Stakeholders are critical to project success—project management teams rely on them for information, feedback, and support. But occasionally you’ll come across a stakeholder that adds more hassle than help. We’ve put together a field guide to help you spot the four most common flavors of nightmare stakeholders. Also check out these other Blog posts: (Nightmare End Users) and (6 STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH NIGHTMARE END USERS)
1 – The name dropper. It happens all too often: you desperately need help—additional staff, more funding, critical internal support—but when you ask your stakeholder for assistance you get the runaround. Red flags should start flying when the name dropper assures you that the mere mention of them (and often their title) is enough to conjure anything you need.
2 – The empire builder. Just because you’ve partnered with a stakeholder doesn’t mean your PMO is now their domain. Empire builders often try to get pet projects into the pipeline without going through the normal vetting and approval processes, and may even begin setting tasks that are completely outside your group’s normal areas of responsibility. Unfortunately, this sort of covert takeover goes on all the time, and it can cause serious problems with morale, workflow, and long-term project success.
3 – The vanisher. In the beginning they shouted their support from the rooftops, but now that your project is in full swing they’re nowhere to be found. Vanishers may be too busy to properly participate, or they may have promised more than they can realistically deliver. The bottom line is that all the help your team was promised earlier has evaporated, leaving you with fewer resources than expected.
4 – The bosser. Your new stakeholder assumes that their involvement also entitles them to run their project the way they see fit, rather than deferring to your team’s experience and expertise. Realistic schedules are usually the first to go, followed soon after by budgets and objectives.
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