Stakeholders... the essence of IT projects (By Dr. Asit Dash)
In the software industry, a project is a product or service or an activity that's done to create something very unique. It involves one person to many persons and one organization to many organizations. It means that to complete a project we need so many involvements. These involvements lead to create the roles. So all these roles and organizations can be considered as the stakeholders of the project. Sometimes we can refer projects as processes where participation from different organizations is needed for successful outcomes. So the project can always be considered as a big job. So different stakeholders are required in different phases to complete the project successfully and on time.
From project creation to project end, all the phases are supported by stakeholders. If we consider a banking project, for example, it starts with a requirement from the banking client to a vendor company that develops the product. So here the client is a stakeholder and the company that is developing the product is a stakeholder. It refers to the organization here as the stakeholders of this project.
If we deep dive a bit lower, we can find out some marketing people from the client team as well as the vendor team sit for a discussion to the initial start of the project. So they are the stakeholders of the project too but as a team level. The business analyst, the project manager, the client services team, all are stakeholders of the project team. They all support in starting and completing the project by providing and sharing information. The client-side people will help in getting the requirements while the vendor side team will get the requirements clearly to get the work done. The vendor also arranges the necessary development resources to get the project successful.
Sometimes there will be third parties who provide some other services required for the projects. They are also considered as stakeholders for the project. They must be informed about the progress of the projects. So all the stakeholders must be aware of the things happening in the project.
Different types of stakeholders:
In a broad sense, we can divide the stakeholders into two categories.
Internal stakeholders and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders are the people or departments who are related to the same organizations however external stakeholders refer to outsiders. For a client, the vendor is the external stakeholder and vice versa is for the vendor company.
So let's see who the common stakeholders of a project are:
- Who provides resources to work
- Who supports with finance to start
- Who does the planning and delivery
- Who provides sign offs
As it is considered that, the stakeholders are the parties invested in any specific project, it is also their responsibility to make the project successful. It's always not possible that one stakeholder is having full ownership of the project. It depends on the nature of work and organization roles. They are interdependent as the work chain is going ahead.
Below are a few of the responsibilities of stakeholders:
Stakeholders have the right and authority to do a management role. E.g for a specific IT-related project, the board of directors, project managers from the vendor company is the people who manage the team. Their overall responsibility is to make the project delivery smooth and on time. They can streamline the processes and overcome all the odds. However, the vendor company takes over the management role by checking if the committed delivery has been done properly or not. They have to check what is committed versus what is delivered. If something is not delivered, they should be aware of all the details and the next steps for that.
The board of directors and senior leadership has the power to decide on a certain project they are part of. It’s a common discussion and decision making. The changes that have to be made for a project is a joint discussion among the client and vendor and the next steps are going to be taken. In case any other third parties are the stakeholders, they are also invited to the decision-making process and informed as well.
Investors as a stakeholder:
If we talk about the project, there are lots of people who help the project financially to grow up. They are also stakeholders. So they can make the project sustain and move it towards success. They support the working people and company with financial aid to make the project run.
This is one of the important factors for project delivery. The stakeholder (organization) who is creating the project should have enough expertise to deliver a quality product. Adequate expertise and business knowledge are required to get this done. The vendor should not take the project if they do not have the correct expertise else the project will fail and the relation and trust of the organization will break. It will create a lot of financial burden for both organizations.
The crisis can be considered as any critical situation or condition that the project team is going through. It may be environmental issues, knowledge deviation issues, financial issues and all. During this time all the stakeholders should come together and join their hands to make the project crisis-free and take the necessary steps to come out of that.
What is important and expected?
- The stakeholder should understand the project correctly and they have the right attitude to support.
- They should be able to understand the difficult situations and take necessary steps on that.
- The expectations from all stakeholders should not be the same but should be in sync. It means that there should be a proper communication process to address all.
- Any risks, issues, dependencies within the projects must be communicated without any delay.
- As communication plays an important role, the correct set of stakeholder identification is very important.
- The communication approach must be well defined and correct information must be shared across internet stakeholders.
- Good trust and relationship also play a vital role in project success.
- They should own business processes and procedures
- Training is an important aspect of the project which should be taken care of by stakeholders.
That’s why it’s told that contribution of all stakeholders is essential to the project.
Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Asit Chandra Dash