Gordon Kleynhans

12 February 2019

Joining the Dots – The Importance of Internal Project Integration / Part 1

Gordon is a Project Director in TSA’s Brisbane office, with over 25 years’ experience in the construction industry he has worked on civil, structural, defence, aviation, industrial and health infrastructure projects. He has fulfilled multiple roles from design management, contract management, site management, superintendency and client-side project management.

Most recently Gordon’s project focus has been in the rail sector, working on various projects for Queensland Rail. From his experiences, he had put his learnings to paper, so we can apply them to our future projects.

Big organisations like transport authorities, defence and health providers generally have large numbers of stakeholder groups that need to contribute to each project.  When working within client organisations to deliver a project, it is often more time consuming and challenging to understand the role and input of each stakeholder, than it is to deliver the technical component of the project.

However, understanding your stakeholders is paramount to delivering a successful project and bringing them along on the journey will reduce the risk of negative influences affecting your project.

One of the multiple challenges when dealing with stakeholder groups is a lack of urgency or importance given to your project, especially when stakeholders are involved in multiple projects or a large program of works. Their time and resources may be stretched so they are not available when your project needs their input or support. This lack of resources could lead to stakeholder groups engaging their own sub-contractors to deal with their additional workload which could lead to increased costs for your project.

Conflict between stakeholder groups due to competition for resources and funding can also make it difficult to manage groups as individuals may often be reluctant to work together or support each other. In mature organisations, this conflict could lead to development of “silos” where each group is only focused on their own requirements.  This conflict could be driven by different corporate focus, labour agreements or political agendas and this may result in your project not getting the recognition, resources or prompt responses that you require or expect.

Financial and resources pressures could result in stakeholders trying to add upgrades or maintenance that they have not been able to get funded or completed, to the scope of your project.

Don’t forget that stakeholders do not always understand or appreciate the contractual conditions that you are operating under, not realising that their slow responses or lack of support could result in time delays and/or cost overruns for your project.

5 Tips for managing stakeholders

  • Get the right people involved
  • Make sure everyone is included
  • Create personal relationships
  • Make them feel heard
  • Understand their needs

These tips will be explained further in part 2 of this piece next week.

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