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Project Management Hacks – You need to know your stakeholder’s points of view

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As project manager, your role is to understand the perspectives of individual stakeholders and bring them together into a shared vision for the project. This involves taking a ‘helicopter view’, to see the project as a whole.

Business aims of the project.

The project sponsor is interested in the business aims of the project. ‘What value will this project bring to the business?’ and ‘What is its role in our strategic development?’ are likely questions he or she might ask.

Benefits of the project.

The customer wants to know what benefits the project will bring to them and how they will able to make use of the end product.

Capability of the project.

The skills and resources of suppliers and the project team determine the project’s capability. They will help you answers the questions, “How can I successful deliver what customers and users need, within the available schedule and budget?”

Small wonder: Understand your stakeholders’ perspectives, and bring them together in a shared vision for the project.

Vijay was asked to take on a project to upgrade his company’s website. He started by asking each of the main stakeholders what they thought would constitute success for the project. The project sponsor, one of the company directors, replied: “I’d like you to deliver the project on time and within budget, and to keep everyone happy.” The IT manager was less concerned with how the new site would work than with ensuring it would integrate well with the existing IT system. Other managers stated different priorities. The supplier said “Project, what project? All we’ve been given is a list of required modifications.” Reflecting on these comments, Vijay was concerned at the lack of clarity and shared understanding of the project. His next step was very sensibly to call a meeting of all the main stakeholders, in order to define the key success factors  and build a shared sense of purpose.

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