Related ProjectsA Special Case of Stakeholder


Related Projects”A Special Case of Stakeholder

With related projects, the types of relationships or services can be easily identified:

  • Data, process, objects: One project will be implementing data, process, or objects required by another project.

  • Technology: One project is implementing a technology that another project requires.

  • Policy: One project is developing or altering corporate policy or government legislation that you require.

  • Resources: One project is using people that another project requires or shares.

  • Funding: One project is producing benefits (capital) that will fund another project.

  • Staff impact: One project is altering processes in a business area for which another project is also implementing changes at the same time.

As with stakeholders, there can be critical, essential, and nonessential related proj ects. All critical and, if possible, essential stakeholders and related projects must be actively involved in both the planning and tracking of the project. For example, should a project manager of a related project agree to expand the scope and delay the delivery of his or her project, this may have a negative impact on your project. All changes to critical and essential related projects must be reviewed by all related project managers.

What Sign-Off?

Never confuse the act of sending a document to someone with the act of their reading it. If you want to ensure that a critical or essential stakeholder has really read key documents such as your business case, you must take it to them and take the time to review it with them.

Nonessential stakeholders and related projects should be kept informed of the status of the project through copies of the project reports and any changes to the business case.

Focus and Communicate

As we have stated many times already and, as is worth repeating, the management of the expectations and relationships between stakeholders and related project managers is the key role of a project manager.

Show Them You're Listening

One simple trick is to start your business case with the relevant corporate objectives that the project is related to. Our experience is that this lets your executives know that their objectives are being implemented and hits their buttons to assist you in getting their buy-in.

The management of stakeholder communications is a key focus for you as a project manager. You can never overcommunicate to your stakeholders. In general, the planning of a formal communication strategy for stakeholders is poorly implemented in organizations. In fact, in our research and experience, one of the major causes of stakeholder problems is the absence of regular and open communications from the project team. In the absence of information, rumors and gossip take over and the management of stakeholder expectations is lost. Remember, if you are not talking with them, they'll assume the worst.

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You cannot not communicate.

The general mechanism for stakeholder communication depends on their level of impact:

  • Critical: These people must be involved in and approve all changes to the business case and their related stakeholder agreements. Ideally, they should be actively involved in evaluating the impact of the change before it is approved. The primary communication mechanism is involvement in RAP sessions and review and approval of all tracking and reporting information.

  • Essential: These people must be informed of and approve all changes to the business case and their related stakeholder agreements. Ideally, they should sign off on all changes. The primary communication mechanism is active review of RAP session outputs and review of all tracking and reporting information.

  • Nonessential: These people must be informed of all changes to the business case in a passive manner. The primary communication mechanism is giving them access to RAP session outputs and review of all tracking and reporting information. [4]

    [4] One of the most interesting developments in stakeholder communication is the evolution of the World Wide Web and intranets This technology provides you with a simple, cheap, and powerful tool for active and passive distribution of key project information to many people.

To summarize, communication with critical and essential stakeholders must be two-way, and communication with nonessential stakeholders need only be one-way.

Formalizing Stakeholder Relationships

At the end of the RAP session and, after any planning sessions throughout the development life cycle, you must formalize the various service agreements with your critical stakeholders at a minimum.

Changes

During your project, certain stakeholders and related projects may change status. For example, during the analysis phases of a project, IT operations may be a nonessential stakeholder. However, during the design phase, they may become a critical stakeholder. You must constantly monitor stakeholder status during the project.

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Figure 8.5 shows a standard partnership agreement that our group has used for many years . It is a very powerful tool and, if used properly, can save you and your project.

Figure 8.5. Partnership agreement

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The form contains the following information:

  • Service: You should agree on and document each unique service required from the stakeholder or that you need to provide to the stakeholder.

  • Timing: You should agree on and document the specific timing issues for the service; for example, so many hours per period or a specific date when the service has to be delivered.

