. When a significant stakeholder consistently skips a needed meeting or fails to make timely decisions, it is a source of contention. If not handled, this disengagement will begin to undermine the project.

  1. Keep all key stakeholders informed and updated

The project manager is responsible for keeping all key stakeholders informed and updated as frequently and as early as feasible during the project. Therefore, maintain a proactive approach in your discussions with them.

To build a standardized onboarding process, new stakeholders should become acquainted with a collection of standard artifacts (like the charter, communication plan, business case, and risk register). Also, take the chance to hear from current stakeholders. Feedback from stakeholders who no longer have a vested interest in your endeavor may help you adjust your path.

  1. Maintain involvement

It is critical to maintain your involvement, especially in long-term initiatives. At the end of a project, we’ve seen project teams wear out, with stakeholders eager to move on to the next big thing. The project manager must keep the engagement going. The connections and reputation you build via this involvement can help you succeed in future efforts in large businesses. Maintain contact with your key stakeholders long after the project has been completed and delivered.

Project Management Trends That Will Shape the Future

Project management is crucial in deciding how businesses and organizations will fare in the marketplace. Projects might include implementing a corporate plan, running marketing efforts, or organizing business events. Teams work to interact, manage, and communicate as effectively as possible to complete tasks and meet deadlines.

Organizations flexibly responded to the pandemic’s disruption by developing new methods of operation. However, they were thrust into the era of digitization and had to reconsider their methods of operation. These top 6 project management trends in the future demonstrate the ongoing need for technical innovation and digital transformation regarding the function of project management software in the future by building great stakeholder relationships.

Future Project Management Trends

Future Project Management Trends

  1. AI Automation and Implementation

The use and usage of artificial intelligence are the most obvious of the new current trends in project management. Knowing which initiatives are more successful enables teams to precisely determine which aspects are vital if the firm is to reduce costs and risks. As a result, organizations may increase transparency and productivity. The main factor driving the current increase in the adoption of such software is this characteristic of project management systems.

Let’s look at a few instances:

  • A few businesses currently use automated and machine learning technologies to get alerts about potential issues the company could run into. For instance, suppliers might now get notifications about possible obstacles like bad weather and traffic.
  • Building machine learning algorithms to support a project manager’s decision-making capabilities by evaluating data from several projects in the project portfolio is a promising study area.
  1. Globalized Project Management

As working circumstances got more flexible due to the forced work from home caused by the worldwide pandemic, businesses and teams became even more globalized. It has long since established roots. Mercer estimates that 70% of businesses want to use the hybrid work model.

Although the remote work and hybrid model trend allows for the employment of creative and inventive individuals worldwide, project management has to keep up with it. Collaboration, for example, is challenging when team members are unavailable due to competing schedules created by different time zones.

Software for project management provides a tool that could address this issue. The platform enables all brainstorming sessions and discussions to take place in a single setting, allowing businesses to access talent worldwide.

  1. Hybrid Project Management

The third new development in project management is the rising use of the hybrid approach, which refers to how project teams combine the Waterfall methodology, the systematic approach, with the Agile methodology, which is the quick-moving methodology. A hybrid approach aims to elevate teams to become aware of the specific project lifecycle while providing the ability to support them in changing the plan as necessary.

How do you know what will work for you, and how can you prepare for this trend?

PMs must learn about the most recent techniques, examine some of the fundamentals, and analyze how to use them correctly to obtain a greater understanding of the project situation and its aspects, such as the clients, the corporate objectives, and the purpose of the project, and the team’s attitude.

There is an increasing requirement to adapt your strategy and develop a project plan that enables you to lead projects unconventionally and comprehend different components of multiple techniques that cater to the demands of your team, perceived timeline, environment, end goals, etc.

  1. Stakeholder-Centered design

The fourth most recent trend in project management is an emphasis on delivering transparency for the benefit of the company’s stakeholders and developing products centered on the human perspective. Project managers may communicate with, collaborate with, and inform stakeholders. This design makes it easy for investors and customers to support any project launched as part of a company’s business plan.

  1. Soft Skills

Soft skills have become an essential component of project management. Project managers must interact with stakeholders, clients, and project teams. They will mitigate risks, resolve internal disagreements, and keep the project team engaged. Having a high level of emotional intelligence will also be useful in project management. Therefore, organizations should begin investing in tools and programs that assist employees in acquiring soft skills.

  1. Predictive Data and Simulation-Based Analyses

The most difficult and demotivating aspect of managing several projects is when unanticipated repercussions jeopardize their success. Project managers seek a solution to give them the knowledge to account for the unexpected. Project teams with predictive and data analytics skills may fully use KPIs and benchmarks and execute them proactively by developing data-backed best practices.

Companies cannot afford to bear the repercussions of project failure, given the competitive environments of most markets. Therefore, projects must be started successfully to stand out from the competition. The most recent advancements in project management software demonstrate that technology will play a role in this element of corporate operations in the future. Suppose you want projects to succeed and businesses to thrive. In that case, you should consider introducing project management solutions to simplify your, your teams, and your stakeholders’ lives.

Final Thoughts

Stakeholder involvement will become essential to optimize success as knowing stakeholders becomes increasingly critical for firms. For example, stakeholder engagement may assess reactions, track public impressions of a company’s operations, and assure collaboration and partnership with all stakeholders. In addition, an organization’s long-term performance may be determined by its connections with stakeholders, which provide commitment and buy-in to future initiatives and difficulties. As a result, the company becomes more aware and responsive to the demands of all its users and stakeholders.

Stakeholder management must place a greater emphasis on involvement to move projects from installation to execution. Stakeholder management must be less hierarchically centered while considering companies’ changing political nature. Projects should begin by identifying diverse stakeholders, engaging with them consistently, and coordinating continuously to increase project success.

