Posted by: Gilad Lev-Shamur | January 13, 2012

Back to Basic Series– part 1: Stakeholders analysis

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A man should know when to admit that he did a mistake.

We already talked in the past about Ego in project management . This time I did a mistake.

I did not recognize correctly the stakeholders of the project. Not because I was not familiar with their interests / agendas.  Just because I did not do an organized processes in order recognize them.

If we will return to the basic of project management, we could find several basic rules and tools that every project manager should master them before even considering learning how to use sophisticated software or smart estimation process…

Stakeholder analysis process is one of them. It helps you recognize all the relevant people involve in your project.

PMBOK definition: “Stakeholders analysis is a technique of systematically gathering and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information to determine whose interests should be taken into account throughout the project. It determines the interests, expectations, and influenza of stakeholders and relates them to the purpose of the project. I also helps identify stakeholders relationship that can be leveraged to build coalitions and potential partnerships to enhance the project’s chance to success”

PMs might think they can skip this process due to:

• Unprofessionalism (not familiar with process)
• And most important, Ego

If I look on my project, Ego was the case.

When I got this specific project, it had bloody history. A lot of arguments and disagreements during design, politics, tight budget…

I thought that I am familiar with the specific organization handling the project and started to work immediately. Meetings, emails, schedule meetings, design meetings and so on. I tried to shoot  in all directions.

This was a mistake.

I did not start my work in this project doing a real stakeholder analysis process. It is true I did some checking on the key personal (as I saw it) in the organization. But I never did a thorough process of analyzing if additional people have influence or interests in this project.

And as you can imagine, it blow in face.

At some point of the project (the most challenging one, as you can imagine) I was surprised to know that there are other people I should know. Someone else is really the decision-making.

This discovery required from me and the project team to do extra work in order to involve these stakeholders in the project. It delayed the project and will probably cost us in $ and reputation.

Why this happen? Ego.

I thought I know the organization, neglected the importance of the new environment I needed to work in, the new team members, counting too much on successful history and so on.

The main message I am want you to remember is that:

Assume that every project is unique. That every project involves someone you are not familiar with or change his role from the last time you worked with him. Only by that you will prevent surprises like I had.

Here you can find interesting articles about stakeholder analysis:

Stakeholder adventure maps. Drawing Smileys and walls.

How to build stakeholders analysis

Tools and psychological tidbits for stakeholder engagement

Good Luck!


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