Difficult stakeholders (LEARN TO SPOT THESE 4 NIGHTMARE STAKEHOLDERS) can be problematic, but don’t underestimate the havoc that might ensue when a nightmare end user descends on your PMO. See if you can spot any of these angst-causing personalities from past (or present) projects. And if you’ve run into a nightmare end user, here is our post on how to handle them. (6 STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH NIGHTMARE END USERS)
The target is always moving. Mid-project check-ins invariably reveal that the initial plan your team is using has morphed in this end user’s mind into something different. Either business needs have changed since kick-off (but no one told you), the end user forgot to tell you about a crucial need (just like they “forgot” to tell you last time, too), or your project team didn’t understand the original need. The excuse doesn’t matter, though—this type of end user is why the term “scope creep” was invented.
They’re there to “help.” Some end users are actually closet project management experts, or at least they think they are. They may try to act as a mouthpiece for the rest of the users, gathering information and blocking your efforts to canvass the group individually, or they might go so far as to waylay contractors in the hall to inquire about progress or make suggestions for changes. If you suspect an unauthorized “helper” is in your midst, be sure to put your team and vendors on alert—change orders or directives that don’t come through approved channels shouldn’t be blindly implemented.
Nothing is right. You know them. They’re the ones who lament that no project has ever been (or will ever be) successful. Objectives are never fully met, timelines are haphazard, and planning is a joke. Their negativity is annoying at best—at worst, their attitude can poison other end users and may even keep them from sharing key information, such as in-depth needs and concerns, because they don’t think full disclosure will do any good.