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People SIG Conference
Thursday 3rd July

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Stakeholders Perspective

Stakeholders Perspective Lens PDF

Keywords: Visuals, Open Questions


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:

Stakeholder Management

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 stakeholder
-   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 below)

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 partnership.

Some suggestions were made, including:
-   The focus should be on key stakeholders, in order to make it more manageable
-   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

Stakeholder Feedback

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

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Last updated on 14th July 2008 at 12:30 - Photographs added, formatting improved