Management of Projects and Stakeholders

Introduction

This literature review paper begins by introducing various aspects of managing a project and managing its stakeholders. It defines a project, the term project management and stakeholder's management. The paper then goes to the literature review section where it analyses various studies that have been done so far on the subject of stakeholder and project management. Within the literature review section, it talks of the theories that can be used in this study review which are the contingency leadership theory and the stakeholder theory. These theories are then enumerated. The paper then gives the methodology to be used to which is found to be descriptive of the available literature on projects. Then it gives the theoretical framework of that is followed by a detailed discussion of the review findings where it gives the link between the project management and stakeholders' management. This is then followed by a conclusion and recommendations. A list of references is then given at the end of the paper.

Project Management and Project Stakeholders

Projects and Progect Managemen

A project can be argued to be an endeavor that is temporary that has clearly spelt out beginning time, duration it is supposed to take, and the eventual time it is supposed to come to an end. Any project is considered to be constrained both in terms of resources and time (Turner, 2007). They are usually undertaken with the aim of meeting goals and objectives that are unique in nature. The projects are undertaken in an effort to bring desirable benefits that will add value to society. The term project management, on the other hand, refers to a discipline or field that involves processes such as planning, motivating, organizing and controlling resources that are available in the quest to achieve specific goals. Every project management process if faced with a primary challenge of trying to achieve all the laid down goals of the project and its objectives under the available project constrains. Constraints such as time, scope, project quality and budget are some of the primary constraints that majorly affect the process of project management. There are also constraints that are considered secondary that tend to be of ambitious nature. Such constraints include optimizing the usage of the allocated resources so that the project can effectively meet its predetermined objectives.

Studies show that the process of project management developed based on a wide range field of applications. Scholars such as Henry Gantt developed the Gantt chart that could be used as a tool for managing projects (Schwalbe, 2006). Either, the project management process, must also observe the five management functions that usually form the base of knowledge that are associated with the process of managing programs and projects. A number of approaches can be employed when managing projects. The approaches do include activities such as iteration, lean project management, incremental activities and phased approaches. Careful considerations have to be made on the overall project objectives, its timeline, costs involved, roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders.

The Project Stakeholders

The term project stakeholders refers to individual entities that are found within or outside the organization that are the main sponsors of the project, have specific interests in the project or consider themselves to gain in the event that the project is successfully completed (Binder, 2007). The stakeholders are also the entities that are capable of having a negative influence on the project as a whole. The project stakeholders do get actively involved in the project, and their interest is usually affected by the process of executing the project to completion. They also significantly influence the nature of the project's objectives thus affecting the project's overall outcome. The management team of any project must endeavor carefully to identify the stakeholders of the project they are in charge of and then determine their specific requirements and the expectations they have. The management also manages the influence the stakeholders will have on the overall affairs and success of the project to ensure that to it becomes successful. The project stakeholders within any given project might include entities such as project leader, project testers, product user groups, project customers, line managers, project team members, upper management and resource managers.

The project's stakeholders must be managed since it is critical to the successful completion of the project. The project management team has to engage the right people in the project, and this they can only do through the management of the project (Walker & Newcombe, 2000). The management team must take actions that will impact on individuals who are considered to have power or influence over the project. Managing the project's stakeholders requires that the management team uses the stakeholder planning tool effectively to manage the stakeholders. The stakeholder planning tool requires that the project's management team carefully identifies its stakeholders; prioritize the project's stakeholders using a power or interest grid that will eventually enable them understand their stakeholders.

Projects and Project Stakeholers Management Progress

Several studies have been carried out so far on the project and project stakeholder management process. The most notable study is that done by Rachel Thompson who has had a wide range of experience in helping organizations through the process of managing various projects and their stakeholders. Her research work was on stakeholder analysis where she endeavored to study the influences of various stakeholders within a given project (Saunders & Others, 2003). The study reveals that a successful project team leader is usually a sociable individual who is capable of acknowledging the relationships between the managerial and the rational sets within the changing attributes of the project. The project team leaders must promote an environment that will lead to the dynamic involvement of all the stakeholders thus making interpersonal relations to flourish. This will eventually eliminate instances of stakeholders' misbehavior, conflicts and abuses of power.

The Role of the Project Leaders in Project and Project Stakeholders Management

The study asserts that the project leaders must demonstrate their leadership through the observance of five crucial elements which include the expectations which should outline the specifics that the team leader expects from his team members, (Robson, 2002) opportunities which are the various prospects that the team leader gives to his team members for them to perform effectively, the various feedbacks through frequent evaluations and reactions to the team members' performances, show guidance to the team members by giving them directions thus informing them of what is wrong and what is right and finally the team leader is supposed to reward his team members incentives that motivate them to increase their performance and contribution to the realization of the project's goals and objectives.

