By Alison Smith
Each day in the Project Agency office I see the above quote made by Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. This is in a prominent place (on the fridge door) and this got me thinking about problems, or issues that arise in projects, and how these can be overcome.
Yes, some might say that many of these can be resolved by keeping and regularly updating the risk log, or having an agreed monitoring and control process, but is there something more fundamental that you need to tap into?
For me, I guess that getting stakeholder management right would be the first place to start. When starting a new project it is essential that you identify and include all stakeholders – however minor their interest or role in the overall project might be. If you fail to include a stakeholder at the initiation process, then they may well prove to be a real stone in the shoe of progress of the project. No one likes to be overlooked, or their views considered as inconsequential.
Whenever we run project management courses, we get feedback which goes along the lines of “We can’t get the stakeholders on board”, or “There’s always someone who seems to want to challenge the project – usually when we are near the end”.
This all goes to show that stakeholders need very careful, ongoing engagement and management all the way through the project.
I would suggest that you complete a formal stakeholder analysis at the start of each project, and throughout its life. This will enable you to consider more fully who your stakeholders are, their interest in and what expectations they may have about the project. As well as considering ahead of time any perceived attitudes about the project, or risks that may arise during the project lifecycle.
By considering all stakeholders more fully at the start of the project, you should be able to head off many stakeholder management problems before they arise.
Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net – pakorn