Otago Polytechnic

Here at OP, it seems that everyone has a ‘can do’ attitude and we all like to get on and get things done.

So, it’s understandable that the thought of having to consult with everyone who could possibly be involved in delivering a successful outcome can seem like an incredibly daunting task that is guaranteed to stretch the time frame out far longer than anyone would like.  However, the reality is that the very opposite is true, which is why a big focus of the OP Project Success process is stakeholder engagement.

One of the main reasons that a project can fail is if stakeholders (which are anyone who will be using the result of the project) aren’t involved, or don’t feel ownership of the project outcome.  So, one of the first things you need to do when you get agreement to go ahead with a new initiative is to identify your stakeholders.

Once you’ve done that, they need to feel that they are an important part of the team.  Right from when the idea is first coming together, stakeholders should be involved in a meaningful way to make sure that the end result will meet their needs – after all, they are the ones who will be using whatever is developed!  Remember, they are the subject expert and they will usually know vital steps in their processes, so a lack of engagement may mean missing a crucial piece of information on why something is done a certain way that couldn’t be understood by anyone not actually working in that area.

There is a school of thought that stakeholders may not fully understand what possibilities and solutions are available, because they are too close to existing processes and will be resistant to change.  While this may sometimes be the case, the role of the core project team is to be a positive influence and be able to share information to encourage buy-in and ownership.

Another vitally important part of stakeholder engagement is that for any issues or concerns they have, or points they raise, the outcome should always be fed back to them, so they are confident their needs are being taken care of and so you know you have understood correctly what it is they really want – misunderstandings cost valuable time and cause ‘quick fixes’ to be made at the last minute instead of developing a solution that is fully integrated in the finished product.

Stakeholder engagement is the lifeblood of any project, and often the key that can make or break a project.  But it’s particularly important here at OP because the very act of stakeholder engagement encompasses all our values:

 

In engaging with all stakeholders we become accountable to do the best we can for them, to give them what they really need, not just what’s easiest to deliver.

It sometimes takes courage for a stakeholder to challenge the way something is being done, and it takes courage from the core project team to admit the idea they had may not be the best way to proceed.

Because we need to care about the needs of everyone involved to achieve Project Success.

We are empowering all stakeholders to be a part of something bigger, and maybe give them the opportunity to stretch their skills a little further at the same time.

 

None of this is new: we know this to be the case based on historical lessons learnt.  Continuous improvement allows us to move forward to keep achieving better outcomes for the entire organisation.


Published on 20 May 2020

Orderdate: 20 May 2020
Expiry: 19 May 2022