Project Agency warns project managers to 'beware of the Wicked Witch'
Project managers need to identify and then manage every stakeholder in a project, believes project management training and development specialists, Project Agency. If not, disgruntled stakeholders - like the Wicked Witch in the Sleeping Beauty fairytale - will have their revenge.
- (1888PressRelease) July 09, 2011 - According to Ron Rosenhead, Project Agency's chief executive, one of the most common project management problems is that the project's stakeholders are - and remain - uncommitted to the project's success. He said: "Our researches show that, by identifying and managing stakeholders, projects stand a better chance of being delivered.
"Forget stakeholders and they can kill your project," he continued.
"In the story of Sleeping Beauty, a princess is born and everyone in the Kingdom, except the Wicked Witch, is invited to a party. So she invites herself and spoils everything by casting a spell on the child.
"It's like that in project management," he continued. "Often, we find that someone or an organisation should have been involved but was not.
"Without either party realising it, the Wicked Witch strikes! The results include bad relationships, the project is derailed or delayed and there is a need for new plans and more money."
Rosenhead, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an author, coach and trainer in the field of project management, helps people - through practical project management training - to deliver projects successfully. He commented: "While projects can fail to deliver because they have no business case, have poorly defined objectives, poor scope, over-optimistic deadlines and no planned project budget, they will also fail if the project's stakeholders - those with an interest and those who will be affected by the project - aren't committed to make the project succeed.
"Our research points to projects being derailed by the poor management of stakeholders," he added. "This research shows that a significant proportion of project management problems are 'people issues' - and stakeholders account for a substantial proportion of these issues."
So Rosenhead's advice to everyone who wants to be involved with a successful project is:
• At the start of the project planning exercise, identify the project stakeholders - and they can be individuals or companies. If in doubt, include a potential stakeholder - if only because it will be more difficult to do so later in the project.
• Understand what each stakeholder's interest or requirements from the project are. Avoid second guessing and, at the same time, beware of raising expectations.
• Identify what the project needs from each stakeholder. Tell stakeholders the consequences on the project of their 'non-delivery'. Rosenhead observed: "Our researches identify that project managers or teams don't say what they want as much as they should!"
• Identify stakeholders' attitudes and the possible risks to the project. Rosenhead said: "Stakeholder management is the first stage of risk management. By identifying attitudes and the possible risks, you're aiming to prevent 'issues' from arising."
• Identify actions you need to take - to ensure you take management control of your stakeholders. Ensure you appoint a person to manage each action or series of actions,
"Each of these five things needs to be carried out throughout the life of a project," added Rosenhead. "Someone - or a group - who is not a key stakeholder in a project today may become one tomorrow - and you need to be prepared for that and then manage the situation in order to bring about a successful conclusion to the project..
"And, when dealing with everyone involved in a project, not just stakeholders, the key aspect is transparency," he counselled.
All these - and other - issues are covered in Project Agency's recently published e-learning materials. These are intended for those who want to develop their project management skills and/ or who want to understand what lies beneath successful project delivery.
About Project Agency
Helping organisations deliver projects on time and to budget, Project Agency delivers a wide variety of training and development events in-house for clients' staff, as well as e-learning materials. Principally concerned with project management, the events cover issues including:
• Project management skills training
• Project management strategy and planning
• Managing the benefits of a project
• Change management
Its consultants also provide professional speaking training and coaching.
Formed in 1995, Project Agency works with a rage of clients drawn from the following sectors: financial services; media and publishing; professional bodies and charities; universities and higher education; retail and service industries; industry and technology; pharmaceuticals, and the public sector.
Ron Rosenhead, Project Agency, +44 (0)20 8446 7766; rr ( @ ) projectagency dot com
Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR, +44 (0)1727 860405, bob.little ( @ ) boblittlepr dot com