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VIRAK Article Understanding and Managing your Stakeholders

Author: Christine Petersen, PMP

When I ask participants in my workshops what the most important reason for failure or success in a project is, most people tell me that it’s all about their five constraints: time, budget, scope, resources and risks. 

Now once we started to analyze the root cause of the success or failure of their project, it was not directly how the five constraints were managed but how they managed their stakeholders’ – and most importantly, their KEY stakeholders’ expectations around these five constraints that made the difference. Project Managers did not identify or understand the key stakeholders in the first place, or the stakeholders did not take their responsibilities seriously.

So what is the difference? Can’t we just say that once we have defined our scope, time, costs, resources and risks, and made sure that these are then managed and kept under control, then the outcome will be a successful project?

Well, it is not that easy. Each of the five constraints need to be agreed upon by the key stakeholders at the start of the project. And once agreed upon – not easy to do – then they need to be managed throughout the project, in order to deliver what was expected.

And this is why I believe that rather than say that the critical success factor of a project is managing the five constraints, I prefer to say that the main route to project success is managing the expectations surrounding these constraints.

When we say we are managing projects, we are mainly managing people, in all their complexity. Their needs, wants, dreams, desires, pasts and futures. Their alliances, politics and goals. In summary: their expectations. And the goal is to find ways to manage our stakeholders’ expectations realistically.

So, how do we start? The first step is to analyse our stakeholders and manage the narrative. Decide who is a stakeholder, and most importantly, who is a KEY stakeholder – those people who can make or break the project. Understand these stakeholders, their concerns, constraints, requirements, expected benefits/disbenefits. Integrate their requirements, expectations and constraints in your plan, and make sure that the expectations that people have about the project can be realistically delivered. 

Start as early as possible by communicating out what the vision for the project is, what are the goals, and the realistic boundaries of what we can achieve. If we let others define these for us, then we are already too late. People already have their own ideas that are then harder to change.

Once we have decided on who will be involved as well as the main vision, goals and boundaries (our “Charter”), then the third step is to spend time with each of our key stakeholders, understanding their point of view, their needs, wants and goals, and making sure that these are aligned with the realities of our project. This takes time. Time well invested in building relationships; creating energy around the project; ensuring common goals and how to achieve these; and clarifying roles and responsibilities.

This builds the foundation for the rest of the project. It helps us create dialogue, remain in contact with all our stakeholders, keeps them aligned with the project as it unfurls, and ensures that the results of the project are accepted. You ensure that you can keep close to them as their expectations change or your plan changes.

Many Project Managers tell me that it takes too much time, that they are told to “just do it” and get the project done (which usually means skip the planning and get straight to the execution phase of the project). But can they really afford to skip the planning and ignore the people who can make or break the project? 

The last step is to keep communicating with your stakeholders throughout the project by continuously managing their expectations. I sometimes see projects fail because the stakeholders are not kept in the loop as the project progresses, they feel out of touch and sidelined, and feel that they are not heard. This will inevitably cause resistance and feelings of distrust, and finally, these stakeholders will stop cooperating, and start actively or passively sabotaging the results of the project. The Project Manager will wonder why the results of the project were not accepted and why they “failed” when the real reason was lack of communication and listening.

In summary, the five steps are: Define your stakeholders, manage the narrative, align the narrative to their expectations, create a dialogue and keep communicating. Each step is a brick in the road to success. So take the time you need, and keep communicating.

Election Committee Announcement 2022

Authors:

Elena Milusheva, PMP 

elena_-_Alp_Camci.jpg

Alp Camci, PMP

alp Alp Camci

In the PMI world, everything starts with our volunteers. And this is valid not only for the newsletter, the website and the events, but also for the chapter strategy and leadership. For the upcoming 2023-2024 election term, we are looking for active PMI Swiss chapter members who:

  • live and breathe the PMI values;
  • have practical ideas how to elevate our chapter to the next level;
  • have a hands-on attitude to co-lead various committees, workstreams and initiatives;
  • can manage complex programs and demanding stakeholders;
  • are willing to stand for the upcoming PMI Swiss chapter elections;
  • can dedicate to a 2 years-volunteer role:
    • Board of Directors
    • Election Committee Member 
    • Finance Auditor;
  • are ready for action, collaboration with great people and a lot of fun!

If we have just described you, please reach out to one of our Board of Directors members or to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to indicate your interest in standing for election.

The application process will start in August.

Let’s empowers people to make ideas a reality.

Your Election Committee

Elena Milusheva, PMP and Alp Camci, PMP

Event Report : Managing Virtual Teams

Author: Harish Ramakrishnan

H Ramakrishnan 2

What is the most important element in managing virtual teams?

How is communication different between physical and virtual teams?

Will we continue to manage virtual teams?