As a project proceeds, Stakeholder management processes need to account for the dynamic nature of stakeholders’ commitment to a project and the interactions between various stakeholders. As a result, project teams will get the competitive advantage they want by focusing not just on their stakeholder position but also on the other major stakeholders in a project and how they interact. To achieve more effective stakeholder involvement, follow these three steps:

  • Create a stakeholder map and keep it updated as the project progresses.
  • Prioritize essential stakeholders and regularly evaluate assumptions about commitment levels and impact.
  • Create essential stakeholders and increase their commitment to the change.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Justin Buckwalter in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting talktodharam.com

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

Closing the Stakeholder Expectation Gap – Means and Methods

Closing the Stakeholder Expectation Gap – Means and Methods

Delivering a successful project is challenging, especially when there are multiple stakeholders. However, even if a project is performed on time, on budget, and to the expected scope, it can still be regarded as a success only if the stakeholder expectations are managed appropriately.

Each project stakeholder has certain expectations. Project managers are at the forefront of potentially disastrous situations when such expectations conflict. They must address and resolve the issue or risk jeopardizing the project and their position. Because the fundamental cause of problems is only sometimes apparent, project leaders and teams must analyze links between issues and stakeholder motives using interpersonal skills such as resolving conflict, resistance to change, and trust building.

Project Stakeholders

Project Stakeholders

Project Stakeholders

A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organization that is affected by the result of a business venture or project.

Stakeholder interactions may positively or negatively impact the project’s life cycle. Thus, a project leader must identify important stakeholders and develop a stakeholder management plan to satisfy their demands. Using project management tools and strategies to keep track of the key stakeholders is an excellent method to remain on top of things and ensure that project stakeholders remain satisfied and productive.

Types of Stakeholders

Types of Stakeholders

Internal Stakeholders

An internal stakeholder is somebody whose interest in the project is directly linked to their affiliation with the entity in charge. Internal stakeholders want the strategic and commercial goals of the project to be realized. They might be project managers, team members, sponsors, owners, or investors.

External Stakeholders

External stakeholders are not directly linked with the company but are important to the business or are influenced by the project in some way. Those are frequently supply chain participants, creditors, or public groups.

Stakeholder Management

The stakeholder management process includes communicating project status, expenses, and barriers to stakeholders to increase visibility, navigate changes in project direction, and manage expectations. Project stakeholders are those involved in the project or whose interests may be influenced by the project’s execution or completion.

Stakeholder management helps project managers keep change at the forefront of their thoughts while making it less intimidating. Furthermore, the stakeholder management plan is a reminder for every interaction the project managers have with direct or indirect stakeholders, helping them maintain a genuine link between the project and day-to-day operations.

Closing the Stakeholder Expectation Gap – Means

An effective stakeholder management process ensures that timely and relevant feedback is provided, and that the stakeholder management strategy directs the change effort. The project manager maintains stakeholder expectations, resolves conflicts, and identifies and fixes any problems that develop throughout the project. In general, the following are the fundamental parts form the stakeholder management process:

The Necessary Elements For Successful Stakeholder Management

The Necessary Elements For Successful Stakeholder Management

  • Managing stakeholder expectations: The project is more likely to succeed when stakeholders’ expectations are actively managed. As a result, to ensure perfect conformance with project goals and expectations and to continue the project management effort, the project manager must continually negotiate and influence the demands of stakeholders.
  • Managing stakeholder perception: It is critical for project success to ensure that stakeholders are involved in the project regularly and are kept up to date on the project’s progress. High-level stakeholder perception increases the likelihood that stakeholders will provide the necessary support and the project will be completed as intended.
  • Keeping track of stakeholder activity: The project manager is primarily responsible for recording and tracking all stakeholders’ activity. As a result, to secure stakeholder acceptance and project communications plan adherence, the project manager should formally document all contacts with stakeholders and keep records of the project’s outcomes.
  • Solving problems and resolving conflicts: To avoid challenges and conflicts, the project manager should address stakeholders’ concerns and identify risks and threats in collaboration with conflict management. By referring to change requests, the project manager can generate solutions.

Understanding the components of the managing stakeholder’s process enables the project manager to engage with stakeholder expectations and demands and build action plans to be used when disputes and challenges emerge. The project manager can utilize the following tools to assess conflicts and challenges, as well as manage stakeholders on an individual and group level:

Tools To Assess Conflicts And Challenges In Managing Stakeholder's Process

Tools To Assess Conflicts And Challenges In Managing Stakeholder’s Process

  • Issue logs: An issue log is a tool for assessing issues and documenting resolutions. It is a document with a rigid categories structure that allows each issue to be placed in the appropriate category (issue group). The project manager uses problem logs to ensure that each stakeholder understands the project and maintains positive working interactions among all stakeholders, including project team members.
  • Change Logs: It is a tool for documenting any changes that occur throughout a project. The project manager uses change logs to track changes and their impact on project goals and deliverables. A change log should be provided to project stakeholders and should include data on changes to risks, uncertainties, costs, and budgets.

A change request for project deliverables may result from the technique for managing and engaging stakeholders. Changes to the stakeholder management approach and registry are also feasible. The method of managing stakeholders allows for evaluating and modifying stakeholder benefits created earlier in the project’s life cycle.

Five pitfalls to address while dealing with the expectations of stakeholders

5 Pitfalls To Address While Dealing With The Expectations Of Stakeholders

5 Pitfalls To Address While Dealing With The Expectations Of Stakeholders

  1. Identify the stakeholders

A project often involves many stakeholders, and it can take time to identify all of them. A stakeholder is a person, a group, an organization, or a set of organizations that are actively involved in or may be affected by the project. Stakeholders can have an impact on a project in a variety of ways.

For example, if a stakeholder is top management in an organization and is not completely committed to a project, it may drastically limit buy-in throughout the business. Founders and C-suites are also stakeholders who can positively or negatively impact a project. Therefore, the identification of stakeholders is a critical step in managing expectations.

  1. Classifying stakeholders

Effective stakeholder management necessitates a project manager categorizing stakeholders based on their role in project completion. A project manager must determine which stakeholders are supporters and which may be obstacles to the project. It might be challenging to define the types of risks, where and when each risk exists, the impact on the project, or how to build strategies to handle possible risks if stakeholders cannot be classified.

