Where does the stakeholder management need come from?

Alex Leonov's Blog

It sounds like a complicated question, which has a long and convoluted answer. It’s not.

Whenever there is a need to deliver a project or service, there will be people involved. The bigger the project, and the bigger the organisation, the larger the number of those involved is.

Pleasing everyone involved is, in most cases, unattainable. Nevertheless, the work must be delivered. Hence the need to pick just enough people whose opinions and sentiments matter, and then ‘managing’ them so that they support the outcome and provide the help that is expected of them. We call them ‘stakeholders’, as if everyone else is not interested in good results.

In an ideal world, if we had enough resources (and skill!) to deal with everyone involved in a project, there would not be so much need to identify stakeholders or manage them.

So, beware ‘stakeholder management’ in a small project - if you need it, then, likely, your project management skills need improvement.

Names and Meaning

Alex Leonov's Blog

Many terms lose their original meaning when their use spreads. Examples include ‘agile’, ‘failing fast’, ‘digital transformation’, and so on.

Initially, someone creates the concept and gives it a name. That name is not as important as the principles and the definition of the concept. Unfortunately, catchy names use common words, and common words can be interpreted differently by different people.

So, the usage of the concept spreads, and with it different interpretations multiply. At some point, these interpretations start to converge on the common meaning of the common words.

Problems start to occur when that common meaning diverges too far from the original concept. This is how you get ‘we are agile - we are doing Scrum’, ‘let’s try for a week and then scrap the project’, or ‘we are going digital - let us build a website’.

Fail Fast

Alex Leonov's Blog

Failing Fast is a widely misused concept. The idea is to aim to succeed, but when it’s clear that the horse is dead, accept it and move on.

Larger Blog Posts

Alex Leonov's Blog

From the next week, there will be a larger, more detailed post once a week, in addition to the current stream of daily updates.

It will contain highlights of the models and processes I use, reviews of thought leadership across the globe, videos to watch, podcasts to listen to, and reading recommendations.

These larger posts will also have space for discussion and comments.

They should take somewhere between 4 and 10 minutes to read.

Traceability

Alex Leonov's Blog

Traceability is a quality of a set of events/items that allows movement between elements through defined links. Useful in decision making.

Words Matter

Alex Leonov's Blog

Sometime ago a hype around ‘deep learning’ started. Was that something new?

No, not by a long shot. Before change of wording, it was called along the lines of ‘neural networks with back propagation’. Did you notice the problem with that? It’s not sexy, it’s not trendy, and it’s not something execs will discuss at the dinner table.

To make it attractive, a change of words, of language, was required. The concepts were almost half a century old already - but the new twist brought them into the spotlight.

Have you spotted other ‘new’ ideas that were simply re-brandings of the old ones?

Project

Alex Leonov's Blog

A project is work towards a specific goal (build a capability, develop a product). Often confused with programs or operational activities.

Process Improvement

Alex Leonov's Blog

I think that any change in the process is an improvement. Yes, including the change that brings bad results. If executed properly, with the failsafes in place, negative part can be mitigated.

What is important, is the decision to make a change, and commitment to it.

Not every change will bring the intended benefit, but the overall improvement through experimentation and openness is well worth it.

Don’t attempt it in the organisation that does not allow for failure, though - unless you would like to change jobs.