Some questions answered by the PMI-Switzerland chapter event "Managing Virtual teams" , which was hosted in IBM Zurich and presented by the CIO of Le Creuset AG - Mr. Rafael Almoguera .

There is no better way to start a session on managing virtual teams than having virtual participants, our audience was located in 4 locations, Spain, Japan, UAE and ourselves in Switzerland. This provided a practical example of what the future of team management, training and overall business looked like.

First, Rafael introduced what is a virtual team and which companies have virtual teams - practically every one. He then introduced to the concept of 3T- Trust, Time and Technology.

Addressing the elephant in the room, Rafael then talked  about the key challenges faced by project managers while managing a virtual team, and as well the challenges faced by the team members in such a project.  With communication being one of the most important elements of a project, we learnt that for those who manage a Virual team and for those who are part of a virutal team, ability to communicate with out the use of Non verbal cues is important.

He then explained the characteristics of good teams and how those characteristics need enhancement when the team becomes virtual. He detailed the most important ingredient needed for building the best virtual team - Trust, he clarified how simple team building activities could improve the working relationship in virtual teams, for example he explained how things changed when his team flew for a team dinner activity of having a dinner together with the team physically once or twice a year can build such a high level of trust and comfort among the team.

We learnt to be able to succeed in managing a vritual team, we need to be able manage across cultures, use technology effectively, have a well understood process and most of all have Trust. Both those who manage and those who are being managed in a virtual team have the advantage of work life balance, diversity of perspectives, reduction in unnecessary travel -> inturn CO2 emissions , reduction in costs and increase job satisfaction.

With so much at stake, I understood from the session, virtual teams are to stay and more and more leaders are going manage their companies from their holiday homes .

Kind Regards,

Harish

Editorial November 2023 - Reflecting on the PM Conference and looking ahead

Author: Daniel Rodellar, PMP

Daniel Rodellar

Editorial November 2023 -

Reflecting on the PM Conference and looking ahead

 

Dear readers,

In this edition of our newsletter, we find ourselves standing at the crossroads of past accomplishments and future aspirations. The main reason is the resounding success of the PM Conference hosted at Roche (Basel) last October. We are excited to share with you an array of retrospective articles that will allow you to savor the rich insights, knowledge, and personal experiences that unfolded during this innovative event.

Our commitment to keeping you well-informed remains solid. Over the coming months, we will continue to curate a wealth of content designed to ensure you have access to a comprehensive overview of the conference proceedings. Rest assured, we aim to strike a delicate balance, providing depth without overwhelming you.
But that's not all. This newsletter issue also unveils an appealing glimpse into the future. We have recharged our creative engines and are gearing up for our usual event organizations. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the exceptional events teams across various regions whose unwavering dedication consistently ensures the delivery of high-quality events. They truly rock!!, and their commitment to excellence never weakens.

I'd like to personally share my experience of the PM Conference. It was an effort that provided significant value and proved to be a remarkable learning experience. The insightful speakers and the stimulating interactions with fellow attendees offered a unique platform for in-depth discussions among peers. It was a forum where we contemplated novel approaches to work, fostering a culture of innovation and evolution.
The conference was an opportunity to challenge the status quo, explore uncharted territories, and adopt fresh perspectives on our work. It reaffirmed the importance of continuous learning, adaptability, and collaboration in our ever-evolving professional landscape.

In the spirit of our ongoing journey together, we invite you to delve into the content within these pages and relive the moments from the PM Conference. As we set our sights on the horizon, we eagerly anticipate what the future holds and the collective wisdom we will gain along the way. Thank you for being part of our vibrant community, and for the many more shared experiences, learnings, and endeavors in the world of project management.

Warm regards,

Daniel

Communications Director at PMI CH Chapter

Implementing Disciplined Agile at Swissquote

Author: Adi Muslic, VP Sponsors & Partners

Adi Muslic

Implementing Disciplined Agile at Swissquote

True business agility comes from freedom, not frameworks. Disciplined Agile helps you learn about your options and guides you to your best next step.

At our event on 9 November, Fostering Innovation and Optimizing Delivery: Embracing Disciplined Agile Practices in a FinTech, at Swissquote in Gland, you will have the opportunity to hear how Swissquote adapted their way of working using Disciplined Agile principles.

Swissquote

During this presentation, Edwige Fiaclou and Laetitia Aegerter-Cuello will explain through practical examples and solutions, how they addressed common challenges and how they always keep valuable takeaways in mind when applying these strategies, ensuring they remain competitive and innovative in an ever-changing environment.

Here are some highlights:

  • Why did Swissquote choose Disciplined Agile?
  • How is it applied?
  • Disciplined Agile mindset 
  • Choose your WoW in practice
  • Value Stream in practice
  • Short exercise
  • Conclusion for innovation

The session will be followed by a networking apéro @Swissquote pub.