Stakeholder Tetris

In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new aspects, considerations, and dynamics to the way of life and the way we do business. While some of these we quickly adapted to and others have taken slightly longer to become accepted practice.

A new aspect of project management

Fortunately for Construct, we are in an industry where education is our mother tongue, and we have turned most of these new normals into fun and inclusive learning opportunities.

Some of these learnings range from maneuvering around the increasingly growing norm of remote working to different ways of managing and planning the almost-instant changes in stakeholder availability. In addition, a rise in the outsourcing of specialists from variable time zones has also contributed to the different ways project teams are assembled, led, and resourced.

Dare I say one can assume that a post-pandemic project manager should be able to quickly and effectively switch between cultural, regional, and personal differences in the blink of an eye?

The above is proving increasingly true as the landscape of stakeholder management has been turned upside down. While a move to a more digital way of working has afforded us a new level of availability and efficiency, it has also come with its share of unforeseen but often candid moments. From time to time, we may experience a toddler or two providing their incomprehensible opinion or the background movement of an uninvited guest that may distract your train of thought or concentration. 

Stakeholders across borders

To fit everybody into your 10-hour work day, multinational teams, and remote working hours require a more granular and extremely-meticulous regime. To better visualize this, picture this scenario:

19:00 p.m. in Tokyo, your client is finally wrapping up their day, but not before your weekly check-in.

6:00 a.m. in Boston, a subject-matter expert is starting their day and would love to have a quick morning catch-up for better planning on their side.

13:00 p.m. in Doha, and the faculty team requires an urgent update on a few deliverables scheduled for the week.

Although spread across opposite ends of the globe, the one thing that all these scenarios have in common is that they are all 12:00 p.m. in South Africa.

Clock showing different time zones

The above example illustrates that internal team members, outsourced specialists, and clients can be utilized interchangeably and plugged into any geolocation. This makes it easy to see why stakeholder management has become a complex game of Stakeholder Tetris, with the project team members representing the building blocks of a complex but coherent project foundation.

However, one thing will always remain constant in the life of a project manager, and that is the saying, “Time is money”! 

With an often-fixed budget and usually tight delivery timeframes, the project manager’s role is to bring cohesiveness and structure to projects and the business. Now more than ever, PMs need to show their value through return on investment while keeping their clients and project teams happy.

This blog post is made available by the author for educational purposes only and to provide general information. All views expressed are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever, to which they have been, are now, or will be affiliated. If you have a specific problem related to this topic and need advice, contact Construct Education directly.

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