  1. Mapping expectations

Project managers must resolve possible concerns, keep stakeholders involved and motivated, and finish the project on time. A project manager must have a good understanding of all stakeholders’ expectations. Stakeholder analysis and adequate documentation can be useful in mapping expectations. Stakeholders may have different priorities when completing tasks, milestones, or the full project. Their interests may be interpreted differently and have different definitions of success.

For example, one stakeholder may prioritize project completion on time, while another defines success as keeping it under budget. Mapping expectations and obtaining clarity among all stakeholders enhances the possibility that a project manager and their team can effectively complete a project.

  1. Using appropriate communication methods

Stakeholder management requires determining and implementing appropriate communication methods. To successfully manage stakeholder expectations, a project manager must establish the available and preferred communication mechanisms for stakeholders. A poor or incorrect communication approach can lead to distrust and dissatisfaction between stakeholders and a project manager. It is also essential to adjust communication tactics and frequency based on elements such as time, message, purpose, secrecy, or changes based on stakeholder contexts.

  1. Engaging stakeholders

Stakeholder engagement during the project with frequent updates boosts stakeholder confidence, which is essential for project success. In addition, efficient stakeholder management necessitates the involvement of stakeholders in decision-making by the project manager.

Although a project manager may believe they have already determined the optimal course of action, they should incorporate stakeholders in procedures and pertinent talks to ensure all options have been examined; otherwise, key possibilities and expectations may be missed.

Closing the Stakeholder Expectation Gap – Methods

Before beginning a new project, start by identifying all stakeholders. First, identify those impacted by the project and the organizations that will influence the project. Then, using the strategy outlined below, begin developing strong relationships with each stakeholder.

Closing the Stakeholder Expectation Gap – Methods

Closing the Stakeholder Expectation Gap – Methods

  1. Analyze stakeholders

Conduct a stakeholder analysis or an evaluation of the key participants in a project and how the initiative will affect their issues and requirements. Determine their unique qualities and interests. Find out what motivates them and what frustrates them. Define responsibilities and levels of engagement, and assess whether there are any disputes among stakeholders.

  1. Assess the influence

Determine the extent to which stakeholders can have an impact on the project. The more powerful a stakeholder is, the more a project manager will require assistance. When evaluating stakeholders, consider the question, “What’s in it for them?” Knowing what each stakeholder needs or desires from the project allows the project manager to measure their degree of support. Remember to weigh support against influence, like Is it more necessary to have strong support from a low-level stakeholder or moderate support from a high-level stakeholder?

  1. Understand their expectations

Determine the exact expectations of stakeholders. Then, when necessary, seek clarification to ensure they are thoroughly understood.

  1. Define “success”

Every stakeholder may have a distinct definition of project success. Discovering this towards the end of the project is a potential disaster. Instead, gather definitions and integrate them into the objectives to guarantee that all stakeholders support the final results.

  1. Keep stakeholders involved
  • Don’t just provide updates to stakeholders.
  • Solicit their opinions.
  • Schedule time for brief meetings to get to know them better.
  • Determine each stakeholder’s ability to engage while keeping time restrictions in mind.
  1. Keep stakeholders informed
  • Send regular status updates.
  • One update each week is generally adequate.
  • Hold project meetings as appropriate, but allow enough time between them.
  • Respond to stakeholders’ inquiries and emails as soon as possible.
  • Regular contact is usually valued – and may help ease the impact when you have unpleasant news to deliver.

These are some of the fundamentals of developing effective stakeholder connections. However, like with any relationship, there are subtleties that every effective project manager knows, such as understanding the distinctions and responding successfully to various types of stakeholders.

Final Thoughts

There is a link between resolving conflicts in stakeholder expectations and project success. Similarly, the faster project teams defuse a potentially dangerous situation by recognizing the source of conflicts, the link between issues, and the motivations of stakeholders, the simpler it is to develop trust, settle conflicts, and overcome resistance to change.

Using diverse modes of communication between the project team, senior management, and stakeholders improves prospects for mutual understanding. These methods may help the project managers to meet the stakeholder expectations and reduce the risk of project disaster.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting talktodharam.com

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

 

 

Steering Committee & Its Role

Steering Committee & Its Role

Project management may be challenging. Addressing changing business demands, allocating limited resources, and managing team workloads can all result in dealing with complicated project management aspects on a day-to-day basis. However, having high-level assistance and guidance can be a lifesaver. Steering committees accomplish precisely that. Project management steering committees give administrative assistance and troubleshoot issues to keep projects on schedule to achieve their objectives.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

A steering committee is an advisory body of important stakeholders overseeing and supporting a project to ensure its success. Project steering committees are also known as stakeholder boards, senior leadership teams, and project working groups. They manage projects from beginning to end, offering direction and assistance throughout the project’s lifecycle.

A steering committee’s primary concern is the organization’s direction, scope, budget, timeline, and techniques. Steering committees will meet regularly to discuss these issues to identify where they are and where they want to go to stay on track.

Project Steering Committee

Project Steering Committee

Project Steering Committee

A steering committee may also be a group working together on initiatives. In this case, steering committees assist project managers in ensuring that projects are aligned with business objectives. They identify and manage risks, maintain project quality, and track progress and timeframes. In addition, the committee can approve changes to the project scope, budget, and strategy.

A project steering committee is a part of a larger organization for project governance. Companies that plan major projects that need collaboration across departments and include multiple stakeholders gain from a steering committee that can direct project management. The committee supervises the team’s progress toward fulfilling benchmarks and goals in this role.

The committee is in charge of project management, financial analysis, and recognizing changes that influence the project’s original scope. Furthermore, the project steering committee ensures that all points of view are heard and that any problems between stakeholders or departments are resolved.

