Handling Friction between Stakeholders
Handling Friction between Stakeholders
by RUTH THOMAS - Dec 21,2015

Some efforts are doomed at the onset. If an enterprise-wide system is sold to a departmental manager without an executive sponsor, it could be impossible to implement. Department A wants data from Department B, but Manager B is hostile to any attempt to encroach on his turf. The project is stuck with no one with the overriding authority to force momentum.

Think of Generals George S. Patton and Bernard Law Montgomery. Patton was a prima-donna who wanted to take Italy for himself ahead of the other prima-donna Montgomery. Montgomery was pinned down on the Italian coast, giving Patton the chance to rush ahead and seize Messina and the headlines for himself. Someone with a strong personality and position was needed to restore order: this was General Eisenhower, who was chosen by Churchill and Roosevelt to run the war in Europe.

There is an old saying: “in the absence of leadership, there is anarchy.” Someone has to be at the tiller all the time least the stakeholders battle for turf.

 

Stakeholders

A “stakeholder” is, according to the Business Dictionary someone who “... can affect or be affected by the organisation’s actions, objects, and policies. Some examples of key stakeholders are creditors, directors, employees, owners, suppliers ...”

OK, now the problem of competing stakeholders within the company is solved, because a project sponsor at the executive level has been found in spite of the difficulties in doing so. How now to work with the other stakeholders?

 

Users

Users are not always able to the cope with demands caused by the project. For example, at the end of the accounting period, system changes are usually put on hold. Business demands are usually paramount and they would trump the project schedule.

Vendors sometimes are unable to keep up with the project. If the new system is an order-entry system, the vendor might have to change their own systems or train their employees how to use the new application.

It is important to keep in sight the needs of various stakeholders as the system moves forward to avoid creating friction.

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