Overall, there was general support for the Lens, and a high quality
of enthusiastic debate on the subject.
The discussion was mainly about three aspects, namely
stakeholder management overall, the specific aspect of obtaining
feedback on stakeholder views, and the Lens itself. The following
were some of the key points:
This was acknowledged as a key and challenging activity, and one
delegate suggested that 50% of a Project Manager’s time should
be devoted to this.
Some of the specific challenges were identified, as follows:
- Defining what is a stakeholder, and within that what is a key
- Identifying all the stakeholders, and especially the key
stakeholders, including the challenge of invisible stakeholders
- The skills and confidence to carry out stakeholder management
- Engaging stakeholders, getting access and time
- Managing disparate views amongst stakeholders
- Ambitious stakeholders, seeking prestige etc.
- Obtaining stakeholder feedback that is more than ad hoc (see
A specific challenge related to project sponsors was identified,
including the need to educate sponsors as to their impact, and to
get their buy-in to accepting certain responsibilities and to work in
Some suggestions were made, including:
- The focus should be on key stakeholders, in order to make it
- Stakeholder management does not all have to be carried out by
the Project Manager, and other people may be more suitable to
manage the relationship with particular stakeholders. The Project
Manager has the responsibility for orchestrating stakeholder
management, however, and has overall accountability for it.
- Stakeholder workshops can be useful in identifying and
managing disparate views
It was acknowledged that this was usually ad hoc, and that there
were generally no (widely available) systematic methods for
gathering and analysing stakeholder views and perceptions.
Key stakeholder views were recognised as the most critical, but
there is also the challenge of obtaining representative views of
larger stakeholder groups, for example users.
The risk of stakeholder views changing over the course of a
project was recognised, and the consequent risk of making false
assumptions about stakeholder perceptions and priorities etc.
The Stakeholder Perspectives Lens
The idea of the Lens was supported, as identified above, and
there were no specific recommendations for particular topics/
sections to be added or removed.
The Form and Presentation of the Lens
There were specific suggestions in this area:
- Making all the questions open questions, to avoid Project
Managers just giving Yes/No answers
- Making use of graphics, and hierarchy/ flow charts to improve
impact and understanding
Use of the Lens
The Lens should be built into the specific project methodology
(which would impact presentation and language etc.)
The Lens should feed into various project processes, and
particularly project planning, risk management, benefits
management and the communications plan.
The communications plan is key, as this should cover information
flow with stakeholders
As a planning tool, it could be used to identify gaps, and report
associated RAG status
Not everyone will have the same skill and familiarity with
stakeholder management as those attending this workshop, and
use of the Lens in project workshops might help to educate other
team members in the subject.
The Lens (and also stakeholder feedback - see above) could be
used by the Project Assurance function
It should be used all the time, to support good judgement by the
Project Manager and team.
It would be useful to gather testimonials and other experience and
ideas that people have as a result of using the Lens