- Usefull links
Project Management Book: Chapter 10 Project Communications Management
Slide share: Project Communications Management
A Classic: “At the beginning of your project you should identify all the stakeholders…” Those are all the people, entities, organisations which are going to be related to your project in any ways. As a reminder, a cartoon illustrating what your project output would look like if you forget to take all stakeholders in account along the way:
Some Maths: As project member you will have many interfaces. The bigger the project the greater the number. If you have n stakeholder the number of interface you will have to manage is . If you have 10 members in your project you will have to manage 45 communication channels! Whereas your budget or activity planning typically increase linearly with each team member, it is “exponential” for communication. Just have this plot in mind:
First conclusion of the two points above:
- Communication is the most important tool if the project manager want to achieve a correct outcome
- Communication is the most time consuming activity which is exponentially demanding with the number of stakeholders.
Therefore communication needs to be well managed. This is the aim of the communication management plan.
Second conlcusion: Don’t rush to get more people on your project if you don’t have a proper project organisation!
- Comunication – Stakholder Management
Once you know your stakeholders, it is time to prepare your approach.
Usually the idea is to identify who is favorable to your cause (your project) and with which level of influence. You can place them on a 2 axis chat like the one below. The exercice is to your discretion and you should keep this assessment for you. Imagine the reaction of a colleague or cuctomer that doesn’t like how you ranked him…
The Stakeholder favorable to your project shall be at the minimum kept infromed regularly. For every stakeholder or group of stakeholders you should establish clearly what would be your communication methods (written-verbal, formal-unformal…) the frequence of your communication.
Both points above are the core of your communication management plan. This is a live picture which you should update in the course of the project.
- System Approach to Stakeholder Management
The systems approach is applied in many fields (and not only in engineering). Its principle is to take in account not only the individual elements of the object you are looking at (a problem, a product, a group of people…a “System”) but also the interactions between them. That is not all of it, but if you want to learn more just look online (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_theory)
If you look at your system of stakeholders, many of them will be interconnected through business or personal relationships. The main link could be simply the fact that they work together in the same organisation, some colleagues may have the same line managers they report to, etc.
Here is an example of links I am referring to.
Now imagine that you combine your original Influence/Favour diagramm and take in account interconnection. You now have a picture of allies and opponents of your projects and the relationships between them.
The second step is to now review your objectives in perspective with the picture above :
- Successfully complete your project OTOCOQ
- Get a change approved by a group of executives
- Get a person into your team
- Get hired
The third step is to establish how to influence the stakeholder toward your goals using the mapping.
An example of a possible strategy:
Work with your top influencer Allies in order to move group 1 to your cause.
If you are targetting the group 2. You could look at working with group 3 due to their relationship with group 2.
If you are successful doing this, it is already a great achievement. On a second level you can work on the type of relationship of the different actors and their personal goals in order to identify common converging targets. (See Dominique Bleriot for more information). Basically, to maximise your chances of success you want to use the existing relationships between your stakeholders to move them to the right of your graph.
- Identify and map all stakeholders,
- Establish a plan to communicate toward those stakeholders,
- Use relationships between stakeholders to influence them in favor of your project with minimum effort.