Get “Close” To Your Most Important Stakeholders

It is a serious mistake to assume that all resources allocated to your project are equally motivated to see your project becoming a success. It could be possible that a critical resource does not have any insight or interest in your project whatsoever and they are one of the resources to deliver a critical component at a particular time.

This is the fifth blog by Mat-Thys in the series “Managing Projects: The Forgotten Art Of Influencing People To Get Results”

Do you even know who they are and why they are important to you?

There are two components important here. Firstly, you need to know who your resources are and you need to align them in an appropriate way. Secondly, you need to make sure you know who are your important resources that could make or break the success of your project. We will discuss the importance of both and what you can do to “arrange” this for your own project.

The Resource Alignment Matrix

Let’s talk about the Resource Alignment Matrix first – This is a matrix that would inform you about anomalies in your resources. Anomalies such as someone that could have a devastating impact on your project, but nobody is aware of this situation. Let’s look at an example of this to explain how you could determine these gaps.

Let’s say John is your internal person from the DNS department that would be required to complete and implement your DNS package for you. You know this is important and you assume that John will do his magic as usual but there is one factor you are missing. Look at the following table:

Project Resource John Sheryl
Type of Activity Do DNS package and install Develop email protocol
Authority Area Type of package Email protocol
Level of Interest 1 5
Level of Influence 5 5
Priority Indicator 1 5
Actions To Get Buy-in Get John to become a member of Project team at that stage of project Already involved

We know John has an important job to do for our project, but John is not involved in our project and he is also not going to be the end- user. John really has no motivation other than doing his job or his reputation. His interest level would be a 1/5, but his level of influence is 5/5. That is a major potential problem and you need to develop strategies to get him “to have skin in the game.”

On the other hand you have Sheryl that is an end-user and she would be responsible for developing appropriate email protocols to be ready by launch date. She has “skin in the game” and therefore her interest level would be a 5/5 and also her level of influence is the same 5/5. You do not have to do a special strategy to get her involved, because she is already involved and motivated.

You can evaluate many of the stakeholders or resources in your project just to check their “motivation” status. You’ll be surprised what you will find and initiate an excellent way to get behind all of your resources and to ensure an on-time and on-budget delivery.

Resource Performance Wing

The second factor is to look at which of your resources are really the ones you need to get close to and involve at all times. This is the Resource Performance Wing developed by my friend Piet Nieman who worked for a major utility group and used this tool continually to ensure successful completion of all his projects. I acquired this from him and been using it constantly and it saved my bacon on many occasions. Here is how it works:

  1. You list your resources for a specific window of project performance and also what services they need to provide. You would mostly get this information from your Resources Alignment Matrix.
  2. Put your most important resources closest to you as you are the Project Manager.
  3. The Mandate Giver is the person that would provide authorizations to most of your milestone activities.
  4. Arrange the rest of your resources in order of importance to you as you see it at that stage of your project. This gives you a visible rendition of all your resources in a level of importance. Looking at the diagram it means that you need to spend quality time with at least Cathy, Dick, Alex, and John. Quality time means the following:
    • Include and involve them in all your communications.
    • Ask for their inputs even if they are not the SME to answer your questions.
    • Use them as sounding boards and get their inputs on a regular basis.
    • Use them to influence others that you might have potential difficulties with.

The Resource Alignment Matrix and the Resource Performance Wing will help you with your recognition of important resources and not overlook any blind spots that might be there with a specific resource.

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This blog and this entire series of blogs were first published by Thinking Dimensions Global.

Mat-Thys Fourie
"I believe that Management would like to see their staff as skilled problem solvers, solving and restoring service issues/incidents 'first time every time', reducing company Mean Time to Restore and Mean Time To Repair cycles. This is done by providing staff with repeatable tools/templates and worked situational questions to stay on the path through organizational difficulties and barriers towards restoration and successful recovery." Dr. Matthys Fourie is a Professional Problem Solver as accredited by the Institute of Professional Problem Solvers (IPPS). He is an author of several books on Root Cause Analysis, Project Management, Problem Solving and is the co-author of the KEPNERandFOURIE® Thinking methodologies. He has over 31 years of Problem Solving and Decision Making experience helping organizations across the world solve some of their most vexing and seemingly unsolvable problems. He has worked across a wide spectrum of industries from Automotive, Financial, Manufacturing, Medical Devices, Pharmaceutical, Nuclear, Insurance, Airline, Technology, and Telecommunications. He has work in companies such as Macquarie Group, SASOL, Unisys, SITA, Barclays, RBS, NCS, Singapore Stock Exchange, BMW, VW, Cadbury Schweppes, Westpac, National Australia Bank, Department of Education NSW Australia, Kimberly-Clark, Hollister, Stihl Inc. and the U.S. Navy.