  • Cost: You should agree on the costs or fees that the stakeholder will incur in delivering the service.

  • Contingency: You should agree with the stakeholder about who else can undertake the provision of the service if the stakeholder is not available.

  • Person responsible: You should agree with the stakeholder about which member of your team is responsible for managing the relationship.

This is a very important but obviously political document, as it is designed to hold the stakeholder responsible for his or her role in your project. However, our experience is that, provided it is negotiated openly and in advance, you should have no trouble getting agreement. More important, it gives you a clear indicator of the commitment or buy-in of the stakeholder and it gives the stakeholder something to take back to his or her boss.

When the *@@% Hits the Fan

The partnership agreement is the only tool that will help you when a stakeholder is moved off your project to another task (we discussed this earlier). When your project has slipped because of the stakeholder's move, you can use the partnership agreement to negotiate with your sponsor.

The agreements must be included in the business case. For small projects, it would be sufficient for the various stakeholders to simply sign off on the business case.

Sponsor Agreement”The Most Important of All

Given the critical nature of your relationship with your sponsor, you should also complete a partnership agreement with him or her. It should focus on the availability of the sponsor for meeting with you on a regular as well as ad hoc basis.

Who Is Your Team?

One of the most difficult issues in your project is determining who are your team members and who are your stakeholders. One simple test is to ask yourself what would happen if you change some of the minor scheduling of your project.

Team members should have no problem rescheduling their work, as you are their boss in the formal organization sense. Stakeholders will have to ask someone else”their boss. In effect, they are reporting to someone else even though they are working for you on the project. The virtual team lives.

The P Files Episode 5: The Lone Dissenter

One of our favorite movies is Monty Python's The Life of Brian. In that movie there is a running gag about the lone dissenter. Remember the scene where Brian, falsely mistaken as the Messiah, extols his followers, "You don't need me. You are all individuals." Hundreds of his followers shout in unison , "We are all individuals!" One wild-looking character at the front of the mob looks around confused and says, "I'm not." We were reviewing a major project that had been in development for 18 months. We met the team and the project manager and showed them the Is/Is not tool. The team were quite annoyed that they had to restate the objectives. "We have been doing the project for 18 months. We know the #@@!!@ objectives," they said. However, we persisted , and within 10 minutes the team was replaying the scene from The Life of Brian. They all agreed that training was outside scope except for two team members, who argued that training was in scope. So it went for another hour . At the end of the session, the team agreed that they had no agreement at all as to what the objectives of the project were. The project manager went to the bathroom.

The P Files Team Comment

It is never too late to plan your project. If you haven't replanned your project in the last month, do it now. Try the Is/Is not tool.

Case Study”Scope, Objectives, and Stakeholders

At the RAP session, Edwina and the stakeholders agree on the following objectives.

Corporate Vision

  • To take our client's problems away.

Corporate Objectives

  • To be the best relocation service in the region.

  • To provide superior service to busy executives.

  • To provide a caring, family environment for Smuthe consultants and employees .

Business Objective

  • To place the right client with the right house.

Project Objectives

  • To capture extended client personal details.

  • To capture more comprehensive client requirements for accommodation.

  • To enable internal access to all client information for Smuthe consultants in all sites.

  • To distribute more details on available accommodation to clients .

Your team uses the scope and objectives tool and the result is as follows :

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Edwina agrees to think about the unresolved objectives and get back to you in a couple of days.

Because all the stakeholders are present you can proceed to develop the draft partner-ship agreements. The following is the one you develop for Joan Jette.

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What is interesting about your arrangement with Joan is that she is clearly an essential stakeholder, as a backup for her is available.

Most important, you get an agreement with Edwina that you can meet with her weekly for at least an hour and, if required, daily at 8:30 a.m.

There are a number of related projects, including the acquisition of hardware, that are being undertaken by No Object.



Radical Project Management
Radical Project Management
ISBN: 0130094862
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 136
Authors: Rob Thomsett

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