Role of a Steering Committee

A steering committee can accomplish its core goal by utilizing a range of group and individual functions. When a steering committee gives advice and guarantees that items are delivered on time and in good condition, a company may reap significant benefits from its project successes. Some of the most important group-based steering committee positions that influence a business’s and consumers’ satisfaction with a product include:

  • Providing input on the growth or development of a business or initiative.
  • Addressing concerns and offering guidance on budgeting, marketing, recruiting, and other financial issues.
  • Identifying the outcomes or objectives that the project must achieve.
  • Prioritize the steps and objectives that must be completed to meet the project’s objectives.
  • Assisting in the formulation of business-related policies, processes, and guidelines.
  • Identifying, monitoring, and eliminating potential operational risks.
  • Setting project deadlines or timelines and keeping track of progress.
  • Monitoring the final work’s quality.
  • Making plans for how a client or consumer will react to a product or service.
  • Analyzing and discussing changes that have occurred or will occur to guarantee the project’s success.
  • In the workplace, encouraging team members to collaborate.
  • Where relevant, providing further insights on business or project concerns.

Members of the steering committee generally do not work on the project directly; nevertheless, committee members may perform various tasks individually to help assure the project’s success. Therefore, individual steering committee members should understand and strive to improve the strategies used to achieve project goals, be genuinely interested in the project and its outcome, promote the project whenever possible, and maintain a broad understanding of project management concerns, in addition to attending team meetings.

Key Functions of The Steering Committee

Key Functions of The Steering Committee

A steering committee is an advisory committee made up of various stakeholders and firm officials. They assist in making choices on various initiatives, with members directly interacting with project managers. Here are some of the key functions of the Steering Committee:

  1. Advocacy

A steering committee advocates for the organization’s varied goals and programs. Remember that it is generally composed of top management and specialists.

  1. Setting strategies and goals.

Steering committees develop strategic directions for initiatives. They also provide advice and opinions on budgeting, assets, money, time, facilities, marketing, and hiring. Goals and project scope are established as part of their employment.

  1. Coming up with ways of measuring success

There are several metrics for measuring performance. The steering committee is in charge of establishing how a product’s success is measured.

  1. Monitoring

The steering committee serves as an advisory body as well as a monitoring body. It ensures that projects fulfill the necessary quality standards and monitors any changes. It also keeps track of project processes and plans, which is critical to project success. The committee also analyzes and monitors project or company hazards before devising solutions to mitigate them.

  1. Offering expert opinion

The steering committee comprises experts who provide expert opinions on various issues concerning projects or the entire business. Their involvement is generally required, especially while working on a complex project.

  1. Conflict resolution

Disagreements are normal, mainly while working on a specific project. However, to ensure that issues do not disrupt the overall project, these committees resolve disputes between stakeholders, giving them more time to focus on what is best.

  1. Problem-solving

One of the functions of any advisory body is to discover solutions to problems the organization may be experiencing. It can generate various problem-solving ideas due to the experts on the strategy committee.

  1. Decision making

Although the steering committee’s primary function is to provide counsel, it also participates in decision-making. For example, it can analyze, accept, or reject project plans or recommend revisions to the supplied plans based on the members’ feedback.

The committee also engages in role allocation because its members can appoint project managers and other professionals to complete assigned tasks.

Ways to prepare for the project steering committee meeting

Important information and documents must be communicated with all steering committee members before the planned meeting, including:

  • Meeting agenda
  • Minutes of the previous steering committee meeting
  • Project progress report from the project manager

Certain team members should be in charge of creating steering committee meeting documents and scheduling meetings. The steering committee is led by a chairperson who runs the meeting according to the agenda. They also ensure that all committee members express their viewpoints and ideas.

A basic meeting agenda would include the following:

  • Recognizing and distributing the previous steering committee meeting minutes with other committee members.
  • Conduct a thorough review of action items decided at previous sessions.
  • Analyze the project status report filed by the project manager.
  • Have a thorough discussion about any additional issues of concern or project requests.
  • Select a date, time, and location for the next steering committee meeting.
Steering committee Best Practices For Project Success

Steering committee Best Practices For Project Success

Steering committee best practices for project success

Consider the following steering committee best practices for project success, whether you hold your meeting online or in person:

  • Allow adequate time for the project team and committee members to prepare.
  • Focus on the most important project KPIs and milestones and deliver them to the committee members in a format that everyone can agree on, such as a presentation, report, or infographic.
  • Present project facts that are factual, contextual, and relevant. Share any inconsistencies or difficulties as soon as possible before they become significant issues.
  • Schedule meetings in advance and automate meeting alerts to go out a week and a day ahead.
  • Ensure comprehensive documentation of all meeting discussions and distribute it to committee members before the next meeting.
  • Maintain the project charter and refer to it whenever there is doubt about authority, accountability, or strategic direction.
Challenges for Steering Committees

Challenges for Steering Committees

Challenges for Steering Committees

Because project management steering committees are comprised of employees from various backgrounds and functions, they will almost always experience certain challenges. These are some examples:

  • Conflicting interests:As the committee includes cross-functional representatives, they will frequently have opposing ideas and interests. People think differently, which may be shown in their behavior, activities, and perspectives.
  • Slow decision-making:Team decision-making is typically slower than individual decision-making.
  • Lack of clarity in roles:Many committee members may need to know their individual or team responsibilities. A clearly defined charter for the steering committee ensures transparency and clarity about their duties in the project.

Final Thoughts

Every organization needs a Project Steering Committee to lead its transformation initiatives, beginning with a contemporary approach to project management. It may be instantly productive by initiating the process of managing project priorities. Steering committees are extremely crucial in efficient project management. They add value by keeping projects on pace, reducing risks, and resolving problems. When creating one, it is essential to evaluate the overall composition.

The steering committee plays a crucial role in project management that should be considered. The steering committee is the project’s administrator. This functionality does not exonerate the project of responsibility. On the contrary, this role necessitates that the steering committee participates in the project and not simply monitors the project group’s performance from the sidelines. This move will strain the steering committee’s multiple tasks and the time spent on the project.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Justin Buckwalter in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting talktodharam.com

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

 

 

Strategic Project Management Office (SPMO)

Strategic Project Management Office (SPMO)

The project management office (PMO) is increasingly evolving from an administrative role to one that is strategic and more closely connected with business drivers. As a result, the PMO plays an important role in generating corporate value as the pace of business rises along with the expectation of faster returns on investment.

