Archives for category: change

All projects have stakeholders. Some are more “key” then others.  How do you best determine who your project stakeholders are and what you should do with them?

In this post, I will outline a process to help a Project Meeting Facilitator work with a group to identify, map and create a management plan for dealing with Project Stakeholders.

Meeting Outcomes:

  • Stakeholder identification
  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Stakeholder management plan
Agenda:
  • Brainstorming
  • Mapping
  • Management Planning
Facilitation Guide:
  • Stakeholder Brainstorming
  • The first step in Stakeholder Analysis is to get the group to identify as many of the project stakeholders as possible. In order to do that we first need the group to have a single understanding of what we mean by “stakeholder.”  For the purposes of this post, we will use the PMI PMBOK definition which states, “Stakeholders are persons or organizations (e.g., customers, sponsors, the performing organization, or the public), who are actively involved in the project or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the performance or completion of the project.”
  • For larger groups, split the group into smaller teams of no more than 6 individuals. Each group should have a flip chart, markers and post-its.   Post-its are recommended for flexibility at a later step.
  • Instruct each group to take 5-10 minutes to brainstorm who they see as stakeholders for the project. Remember, during brainstorming the goal is to generate ideas, not to debate the quality of the ideas. Each stakeholder idea should be written separately onto a post-it and placed onto the flipchart.
  • Stakeholder Mapping
  • The second step in Stakeholder Analysis is to subjectively have the groups map the stakeholders onto a chart to prioritize them based on how influential they may be to the project and/or how impacted they may be by the project. Each group should draw out the 4-block below onto a flipchart sheet:

  • Each group will then work within their groups to discuss each stakeholder and place the post-it with their name within one of the blocks based on that stakeholder’s level of influence (high or low) on the project – Can he/she/they influence resources, solutions, decisions on the project? – and the impact of the project on the stakeholder (high or low) – To what degree will the change/solution/output of the project change how the stakeholder works/behaves/interacts?
  • As a facilitator, instruct the groups that it doesn’t matter where in the block the stakeholder is placed. This exercise is not a granular one and it does not matter how close along the impact|influence axis the post-it is placed. The goal is to answer whether the influence and impact is high or low and place the post-it accordingly into a block.
  • After each group has completed the Stakeholder Mapping they can report back to the full team. As facilitator, you can work with a larger 4-block and collect the stakeholder post-its in a central location.  This process will allow for the consolidation of duplicate stakeholders across groups. As a group reports back and another group has that stakeholder on their chart they can just remove it and place it to the side.
  • Once all groups have reported out, the central 4-block will have a complete listing of stakeholders and their location on the Stakeholder Mapping.
  • Ask the full group the following questions based on the C.O.C. model:
  • Clarification – Is there anything on the board that you don’t understand that needs clarification?
  • Omissions – Is there anything that you believe is missing from the board?
  • Challenge – Is there anything you want to challenge on the board – something you disagree with.
  • Stakeholder Management Plan
  • Stakeholder Management Planning is quite easy at this point since the group has done the major lifting.
  • Based on the location of the stakeholder post-it on the 4-block we have a plan as to how we will handle the particular stakeholder.
  • Manage Closely – Stakeholders with high impact and high influence can be considered your key stakeholders.  As indicated by the title, your will want to work with these individuals and\or groups more closely to better understand their needs, concerns, etc. You will communicate with them often and they will have a higher level of input into project decision-making. If they are positive influencers you will want to leverage them and use them to advocate for the project.
  • Keep Informed – High impact, low influence stakeholders will need to be communicated with often so they are well-informed as to what the changes are that are coming their way. Additionally, give them an opportunity to provide feedback to the project team so they have a sense of being able to contribute to the changes impact them. Projects are about change. As much as we can manage the change for those impacted by it the better it will be received.
  • Keep Satisfied – High influencers, low impacts are those stakeholders that are not necessarily on the receiving end of the project change, but have some stake in the project. Again, these influences can be positive influencers which you will want to leverage. Otherwise, they may be somehow against the project and you will need to sell them on the benefits.
  • Monitor – Low impacts, low influencers are recognized as stakeholders, but from a project management standpoint, will only require keeping an eye on throughout the project life-cycle to see if their influence or impact level shifts.

The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and adversity. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Alzheimers Association Chocolate Symphony Fundraiser in Philadelphia. Throughout the night people shared their personal stories of lost due to Alzheimers or the challenges they faced living with the disease or loved ones with the disease.

The common thread through each story was that being diagnosed with Alzheimers (which is not preventable or curable as of today) is not a knockdown blow. Each person’s story was one of inspiration, not desperation. It was a message of affirmation and celebration.

We all face adversity. It comes into our lives at different times, in different ways – but no one is immune. How we chose to respond becomes what is important.  In Monday Morning Choices, David Cottrell provides three things we can do to make the Adversity Choice:

  1. Realize the adversity is short term. Allow others to help you work your way through the adversity you are facing.
  2. Don’t panic, freeze, and stop because you perceive the adversity as insurmountable. You can respond better to crisis when you maximize your forward motion. Keep moving forward.
  3. Don’t waste your energy looking for someone to blame. Choose to see the positives and opportunities to grow, even in the face of adversity.

[Note: This is the 8th in a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]

If you want to be happy, put your effort into controlling the sail, not the wind. – Anonymous

Did you ever look at yourself in the mirror and just smile? How’d it make you feel? When I consciously did this for the first time a number of years ago I was surprised at the sudden positive boost this simple action gave me.  Soon after, I made it a routine that first thing after I shaved in the morning I would look at myself and smile. Corny, I know. But it did work.  But, like many resolutions it faded from my routine.

The point is that attitude is a choice.  And out of all the choices out there, it is one that is solely ours to make.  That’s what makes it so powerful.  But if it is solely ours and if it that powerful,  why is it so hard to do?

I struggle with this one personally. For whatever reason, my intrinsic attitude is not “optimistic”, nor is it darkly pessimistic.  I just don’t look at everything and see the up side.

The choice of a more positive attitude for me then becomes an active exercise, day in, day out.  When things are going well – it’s easy.  When things get tough – well, not so easy.

I do work at it. I, like most of you I’m assuming, want to be happy. I’ve learned that this is my responsibility – I control the sail. I often slip, but I try not to dwell on those instances. I know that the choice is still mine and that the journey starts again tomorrow.