PMO Stakeholder Management
By Deborah Pratt
Stakeholder management is a critical PMO component – perhaps the most critical. One of the best definitions of stakeholder management is “the art and science of constructive relationships”. In fact, the words “constructive” (serving a useful purpose; building up) and “relationship” (the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected) are at the heart of any successful PMO – or any organization, for that matter.
The stakeholder management process starts with stakeholder identification:
- The most critical PMO stakeholder is the CEO or CIO (depending on the placement of the PMO within the organization). Without buy-in and staunch support from executives, the PMO cannot function successfully.
Resource Managers. Why? Project team members (like most people) take direction from the people responsible for their performance evaluation.
Project Managers. They are the primary consumers of PMO work!
BAs, Developers, and QA testers. These individuals participate in many of the project management processes: for example, issue, risk, scope, change, and project stakeholder management.
Leadership. This group includes any level of leadership between manager and executives; for example, directors and some VP levels. Note: a knowledgeable, influential leader who straddles the line between “tactical” and “strategic” can be one of the PMO’s key sources of information and advice.
For IT PMOs: Business partners, from executive leadership to the SMEs. Their roles in the IT project structure must be clearly understood and supported.
Stakeholder analysis occurs next. Questions to be asked during this period include:
- What are the stakeholder’s interest and/or expectation of the PMO? What benefits do they believe the PMO will/should provide?
What is their role in the PMO, if any? In projects? If their time or resources are needed by the PMO, are they available?
Are they supportive of the PMO? Or resistant? Influencer or opponent?
What are their PMO-specific communications needs? How do they prefer to obtain updates, and how often?
What is their capacity to absorb change?
Be sure to develop organizational change management and communication plans that include the people, processes, tools and metrics required to for PMO effectiveness. Ensure this plan includes a periodic stakeholder survey.
Stakeholder management is a key component of PMO management, project management, and organizational change management. Consider meeting with a PMO expert to understand how you can strengthen this process to benefit your organization.
Deborah Pratt is a Project Management Office Consultant at Ciber North America. Ciber helps clients solve problems and grow by driving tangible business results from their technology investments.