Friday, December 25, 2015

10 factors 3: stakeholders

3.    Stakeholders. Involve your stakeholders throughout the project. Get them involved in the analysis and planning, as well as execution. Gain their approval when needed and keep them informed when needed. The more you involve them, the greater their level of buy-in and the better you will manage their expectations.
'Stakeholders' are a various bunch. They range from the people with an actual stake in the project that they paid real money for, through those with a possible financial interest, to those who have no financial interest, but could be supporters or irritants.

For any interest group (and some interest groups will pretend that they are 'stakeholders' and should be given the attention that a proper stakeholder receives), as well as stakeholders identify their interest, their objectives, the strength of their interest and project risks that this might produce.

Then devise the separate management, communication and obstruction strategies for them...that's right 'obstruction' because some 'interest' groups are not interested in the project, not really. They are interested in the project not happening. For the project investor's interest, and with them kept fully informed, you might just have to obstruct them.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

2. Communicate visually

This alludes to a book by Woeppel about 'visual project management'. I haven't read the book so I cannot say if it is worthwhile, or just another PM gimmick.

Visual communication has had a boost in recent years with the preponderance of 'dashboards' as an attempt to communicate critical performance information to senior executives (or anyone, really). I use them myself, but one of the risks of dashboard reports is that they will be admired but not digested.

The idea of 'dashboards' was given its first outing, according to himself, by Charlie Kyd, who has an e-book on the topic. Edward Tufte's forum also deals with visual communication in regard to project management, wrestling with gantt charts, as though these are the be all and end all of PM information vehicles. Oddly, Tufte has some good ideas on this topic for medical charts. These could provide an approach for project management, conceptualising the project like a patient and bring a summation of past and current information to the chart.

The idea of visual communication: charts, influence diagrams, fishbone diagrams and the rest of the panoply of this genre is probably good, at a level. The idea of a project dashboard is good too, but one cannot escape the numbers. The two biggest numbers are: current expected (really truly expected) out-turn cost and current expected completion date. Nothing else matters.