Benefits and Stakeholder
In the bustling corridors of TechInnovate Inc., a sense of anticipation hung in the air. The company, known for its cutting-edge solutions, faced a new challenge: enhancing its internal processes to match its growing market presence. At the heart of this transformation was a critical project spearheaded by Alex Mercer, a project manager known for his strategic insight and results-driven approach.
Alex had spent weeks poring over the project details, analysing the potential impact on various departments. The project, ambitious in its scope, promised to streamline operations and enhance productivity. However, Alex knew its success hinged on more than technical prowess; it required the active participation of key stakeholders.
One such stakeholder was Diane Foster, a senior manager revered for her expertise and leadership. Her team was set to be the primary user of a critical deliverable from the project. Alex understood that without Diane’s support, the project’s business case would weaken, risking the underutilisation of crucial deliverables. He remembers the last time he went the extra mile to deliver a function that then wasn’t used. Without her goodwill, he would not include those benefits in the business case this time. He would instead get an assignment for another project.
The Crucial Conversation
Determined, Alex arranged a meeting with Diane. Alex voiced his concerns as they sat across from each other in the glass-walled conference room. “Diane, your involvement in this project is vital. Without your team’s engagement, delivering specific components for your team’s processes might be inefficient and counterproductive. If we want to realise the benefits, then your team will need to change their way of working. I cannot make your team change. Only you can.”
Diane, a seasoned professional, was initially sceptical. “Alex, while I see the value in your project, I’m concerned about the additional workload and the alignment with my team’s current priorities.”
Alex nodded, understanding her reservations. “I completely get your point. But think about the long-term benefits. Your involvement would ensure the project’s relevance to your team and give you a significant say in its direction.”
Negotiation and Agreement
Diane pondered over Alex’s proposal. Realising the potential impact on her team’s efficiency and her leadership role, she decided. “All right, Alex. I’ll take on the role but want to be actively involved in decision-making.”
Alex smiled, his strategy paying off. “That’s exactly what I was hoping for,” he replied.
Building the Alliance
As the project kicked off, Diane’s involvement became increasingly evident. She brought valuable insights, ensuring that her team’s needs were at the forefront of the project’s objectives.
Alex approached Diane during one of their regular coordination meetings a few weeks into the project. “Diane, I want to make sure we’re on track. Does the project’s current direction align with what you need to deliver your benefits once the project is over?”
Diane appreciated the check-in, and together, they went through the situation. “Alex, I believe we’re heading in the right direction. However, I don’t think the project’s current scope is sufficient for my team to reap its benefits. When I look at these trial results, we need to include another part of the process for me to achieve the intended benefit.” “Diane, I agree with you. But you know what our CIO will say when I want to extend the scope. He will think of it as scope creep.” “Ok, then I believe we can take this part out. The trial shows that it’s not as important as we thought. Now, we have a scope change and not a scope creep. Let me handle this with your boss.” And so she did.
The project had its hurdles. Deadlines were tight, and the team occasionally encountered technical snags. However, Alex and Diane’s combined expertise and leadership guided the team through these challenges. Their joint problem-solving sessions became a testament to their effective collaboration.
Under their guidance, the team surmounted technical obstacles and fostered a sense of unity and purpose, rallying the broader organisation around the project’s goals.
Reflections and Future Steps
In the project’s aftermath, Alex and Diane reflected on their journey. “Your engagement was a game-changer, Diane. It highlighted the importance of aligning project deliverables with stakeholder needs,” Alex remarked.
Diane nodded in agreement. “And your focus on benefits instead of project scope, to adapt and incorporate our feedback made all the difference. It was a learning experience for me as well. And I finally understood why we never realised our benefits previously! Because, at one point, the project’s scope became the project’s new goal. We were happy with 80% of the scope without realising we might get only 20% of the benefits. But you kept your eyes on the benefits!” “Yes, I tried. But you were the one that made the business changes. Therefore, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
TechInnovate Inc., inspired by the success of Alex and Diane’s collaboration, embraced a new approach to project management. The organisation recognised the value of benefit mapping with strategic stakeholder involvement, ensuring that future projects were technically sound and closely aligned with the needs of those who would use their outcomes.
Alex and Diane achieved the project’s objectives through their strategic alliance and fostered a culture of collaboration and mutual respect. Their story became a benchmark within TechInnovate, a tale of how strategic stakeholder dynamics could lead to remarkable outcomes.