Many State government entities operate through a complex organizational structure with multiple interrelated divisions and organizations. To see their goals achieved and policies adopted, their initiatives need to be supported by diverse groups. When initiatives and projects are just beginning, ambiguity is often an asset during that time. However, it is incompatible with the clarity required to see government transform the way it works.
Unfortunately, project managers usually attempt to close this gap with more planning often in silos, and more controls which on the other hand puts stakeholders’ interest in engagement at risk.
Another challenge is projects could be completely implemented but cannot be sustained and not making it to the on-going operation after the funding runs out.
Build Trust, Embrace collaboration
While planning ahead is central to the project management discipline, it is difficult to gain stakeholder buy-in without their direct involvement in the planning and decision-making process.
Stakeholder involvement in earlier stages of the project builds on trust. Foster an environment that everyone is involved in to create commitment by openly discussing the end results and value of the project. This open dialogue creates greater understanding and allows PM to embrace collaboration amongst staff and leadership. These conversations should begin early and continued throughout the project. Frequent communication encourages greater commitment from staff.
The more the stakeholders trust PM and leaders and feel their participation makes a difference, the more chance of them collaborating and being actively engaged in the project.
Prepare for handover
Projects come with new processes that often require significant change in the way the organization is functioning. As individual and organizational change usually takes more time than anticipated or planned for It is essential to determine how these processes will be sustained after the life of the project, and how and who they are handed over to. It is important that this transition planning start early by involving the eventual people or organization that will be responsible for continuity after funding.
From building trust to handing over responsibility once the project is over, PMs need to consider stakeholder communication and engagement carefully.