Studies in Communications Management
Achieving Project Success Through Stakeholder Management
JOHN TUMAN, JR., P.ENG; MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES GROUP, INC.
A project is usually considered a success if all the work goes as planned. This assumes that the project has a well-developed plan and there are no surprises. In a successful project, objectives are well defined, work is accomplished as scheduled, and resources are used efficiently. Furthermore, the client is pleased with the final results. Most important, the whole job is done without mishap, controversy, or lawsuit. In addition, management acknowledges a fine job and rewards everyone handsomely.
Projects seldom work out this way. One reason is that project objectives have different meanings for different people. Work tasks run into roadblocks, get delayed, and consume resources. Critics attack the project, unexpected problems develop, and people get discouraged and quit. Project success means handling all the unexpected problems and getting the job done to project stakeholders’ satisfaction. Project teams increasingly address a complex mix of issues, problems, and aspirations. These include not only the goals and ambitions of project participants, but also of outside parties. To be successful, project teams must understand who determines success, what their motivations are, and what costs are involved.
In every undertaking there are parties with a vested interest in the activities and results of the project. The motivations of the project sponsors and those who do the work are obvious. Individuals affected by the project are concerned. Still, others