Traditional administrative PMOs fall short of meeting this need. Therefore, a mindset change and a reinvented project delivery capability that is both commercially astute and agile are required. Furthermore, such a PMO must comprehend and implement the plan.

In this article, we’ll look at the factors driving the shift to strategic project management offices (SPMO), also known as Enterprise PMO or EPMO, the essential features of a value-adding PMO, and game changer ideas to help you alter your PMO and improve its profile in your business.

What is Strategic PMO (SPMO)?

What is Strategic PMO (SPMO)?

Strategic PMO (SPMO)

A Strategic PMO is a project-centric business department that should be structured and managed like other business departments – with enterprise leadership setting goals and objectives that assist the organization in thriving. The demands of individual organizations will lead to variations in what it means in specific terms. Still, we can expect a focus on the following areas:

  • Portfolio management – Generation of ideas, selection, execution, and realization of benefits. Portfolio Management is a huge area, and organizations will adapt to it as it becomes increasingly crucial.
  • Financial management – The PMO, closely linked to portfolio management, must be accountable for ensuring that project investments are acceptable and fit with business goals. The PMO must also guarantee competent budget management during project execution. Furthermore, the PMO should be held accountable for monitoring and tracking the benefit realization tasks of the business units.
  • Enterprise-wide project-related processes and approaches Strategic risk management (i.e., managing the portfolio’s organizational risk exposure, proactive risk selection to match organizational tolerance, and so on), integration of finance and benefits, consistent quality standards, and so on.
Focus areas of Strategic PMO

Focus areas of Strategic PMO

  • Proactive resource management – Capacity and capability planning, skills inventory management, and so on – ensuring that the project execution functions have the appropriate people with the right skills at the right time.
  • Strategic partner – This borders on cultural change, creating the PMO as an independent and impartial consultant to the organization on project execution. PMOs, like IT, must demonstrate that they are business leaders supporting the organization’s work rather than a tactical execution-only function.

Different levels of PMO strategic alignment

Within an organization, a PMO can function at three stages of ‘Strategic’ maturity:

Different levels of PMO strategic alignment

Different levels of PMO strategic alignment

  1. Strategy Creation – Strategy Creation entails assisting organizations in determining which strategic options to pursue (and then translating them into projects – Strategy Delivery – and managing their success – Strategy Management). It is unusual for a PMO to achieve this level of trust and influence inside an organization. Still, it is the (possible) future for the enterprise PMO that is effectively embedded within an organization and fortunate with the right sponsorship.
  2. Strategy Delivery – Strategy Delivery is the process through which the PMO turns important strategy objectives into new projects to be added to the portfolio (and perhaps to remove some from the portfolio if such objectives have changed). The ‘Strategy Supervision’ capability backs up this ‘Strategy Delivery’ capability. The PMO may also take direct responsibility for the execution of large and complex programs (or projects) that are specifically critical to a key strategic effort, such as relocation activities.
  3. Strategy Supervision – Strategy Supervision of strategic intents through project ownership, each of which should directly or indirectly link to a strategic intention of the overall organization. ‘Strategy Supervision’ is where the PMO acts as the Executive’s governing and advisory body by:
  • Validating that all projects undertaken correspond to one or more strategic initiatives.
  • Monitoring the current and right alignment of projects and strategy.
  • Making stall-and-kill recommendations for initiatives no longer correspond with current corporate strategic thinking.

Five Steps to Creating the Strategic Enterprise Project Management Office (SPMO)

Today’s organizations recognize that fewer and fewer initiatives are self-contained inside individual departments and increasingly straddle multiple business functions. Project management offices (PMOs) have traditionally been connected with IT, partly due to technology’s role in all projects. However, with technology increasingly transitioning to contribute to those business transformation initiatives, keeping the PMO as an IT role is ineffective.

The appropriate response to this trend is a single, enterprise-wide EPMO. Many firms using EPMOs, however, fail to perceive an increase in project execution speed. In addition, here are the five key steps to achieving long-term EPMO success:

Five Steps to Creating SPMO

Five Steps to Creating SPMO

  • Define the company’s goal.
  • Create appropriate leadership and accountability structures.
  • Communicate the purpose, responsibilities, and alignment.
  • Respond to measurements and outcomes.
  • Create a road map for actual evolution into a business function.

The Rise of the Strategic PMO

The strategic PMO may play a crucial role as a custodian and evangelist for business benefits realization, giving important information to the Executive on which projects deliver value across the organization. In addition, the insights provided by the SPMO may help with crucial decisions like which initiatives to fund, which projects to kill, or re-prioritizing or re-balancing work portfolios to reflect changing business or market conditions.

Not all PMOs must be strategic in character. For example, a PMO embedded within a project or program might focus on the project’s day-to-day resource management and administrative needs. However, the decision to start the project should have been taken at a strategic level. From the start, the project-level PMO should have been aligned with the Strategic PMO’s reporting and governance structure. The SPMO should be able to make micro and macro business choices based on accurate and timely project data flow up into the program and, eventually, portfolio level.

The Strategic PMO plays a key role in championing and driving business value for the organization and being an effective change enabler. Here are the five major game changers that will propel the PMO and project organization to the next level.

5 Major game changers that will propel the PMO and project organization to the next level

5 Major game changers that will propel the PMO and project organization to the next level

  • Demonstrating Project Leadership and Vision
  • The Importance of Realistic Planning
  • A Culture of Disciplined Execution
  • Effective Stakeholder and Change Management
  • Creating a “Value Lens” for Managing Enterprise Investment

The strategic project management office is critical to increasing project maturity and optimizing the organization’s business return on project investment. People, processes, data, and technologies must all be prioritized to achieve this objective. Project management is a multifaceted endeavor that is both an art and a science.

