Complex project environments need collective leadership and engaged stakeholders to:

  • Set direction
  • Create agreement
  • Generate commitment

Stakeholders are defined as an individual or organization who is actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected as a result of the project. Some may also exert influence over the project’s objectives and outcomes. Stakeholders such as senior management, project sponsor, project owner, project manager, subject matter experts, other governing authorities and so on, are among those who provide this leadership.

The initiating processes define and authorize the project. The project charter is the effective tool used to define at a high level what the project should accomplish. Confirmation is required that there is a common understanding of the project among the key stakeholders as well as commitment to move forward.

During the planning processes objectives are refined and the plan of action to deliver the project is developed. Stakeholder input and agreement on key elements of the plan (scope, communications, risk, resources, etc.) are essential.  The sponsor approves the project plan and confirms that there is ongoing support for the project.

The executing processes integrate people and other resources to carry out the plan. Controlling processes regularly measure and monitor progress to identify variances from the plan so that corrective action can be taken when necessary to meet project objectives. The performance is reported and shared among stakeholders, including senior management.

Since closing the project involves acceptance, key stakeholders support the organization during the transition to operations and participating in lessons learned and the celebration of the conclusion of the project.

By their very nature, projects often rely on cross functional resources and partnerships to achieve a variety of objectives and ultimately deliver a successful project. Stakeholder involvement is no longer a decision made by the management of an organization. Strategies in project management are explored to leverage the skill sets of many involved in the initiative.

In addition to collective leadership, achieving project success involves having a clear purpose, empowering the team, strong organizational support, positive internal relationships, well tended external relationships, and efficient information management.

Rita Trudeau, PMP, PMI-SP

Trusted Advisor & Contributing Blogger