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Project Sustainability Predators at Work

Project Sustainability Predators at Work
By Gratien Gasaba

Have you ever watched a movie concerning bush meat hunting as performed by the wild big cats such as lions and leopards? Have you noticed that these big cats use a range of tactics to maximize their chances of catching the prey? Have you noticed that these strategies and tactics vary with the nature and kinds of the prey? Needless to say that a predator, say a lion, will never acknowledge to be a predator, instead it would portray itself as an accountable king of the forest that carefully defends its subjects, and righteously uses its upper hand to be fed to maintain health and survive.

In my last post I discussed 9 categories of sustainability stakeholders including the predators. The article postulated that sustainability predators are powerful people who don’t care about lasting solutions which they mostly perceive as threats to their personal interests. Read the Complete Article

10 Practical Ways Sponsors Can Boost Their Project Success

10 Practical Ways Sponsors Can Boost Their Project Success
By Harry Hall

I often ask project managers the reasons for project failure. One of the top responses is a lack of leadership and sustained engagement by the project sponsor. The sponsor paints a fuzzy picture of what they want, throws it over the fence to the project manager, and goes on their merry way. The sponsor essentially says, “Let me know when you’re done. Failure is not an option.” Really?

Fortunately, some sponsors know how to hit home runs. These sponsors understand that their leadership is essential to a winning season. They stand out from other sponsors by owning their projects and maintaining a healthy relationship with their project managers from the beginning to end of their projects.

Sponsors are typically busy senior executives often coming from the C-suite. In addition to the projects they are sponsoring, the executives have many other responsibilities. Read the Complete Article

Project Sponsors: How Good Are You at Briefing Your Project Managers?

Project Sponsors: How Good Are You at Briefing Your Project Managers?
By Ron Rosenhead

“This is a long; much longer than a briefing note I would normally get from my manager or sponsor.”

These are words spoken by someone on a project management course and words I have heard before.

What was being referred to was a case study, 315 words long which took up less than a page of paper. The person went on to say, and it is something I have heard before, they are lucky to get a one line e mail, or a face to face briefing that lasts less than 30 seconds.

This brings me to a briefing activity we sometimes do with project sponsors. The activity involves 3 people with one person being briefed by another, and with the 3rd person acting as observer. I start the feedback by asking the person who was briefed to say what the project is all about. Read the Complete Article

7 Proven Ways to Overcome False Expectations

7 Proven Ways to Overcome False Expectations
By Eileen McDargh

People have expectations. Individuals, teams, or organizations have a strong belief that something is going to happen in the future.

Project sponsors expect projects to be completed in a timely fashion. Developers expect clear requirements. Testers expect the test region to be stable. Users expect that all of their needs will be met. Vendors expect a statement of work.

Sometimes the expectations are valid; other times the expectations are false. The individual’s expectations are unrealistic or invalid. What causes false expectations and how can we set and maintain the proper expectations?

The Muck and Mire of Expectations

Let’s look at seven common causes of false expectations and what we can do about each. Take note that all of these problems are related to communications.

  • Things are not discussed adequately. For example: Why do the users of software expect one thing and get something different in projects?
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Best Practice for Stakeholder Engagement During Program Recovery

Best Practice for Stakeholder Engagement During Program Recovery
By Peter Osborne

If a program of change is put into recovery, stakeholders will inevitably play a critical role in getting it back on track. Their commitment and engagement can make the difference between a project or program’s ultimate success or failure. In order to recover the identity and integrity of a program, project management need to ensure influential stakeholders use their authority and leadership to clear a path back to successful delivery. Peter Osborne of LOC Consulting examines best practices for effective stakeholder re-engagement when the current approach has failed.