Leveraging the future of PMO to drive new strategic opportunities

In recent years, businesses have been subjected to a slew of external forces, the most significant of which has been Covid-19. These disruptors have caused firms to adapt, whether to work around obstacles, shift to new working methods, or adapt to Industry 4.0. All of these variables influence organizational complexity, both strategically and operationally. Businesses must not only respond proactively to all of this complexity; they must also prosper while operating in a resource-constrained environment. As a result, today, more than ever, the PMO’s ability to efficiently deliver projects and transform organizations of all kinds and across many locations is critical to achieving their goals.

Projects must be completed at scale to create transformation for a company effectively. A McKinsey & Company study of over 5000 large-scale projects discovered that 56% generated less value than planned, 45% went over budget, and 17% were so disastrous that the organization’s survival was threatened. This study highlights the need to make adequate efforts to select PMOs who can adapt to the future of work.

Historically, PMOs have been viewed as lacking a clear identity or purpose within an organization; however, the future-state PMO is an enabler of business value creation, collaborating with business leaders to provide a clear and achievable roadmap while making the best use of the organization’s limited resources.

3 Aspects that PMOs must embrace

3 Aspects that PMOs must embrace

PMOs must also adjust to the new normal and growing business demands. The three areas described below represent the fundamental features that PMOs of the present and future must embrace to manage change effectively.

  1. Technology & Automation 

Because Covid-19 has accelerated the way we utilize technology in our daily work, technology is expected to be front and center, enabling PMOs to deliver more successfully. To effectively adapt to new methods of working and build a “single source of truth,” advanced technologies and cloud-based solutions will be required. This technology jump is critical for borderless operations in which progress and transparent communication must be readily available and updated in real-time to allow for swift decision-making.

In the future world, both artificial intelligence and machine learning will be important facilitators of automating PMO procedures, delivering superior insights, and allowing teams to spend less time on manual transactional processing and more time generating value for projects. For example, project planning is often based on data collection, industry benchmarking, and using the experience of project managers. However, according to PMI – AI Innovators, there is still a significant inefficiency in project management, with around 1/3 of traditional project management activities requiring one or more days of manually collating reports. Using IoT and big data to automate various tedious processes allows the PMO to create more realistic and effective timetables and spot potential disruptors.

However, it is unlikely that technology will completely replace project managers, with the PMI forecasting that businesses will require over 88 million project managers by 2027. As a result, PMs will be expected to improve their competencies and fully utilize the available technologies.

PMOs will be required to lead by example in their automation projects, advocating new methods of working with their collaborative organization in the future. As a result, the paradigm of efficiently providing workstreams may evolve, driving firms to become more digital.

  1. Agility 

With an increased level of complexity for transformation and multiple stakeholders to handle, projects may need to adapt and pivot in other ways than originally planned. Changes in priorities (39%) and objectives (37%) and the inability to adapt are the two leading reasons for project failure, according to PMI.

As a result, PMOs that can be responsive to change needs continually are critical to fulfilling project milestones, which might mean the difference between being an industry leader or a laggard. An agile PMO’s guiding principles are as follows:

  • Decentralization of planning and decision-making
  • Agile resource allocation and reallocation
  • Workflows that are effective for continuous project advancement

An agile PMO may demonstrate agility by altering priorities and reallocating resources to achieve new objectives while transitioning seamlessly from reorganization to continuous delivery. Furthermore, decisions are decentralized, allowing faster response rates for recognizing and reducing hazards. Finally, communication is critical, with fewer layers of approval, and output is assessed by how much work can be done in a particular sprint.

However, merely establishing an agile PMO will only solve some difficulties; 47% of agile projects are late, have budget overruns, or result in dissatisfied consumers. A cultural revolution is required to fully realize agile’s potential, beginning with the leadership team and spreading across the firm.

As a result, the PMO cannot only act as an intermediary but also as a business partner, working alongside the leadership team and the rest of the organization. Team members must be self-sufficient, accountable, and have complete insight into project progress and data.

  1. Strategy 

The PMO’s role must evolve from a team offering mere assurance to becoming a strategic partner with a vested interest in aligning with the organization’s ability to carry out its plan. As a result, the team is expected to have stronger strategic oversight of all work streams to deliver value throughout the project.

PMOs will be required to go beyond task completion and monitoring to include:

  • Portfolio planning entails generating ideas for the activities required to capitalize on the opportunity.
  • Project prioritizing entails determining the most effective timeframe and budgeting by the company’s demands.
  • Capacity planning entails assigning the appropriate skills and resources to each work team.
  • Resilience planning entails anticipating future obstacles and reducing interruptions.
  • The strategic partnership is a cultural transformation in management and the PMO. The PMO is viewed as a business leader and adviser with a stake in the organization’s goals.

The key to success is consistent stakeholder engagement, with the PMO and business leaders holding frequent strategic discussions to monitor and coordinate company strategy and broad strategic objectives. This consistency will build a collaborative strategic management process and a fluid communication channel to adjust quickly and efficiently.

The future PMO will be more strategic and intricate in character than conventional models, emphasizing driving decision-making, execution, and outcomes while becoming more decentralized to interact with each workstream to achieve one common goal efficiently. Finally, PMOs will be more crucial than ever in addressing the complexities that organizations are now confronting. An effective transformation will need PMOs to serve as the organization’s voice and face.

Strategic project management office's role in strategy execution

Strategic project management office’s role in strategy execution

Strategic project management office’s role in strategy execution

Identifying, implementing, and managing strategic initiatives is critical to strategy execution. The strategies are implemented by creating strategic initiatives to support strategic objectives and fill gaps in strategic measures, and the value gap is bridged. Only projects that are connected with the strategic goal should be accepted.

When defining strategic initiatives/projects, the sequence of initiative execution is crucial since all related strategic initiatives must finish and provide value. The strategic initiatives cover almost all departments and corporate shared services. As governance becomes more important in project management, portfolios and programs are defined.

  • Strategic initiatives are linked to similar programs and project execution.
  • The projects will be managed by program managers, project managers, and another project team.
  • Connecting programs and projects creates portfolios for portfolio managers and other project governance teams.
  • Project, program, and portfolio definition is an iterative process reviewed multiple times to ensure interconnectivity and value generation.

