About The Author
Jonathan Atkinson 5 articles
Residence: GB Manchester, Greater Manchester
Managing Director at True North Change
APM P30, MSP, Prince 2, Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement

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The Unified Project Management Dictionary


An individual, group, or organization that have an interest or concern regarding a project, and may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project, program, or portfolio.

Stakeholders can be divided up into two categories, positive stakeholders and negative stakeholders, and often have to be managed or engaged throughout the life of the project, either through regular communications or active participation in the project.  A positive stakeholder will benefit (directly or indirectly) from the successful completion of a project. Negative stakeholders will be affected negatively (directly or indirectly) by a successfully completed project.

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Business hates project management

Picture the scene. You're at the bar and you overhear a conversation. The conversation is happening between Business and Project Management... It doesn't start well but, will it pick up?

Business: "Hey Project Management, will you just leave me alone? I'm trying to get on with my job, make some money and you're just always there. Lingering, slowing me down with your boring plans, endless and pointless meetings and dull status reporting "

Project Management: "Hang on, hang on. The CEO said I was going to happen. You don't have much of a say in the matter. I've arrived on the scene, I'm cool, shiny and new. I promise benefits to everyone and greatness all round. I am the single most important thing in your life so you need to get used to me being here."

Business: "Pahahahaha. I've heard it all a million times before. Nobody really cares about you to be honest, most of them don't even know why you're here. I overheard James and Ian talking about it whilst making coffee the other morning, mocking your 50 page PID that contains complete gobbledygook - Project Icarus?! Really?! Stupid name."

Project Management: "I know because James and Ian are on my radar. I'll use my stakeholder map and mark them as negatively affected output stakeholders, I'll be able to win them over with my communication plan and soon they will be advocates and not detractors, my spheres of influence analysis never fails"

Business: "Really? What the hell did you just say....you lost me at stakeholder map."

Project Management: "Unfortunately. That's just the tip of the iceberg. You're lost full stop. An archaic mess. That's why I've been brought in. I put the plan together, manage the risks and issues, identify the benefits and deliver the actions necessary to make sure that you realise those benefits. I make you look good!."

Business: "I'm already too busy to be adding this to my list. My clients are demanding, my staff are demanding, at month end I'm tied up in knots with vast amounts of manual re-keying, copying and pasting and pushing the boundaries of Excel with complex formulas even Einstein wouldn't understand. Plus there's new regulations coming in that I have to get ready for that are getting in the way of BAU and hindering my chances of making my targets. And now you, go away !"

Project Management: "I'm not going anywhere, that's why I am here. To help you manage the change away from that chaos and to a brave new world where strength sapping admin and onerous tasks are a thing of the past. If you take the time to look at what's in the scope for my delivery you'll realise I'm optimising people, processes and technology within the Sales, HR, Finance and Compliance departments. If you work with me and help me to deliver what we agree is best for you, Business, I think you'll end up liking me, not hating me. James and Ian got my project name wrong anyway. I'm running project Phoenix and we'll rise from the ashes."

Business: "You know what. You might just be right. Turns out you're not such a jerk. We want the same things, but you keep weirding me out by saying odd things like scope and milestones. We need to spend more time together to better understand what we're going to do going forward. The next rounds on me. Jager Bombs all round"

Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Jonathan Atkinson