Establish terms of reference for stakeholders

Project management must consider stakeholders as operating along two axes of interest and influence. The process of developing a RACI chart will help identify and define the different interests and influences of stakeholders, as well as their level of involvement. Clear roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are key to delivering a successful program. Read the Complete Article

The Art of Stakeholder Management

The Art of Stakeholder Management
By Mark Norman

A stakeholder can be defined as someone who can impact or is impacted by either the project or the project outcomes. Stakeholders exist at many levels of a project but also extend out into the wider environment influenced by the project. The project sponsor is an obvious example of a key stakeholder as are those impacted by the desired outcomes of the project are also stakeholders. However, caution is required as almost anyone could be classed as a stakeholder. By understanding the context of the project the good project manager will be able to discern those stakeholders that require management.

Early identification and engagement of key stakeholders will be crucial. The situation to avoid is a previously unidentified stakeholder emerging at a crucial stage of the project and derailing the plan. Key stakeholders to identify are those that can influence the commitment of resources to the project and those that will accept or be recipients of the project outcomes. Read the Complete Article

Ooops, I Forgot a Key Stakeholder!

Ooops, I Forgot a Key Stakeholder!
By Sharon HoSang

I was the business analyst working on a debt management project. One of the deliverables was to develop standard letters to be sent to customers who were in arrears. These letters would differ based on the age of the arrears in terms of number of days. It ranged from 15 days, 30 days, 60 days and 90 days arrears.

It was time for me to look for “stakeholder” defined to be any person or organization that is actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected positively or negatively by execution of the project. As you know, stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization. I made a list which excluded the communication manager who had the power to determine the message and structure of the letters.

The letters were completed and submitted to the approval committee for ratification and sign off. Read the Complete Article

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #1 Limiting Stakeholders

Common Project Manager Mistakes: #1 Limiting Stakeholders
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

According to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide)-Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013, stakeholders are “individuals, groups, or organizations who may affect, or be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project.” This is a simple definition from the PMBOK® Guide and yet we often focused our attention on only those who requested the project or who are actively involved in project execution and decision-making.

Obviously our project’s initiator, sponsor and team are stakeholders. Equally obvious is the fact that the customer is a stakeholder, but here’s the rub: Who is the customer of the project? Is it the group that will use the results of the project? Is it the group that asked for the project to be done? Read the Complete Article

Stakeholders in Complexity

Stakeholders in Complexity
By Lynda Bourne

The new CPM is ‘Complex Project Management’ and whilst most of the current project management tools and practices including risk management, scheduling and EVM remain important, they are not sufficient to successfully manage a complex project according to Stephen Hayes, from the Canberra based International Centre for Complex Project Management ICCPM.

ICCPM Ltd was established by Australian, UK and US government bodies and major defense industry corporations, and is now a substantial network of global corporate, government, academic and professional organizations committed to the better management of complex projects across all industry and government sectors focused on improving the success of complex projects.

Whilst all projects have a degree of complexity (see: Project Size and Categorization) CPM is focused on the major projects undertaken in response to ill-defined and often mutually-incompatible stakeholder requirements and are subject to uncontrollable external influences and almost continuous change.

Successfully managing this type of project needs outcome focused leadership that is capable of developing context specific innovative approaches to issues backed by the tenacity to deliver ‘no matter what’! Read the Complete Article

Why Is Stakeholder Management So Important?

Why Is Stakeholder Management So Important?
By Michelle Symonds

Even the smallest projects have stakeholders, and most methodologies, approaches and tactics will involve some sort of stakeholder management. Project management training teaches us that managing stakeholders effectively enables you and your entire team to understand exactly how the people involved in the project from the outside will be affected by it. This means you then have a much better ability to plan communication with those affected, meaning you avoid potential issues.

In general, the standard procedure involves gauging interest and involvement, then working to communicate with less enthusiastic stakeholders, engaging them in various styles of communication, letting them know how the project will benefit them.

There are also lots of other reasons you take part in stakeholder management, and here are a few of them;

  • Free help

    Some stakeholders are incredibly proactive, which means you get access to lots of help for absolutely nothing.

Read the Complete Article

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