Portfolio, program, and project management are critical components of strategy execution. Hence, everything is referred to as a Strategic Project Management Office (SPMO) or Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO).

Final Thoughts

Organizations can only thrive in a highly competitive world if they innovate. Such innovation must occur at all levels of the organization, including goods, services, business processes, and business models.

The PMO has the authority to execute the innovation at all levels. Good project management regulates and fosters innovation through projects—customer satisfaction and profit growth when consistent outcomes are predictable. Project and program management practices establish the foundation for dependable plan execution. The efficacy of the organization’s initiatives and programs will influence corporate success when such practices are implemented throughout the organization.

The project management office (PMO) is a key change management component, working with other organizational structures, such as functional units, to improve project management competencies. However, in today’s competitive environment, businesses must rely on more than just solid strategies to secure success.

To succeed, managers must build organizations capable of attaining their strategic objectives faster than their competitors. This initiative involves the creation of organizations capable of performing today’s tasks more effectively while anticipating future disruptions. Successful execution of creative and strategic concepts leads to innovation. Competitive advantage is as much about execution as it is about strategy.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Justin Buckwalter in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting http://talktodharam.com/

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

The Paradox of Project Sponsors to Stakeholders

The Paradox of Project Sponsors to Stakeholders

A project is deemed successful when it meets or exceeds the expectations of its stakeholders. Every project has a unique set of stakeholders—sometimes far too many. Trying to meet all of their requirements is more often an impossible task. Nonetheless, the project manager must deal with all stakeholder situations smoothly because the stakeholders and the people they represent often evaluate the project’s success.

Project Stakeholders

Project Stakeholders

But who are the stakeholders? According to PMI, “Project stakeholders are individuals and organizations who are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected as a result of project execution or successful project completion.”

Stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization that is carrying out the project.

“Project Sponsor” is also a stakeholder, typically an organization executive with authority to assign resources and enforce project decisions. Project sponsors are called internal stakeholders in the project. Stakeholders include the project manager, project team members, and managers from other departments within the organization. Identifying all project stakeholders as early as possible in a project is critical. Leaving out key stakeholders or the department’s function and not discovering the fault until the project is well underway could be disastrous.

Types of Stakeholders

Types of Stakeholders

Types of Stakeholders

There are two types of project stakeholders:

  • Internal Stakeholders
  • External Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders are individuals or businesses whose relationship with a company is determined by their position within its structure. As the name implies, these individuals are involved in a project from the inside. They are as follows:

  • A project sponsor
  • An internal customer or client
  • A project team
  • A program or portfolio manager
  • Management
  • Another team’s manager of the company

External stakeholders are those interested in a company’s operations. Still, they do not necessarily have a role in the decisions of the business. However, they can influence success or failure based on their vested interests. They can be just as powerful as internal stakeholders. These stakeholders are not directly involved in the project but are affected by its outcome.

  • An external customer or client
  • An end-user
  • Subcontractors
  • A supplier
  • The government
  • Local communities
  • Media

Characteristics of Stakeholders in a Project 

  • When contributing to a project, stakeholders have varying levels of responsibility and authority. This level may change as the project progresses. It can range from one-time contributions to complete project sponsorship.
  • Some stakeholders may also actively or passively undermine the project’s success. These stakeholders require the project manager’s attention throughout the project’s life cycle.
  • Stakeholder identification is a continuous process throughout the project’s life cycle. Identifying them, understanding their level of impact on a project, and meeting their demands, needs, and expectations are critical to the project’s success.
  • Just as they can positively or negatively impact a project’s objectives, stakeholders can perceive a project to have positive or negative outcomes.
  • A project manager’s most important role is managing stakeholder expectations, which can be challenging because stakeholders often have different or conflicting goals.

Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder management is the process of organizing, monitoring, and improving relationships with stakeholders. It entails systematically identifying stakeholders, analyzing their needs and expectations, and planning and carrying out various tasks to engage them. In addition, a good stakeholder management process will allow them to coordinate their interactions and evaluate the status and quality of their relationships with various stakeholders.

A critical component of running a successful project is developing and maintaining positive relationships with the affected communities and other stakeholders.

Investing time in identifying and prioritizing stakeholders, as well as assessing their interests, provides a solid foundation on which to build the stakeholder engagement strategy. In addition, good stakeholder management includes ‘business intelligence.

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

  • Build Reputation
  • Competitive advantage
  • Corporate governance
  • Risk management
  • Social license to operate
7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

Clarkson Centre created the seven principles of Stakeholder Management for Business Ethics under the leadership of Max Clarkson. The Clarkson Principles are, in many ways, “meta-principles” that encourage management to embrace specific stakeholder principles and implement them according to the norms.

  1. Managers must acknowledge and actively monitor all legitimate stakeholders’ concerns and consider their interests in decision-making and operations.
  2. Managers must listen to and communicate openly with stakeholders about their respective concerns and contributions and the risks they face from their involvement with the corporation.
  3. Managers must implement processes and behaviors sensitive to each stakeholder constituency’s concerns and capabilities.
  4. Managers should be aware of the interdependence of stakeholder efforts and rewards and make an effort to fairly distribute the costs and benefits of corporate activity among them while taking into account their risks and vulnerabilities.
  5. Managers should work with other public and private entities to ensure that risks and harms resulting from corporate activities are minimized and compensated appropriately where they cannot be avoided.
  6. Managers should avoid activities that could jeopardize inalienable human rights or create risks that, if clearly understood, would be patently unacceptable to relevant stakeholders.
  7. Managers should be aware of potential conflicts between their role as corporate stakeholders and their legal and moral obligations to all stakeholders and address such conflicts through open communication, appropriate reporting and incentive systems, and, if necessary, third-party review.

Understanding the Stakeholders

A good understanding of the stakeholders is the key to successful stakeholder engagement. In addition, understanding stakeholder concerns and interests can lead to product or service ideas that address stakeholder needs while allowing the company to cut costs and maximize value.

