Project LeadershipProject Management

How to Stop Stakeholders from Sabotaging Projects

Stakeholders come in many forms, and they affect projects in different ways. When projects succeed, everyone takes a cut of the credit, including stakeholders, but it becomes squarely the manager’s fault if a project fails. In an article for TechRepublic, Moira Alexander reexamines how stakeholders influence projects and asserts that stakeholders must take greater responsibility for the results of projects.

The Redistribution

Stakeholders can be “primary” or “secondary,” meaning they directly affect a project or are directly affected by a project. Stakeholders can also be internal or external to the business. Primary stakeholders, whether internal or external, should accept the burden of success that they take on when they exert influence on projects. This is especially the case because stakeholders often directly impact the project budget, by way of how they allot resources for use on the project. If stakeholders are reluctant to hand over resources or reluctant to approve decisions, these all create project delays.

Alexander shares this way to handle the problem:

To address any form of stakeholder sabotage, [Ed Brzychcy, president and founder of Blue Cord Management] recommended that leaders “maintain a holistic approach to projects and carefully game out several courses of action for any undertaking.” He believes that “by listing the different stakeholders, and attempting to predict what their moves and countermoves may be to any actions taken, can help address problems before they occur as well as providing a contingency plan for any future negative developments.” Brzychcy also said that project managers need to be aware of what they don’t know and spend the time filling in any knowledge gaps.

Project managers should almost always be open to accepting the majority of the blame when a project fails, but they should by no means be held exclusively responsible. Projects are complex entities, and thus rooting out all causes of project failure will be complex too. For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here:

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