Should stakeholder management be compulsory in all projects?

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with Ron Rosenhead (@ronrosenhead). Although much of this conversation was spent discussing project management “war stories” the conversation was initiated with a recent dialogue between Ron and I on Twitter.

On the 2nd January, Ron had posed a question “Should stakeholder management be compulsory in all projects?”.

Having witnessed first-hand the impact and implications of neglecting stakeholder management during projects. Noticing Ron’s tweet made me think back to the many challenges and issues those project managers faced with their disgruntled stakeholders. This experience certainly ensured that pro-active stakeholder management has been, and continues to be, paramount across all the programmes/projects I have either managed directly or those projects I’ve directed through a project manager (in a portfolio manager or programme manager capacity).

In this respect I could not help myself responding to Ron’s tweet supporting compulsory stakeholder management in projects.

In a blog post I wrote back in March 2011 (Managing Project Stakeholders), I stated that “Managing stakeholders represents a major political challenge to all programme and project managers. Although many project managers are only now beginning to address this, whereas complex stakeholder management has been intrinsically linked to programmes and lovingly embraced by programme managers.” It would appear that many lessons have not been learnt by project managers!

Whether organisations make it compulsory or not. Stakeholders need managing, effectively. So stakeholder management needs to be very high on every project manager’s priorities.

See Ron’s blog post Come on, let’s make it compulsory for more information on this topic.

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