1. What else can you learn about stakeholders to better understand their needs, priorities, preferences, and concerns? Consider:

  • Demographic data- Ensure to engage with a diverse community and stakeholder groups.
  • Social networks- Focus on the important, often undocumented, social connections between stakeholders.

2. Stakeholder Mapping – Stakeholder mapping is the visual process of depicting all stakeholders of a product, project, or idea on a single map. The main advantage of a stakeholder map is that it provides a visual representation of all the people who can have an impact on your project and how they are connected.

3. Salience model – investigate the power, urgency (need for immediate action), and legitimacy (appropriate stakeholders), as well as the interaction or groups of stakeholders that result.

4. Determine stakeholder expectations and compare them to the scope and expectations of the project or organization for which the engagement program is being run. Is there a mismatch in expectations, and how will this be addressed? Consider the following:

  • What information do they need from you, how often, and in what format/channel do they want it?
  • What is their financial/social/emotional stake in the outcome of the work? Is it favorable or unfavorable?
  • What primary motivations will shape their perceptions of your project or organization and their interactions with you?
  • What are their current feelings about the organization and project? Is it founded on reliable data?
  • Who influences their thoughts, and who are they influenced by?

Ways to deal with common stakeholder problems and challenges

  • Stakeholder conflict occurs when different stakeholders have incompatible goals. It causes a “problem” for the company because it can impact its performance and success.
  • Conflict necessitates that businesses effectively manage stakeholder interests. Not all stakeholders are strategically important to the company. As a result, businesses must determine which ones should be prioritized.
  • Potential problems can be avoided by conducting an upfront analysis of who the stakeholders are and how and when to involve them in the project.
Analysis of common stakeholder issues

Analysis of common stakeholder issues

Analysis of common stakeholder issues 

As no two stakeholders are the same, the issues they may introduce into a project will be vastly different. This factor means there could be many reasons why a project encounters stakeholder resistance or the project team struggles to gain traction. Identifying stakeholder issues during the project can help with planning ahead of time and preparing an appropriate response.

  1. Trying to align different stakeholders.

It is generally a good thing to have a variety of interests in the project and its outcome, but having a lot of different stakeholders can also pull the project team in too many different directions. In addition, it can be challenging for project managers to coordinate too many different stakeholders, which could add new difficulties to the project.

  1. Competing priorities between stakeholders

Stakeholders bring their objectives and expectations to the project. However, at least a few of these priorities frequently conflict with or compete with one another. In addition, priorities may vary depending on the department, the role, or the professional backgrounds of the individuals.

  1. Resource constraints 

It’s possible that the team lacks some of the resources they require or that the project is utilizing resources that other stakeholders consider crucial to their projects. Resource competition is common in organizations and can lead to conflict.

  1. Breakdowns in communication

Effective communication between stakeholders and the project team is crucial for everyone to achieve their objectives and for the project to be successful. When there are communication breakdowns, the project may be delayed, or the team may not receive the necessary information. Without deliberate communication, stakeholders might unintentionally hinder the project’s success.

  1. Stakeholders are resistant to sharing information. 

At times, important project sponsors are more focused on their success and fail to promptly or completely provide the stakeholders with the required information. As a result, stakeholders may attempt to disrupt a project unintentionally or on purpose.

  1. Potential implications of conflict with a sponsor

Conflict with project sponsors may have many consequences on the project management, such as these typical ones:

  • The project’s progress is being slowed
  • Reducing the effectiveness and timeliness of decision-making
  • Putting team cohesion in jeopardy
  • Undermining a project manager’s authority
  • Fostering hostility and encouraging uncooperative behavior
  • Creating a fearful environment for other stakeholders
  • Obscuring the project’s vision
Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

  1. Stakeholder analysis 

Stakeholder analysis can offer insightful information and guidance, just as project managers must carefully examine resources and specifics. It can be helpful to respond appropriately by taking the time to consider how stakeholders affect the project’s progress.

By conducting a stakeholder analysis, one can learn how to control expectations, channel stakeholder influence toward project objectives, and deliver the information and updates that stakeholders expect from their team.

  1. Identify stakeholders

One must first identify the stakeholders to analyze them effectively. List every stakeholder that comes to mind, then include more individuals and organizations as necessary. As stakeholders, all parties involved in the project, those with authority over it or an interest in its success, should be listed.

  1. Prioritize stakeholders

The list of stakeholders can then be ranked according to impact, interest, and power. For instance:

  • Key stakeholders: This first group heavily influences and controls the project. This group is frequently accurate for executive leadership at the company.
  • Primary stakeholders: The project immediately affects the key stakeholders. This pack may include team members, departments, and internal or external clients who stand to gain from the project’s outcomes.
  • Secondary stakeholders: The secondary stakeholders are those who play a supporting role, are indirectly impacted or have a less significant stake in the project.

Understand the key stakeholders

A few stakeholders are usually critical to the project. Key stakeholders invoke more power and may have a more significant stake in the project’s success than primary or secondary stakeholders. For example, key stakeholders could include their boss, company executives, or team leaders.

Finding the key stakeholders and understanding what they need can help keep the project on track because they may control important resources, have a significant impact on the project, or grant the necessary approval.

Create a communication plan 

With a communication plan, project leaders will be better prepared to manage their stakeholders on the fly and keep the project moving forward.

  • Create your communication strategy based on what the project leader knows about their stakeholders.
  • Keeping track of what the stakeholders require from themselves allows project leaders to stay organized and focused on managing the project.
  • Gaining the stakeholders’ trust is essential once the developed strategy has been implemented. Rather than dictating the project to them, make each stakeholder a priority – as appropriate – and give them space to contribute.

Final Thoughts

Different stakeholders in the project have different expectations. Project managers should look for potentially hazardous situations when those expectations might clash. Then, they must address and resolve the conflict or risk endangering the project and themselves.

Resolving stakeholder expectations conflicts is always linked to project success. Furthermore, using various forms of communication among the project team, such as senior management and stakeholders, increases the likelihood of mutual understanding. These techniques help project managers align stakeholder expectations and reduce the possibility of project distress.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting http://talktodharam.com/

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd