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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Aligning Stakeholder Expectations - What's a PM to do?

Below is one of the best articulations (definitely one of the most humorous) of why there needs to be a person or party looking holistically at engagements and focusing her/his energies on driving stakeholder alignment. If you’ve been in an agency for decades or just arrived on the last boat, the issue highlighted in this strip should resonate.

Click on the strip image below to enlarge and/or check out the video variation on the theme below it.

Please add your insights, experiences and anecdotes in the comments section of this post.


  1. This is fabulous! and tragic...

    1. Let me share all of you about #5 Tips for Project Management Success,, I hope you enjoy it

      1. Plan your day using time management techniques

      As a project manager, time management skills are essential because you are dealing with a wide range of tasks that demand a quick turnaround time. Planning your day will go a long way in keeping you organized and increasing your productivity. Assist your task planning by using project management software which helps you track the work of you and your team.

      If you are not very tech savvy, a simple to-do list can also be a great organizational tool. Prioritize your most important tasks by putting them at the top of the list and less important ones at the bottom. Having a visual plan of your daily tasks helps to keep you on track and aware of time.

      Related post: Free ebook 104 secrets to become a great project manager

      2. Include stakeholders in important project conversations

      While you will have plenty of responsibilities regarding the project, don’t neglect your clients.

      Good communication is essential is keeping both parties informed of project progression, curtailing scope creep, and apprised of changing requirements. Some clients may have different expectations when it comes to communication, so make sure to establish the frequency and type of communication (like emails, phone calls, and face-to-face conversations) at the beginning of your project.

      Establishing communication expectations early helps alleviate stakeholder uncertainty about communication frequency and delivery.

      3. Regularly communicate with your team

      Daily team communication helps keep misunderstandings and unclear requirements under control. Keeping your team informed in every step of the project is essential to project management success.

      For example, a study published by Procedia Technology found that good communication skills were the cornerstone of project management. The study examined over 300 “construction project managers, architects, construction managers, engineers and quantity surveyors” and their successes and failures on various construction projects.

      4. Anticipate project setbacks

      Even the best-laid plans often go awry.

      Remember that even with a high amount of planning and attention to detail, your project may still encounter some challenges. Pay attention to complaints from stakeholders or colleagues, and other warning signs, like a missed deadline or cost overrun, that there may be a problem.

      Preventing a crisis will keep your project running smoothly, save you a lot of time, and keep you, your team, and your stakeholders confident in progressing with the project.

      Unfortunately not every complication can be avoided. Crisis management skills are essential for dealing with the unexpected. Project managers need to be flexible and pragmatic. Improvise and make sharp decisions when needed.

      Related post: 92 free project management templates

      5. Stay focused on the details

      A common problem project managers encounter is having the project aims not aligned with the organization’s objectives. A great project manager will strategize a plan for the project to lead back to the overall success of the business.

      Know your project’s scope by heart and avoid wandering outside of the project’s requirements. It’s too easy to get lost in minor details and forget what your focus is, so a well-planned project scope is essential for success.

      And final, you should use KPI to measure effectiveness of the project, here are full list: 76 project management KPIs

  2. Spoken like someone who appreciates the light side of the dark side.

  3. Very true, which is what makes it so funny. Whoever said this is not rocket science was wrong. Probably a consultant.

  4. There's a lot at the deep end of our pool that truly takes the big brains to figure out. The painful thing is that the basics of aligning stakeholders upstream seems to be our industry's favorite piece of repeat history.

  5. It does not matter where I PM...on either the client or the agency side...this is always true.

    One vision is the hardest thing to keep everybody on...and keeping it to one scope is harder, but in the end, all of us are working on the same budget to work with.

  6. It's an endless battle. A PM can't do it alone. I always seek early advocates who share the vision and build from there. It cuts down on the number of moving parts, and creates eyes, ears and importantly a mouth where you cannot be. Thanks for your comment.

  7. This is great! How it was documented = "empty"

  8. It's a nice way to describing the situation that we face as PMs all the time.

    I have found that It is as critical to ensure that everyone's aligning themselves the same vision on day 1 as it is on day 100/500 etc.

    From experience, I can't tell everyone enough about the challenges of maintaining the same vision with stakeholders or pains of adjustment against unplanned changes or risks.

    Well, that's my 2 cents for this hour :)

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