Stakeholder engagement – the PMO role

Engagement 3d Word Collage Interaction Participation InvolvementGetting the right engagement with stakeholders, and with one key stakeholder – the project sponsor – is critical to the smooth running and success of your project. The problem is most stakeholders know very little about project management. They are typically line managers being impacted by the project so their interest is whether that impact is going to have a positive or negative effect on their day to day lives.

The job of the project manager is to recognise that, work out whether the stakeholders are going to be supporters or opponents of the project then put in place a plan to manager or mitigate the stakeholder interaction with and around the project.

The PMO’s role

What has this got to do with the PMO?  You are there to support the project manager and since all project communications and reporting will flow through the PMO you’ll probably get first sight or sound of any rumblings of discontent. Either from the stakeholders themselves or their staff. You need to keep the project manager abreast of any issues you identify or hear about. This is all about tracking stakeholder engagement and maintaing the engagement plan with and for the project manager.

Secondly, you will be responsible for setting up the reporting and control structure and whilst it is important to meet stakeholders needs, you do not want to create bespoke reporting or controls for each project. As Henry Fiord said when he launched the Model T Ford, you can have any colour you like so long as it’s black. You will have to support the project manager in educating the stakeholders of the benefits of standardisation across the organisation. Alongside the project manager you have to be coaches, mentors and trainers educating the project management ‘illiterati’.

So, working with the project manager, if you set the right tone and level of stakeholder engagement it will make the lives of everyone on the project team so much easier.

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2 comments on “Stakeholder engagement – the PMO role
  1. I agree with your sentiment Alan.

    Project Management is all about people. How you engage them, how you include them in collaborating to build the plan towards the outcome and how you motivate them to deliver. Finally how you prepare the organization to take advantage of the new capabilities the project delivers. The success of the project will depend on the adoption of the new solution (whatever it is) and then turning the new capability into benefits.

    The earlier the PM realizes this the increased chances that their projects will be successful (very different from project management success).

    The PMO if staffed with senior people can act as a consultancy providing support and guidance to PM’s and Project Teams around stakeholder engagement. Support in providing tools and templates for workshops (risk, planning, project kick off) etc…

    We can help project managers move up that experience curve and get them to the place were they realize it is all about people!

    • admin says:

      David – thanks for your comments and I whole-heartedly agree. I’m often hired to run PMOs because I bring that delivery experience and can coach and mentor both the PMO and project/programme managers to achieve greater project success. Allen

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  1. […] The PMO has a key role to play setting the groundwork for stakeholder engagement across the project  […]

  2. […] Allen Ruddock suggests that the PMO can have an important role in maintaining stakeholder engagement. […]

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