Management and leadership expertise are considered a single entity. Although both intrinsically contribute to numerous related traits, the contemporary reality demonstrates that not all managers can be accomplished leaders; nevertheless, every leader is capable of being a manager (Wirick, 2009). Both qualities correspond and are inevitably associated with one another. It is impossible to extract one condition from the other. An executive is present to prepare, systematize, and synchronize, whereas a leader's utmost purpose is to lead, inspire, and encourage.

Another research study is that done by Fahad Usmani on how to identify stakeholders in project management. The study suggests that any project manager who has the responsibility of successfully completing any projects within its scope must endeavor to know his stakeholders. The study suggests that a project's stakeholder can be any influential person in the form of a customer, an organization involved in the project to perform certain tasks, a sponsor or even the general public (Sims, 2010). The management must ensure that the size of the project team is connected to the size of the project scheme. Management should ensure that, in the event that the project expands, the players within the project including the stakeholders must also expand proportionately. This process should be carried on until an inclusive team is realized. The expansion of the scheme only ensures that the group of players expands but not the formations of the groups.

Challenging in Managing Project and Progect Stakeholders

In the management of projects and its stakeholders, some situations do occur that are considered contentious. The states considered contentious are usually a sequence of scenarios where by the resources used within the project become significantly scarce thus attracting hostile reactions from the stakeholders. Such a situation leads to a conflict between the projects entities, companies that are partially involved in the project and the stakeholders of the project (Lane, 2000). The conflicts are considered personal even though at times there might exist causes that are objective. The conflict is most likely to engage the project's stakeholders both within the project and outside the project. The conflicts that exist among the outside stakeholders are the most complex conflicts to handle due to their assortment. Therefore, the project's management must carefully manage the project's stakeholders to avert the occurrence of any kind of conflict. They must also manage the project itself in a manner that will ensure that the project's key goals and objectives are achieved.

This research survey paper, therefore, studies the manner in which project management teams successfully manages the projects so that they realize the project's main goals and objectives. Either, it also looks at the manner in which the project's stakeholders impact on the project and how the management team endeavors to manage the project's stakeholders.

Related Theories in Progect and Progect Stakeholders Management

Various theories can be used to study the relationship between management of projects and managing the projects stakeholders. The theories to be discussed within this study are contingency leadership theory and stakeholder theory.

Contingency Leadership Theory

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This theory was advanced by Fieldler (1967) and it highlights the various aspects of leadership attribute in any team leader within a project that will enable the team leader successfully to lead his team members (Fieldler, 1967). The theory asserts that the success of any leader is closely linked with the individual’s traits than they are linked to the individual's education, his vocational competence or his professional know-how. Though there are various broad based assortment traits that lead to the success of any leader, there still exists some active character within an individual that enables him inspire the team he is leading. Either, there is a mutual process that necessitates the appreciation of the setting and character quality of the task that individuals carry out. This theory was later considered as changing and varying attributes by theorists named Tannenbaum and Schmidt in the year 1973 where they argued that the suitable leadership approach is reliant on the established state.

As applied in the management of projects and project's stakeholders, the management team must consist of individuals who have people qualities. The managers must have personality traits that will allow them to appropriately relate to the team members as well as the stakeholders. The qualities must be leadership oriented in that they must be able to give directions to others through their actions, words and intentions. Other than their academic or professional qualification, the managers must demonstrate leadership skills that will enable them inspire and motivate the team members who are directly under their supervision. They should also have necessary skills that will allow them engage appropriately with the stakeholders to ensure that they cooperate with the management team members towards the realization of the project's set goals and objectives.

Stakeholder Theory

This theory asserts that projects management should strive to regard and gratify the stakeholders since this will help them acquire authentic and reliant states that are beneficial (Batten, 1998). This will ensure that the projects profitability is enhanced. It will also ensure that the project attains its goals. Projects can implement the stakeholder method to manage its advantages thus realizing positive results. As applied in the management of projects, the management team is required to put more emphasis on the requirements and needs of the stakeholders. The management team has to divide the stakeholders into various groups with varying needs so that it analyses these stakeholder groups by identifying their specific needs.

After the identification of the specific needs of each and every stakeholder group, the management team must respond to these needs in an appropriate manner that will leave both parties satisfied. According to this theory, the management team should realize the importance of the stakeholders as the backbone of the project for without their active participation there would be no resources to be used in the realization of the project have set goals and objectives. Therefore, the management should always give stakeholders the first priority and their affairs managed appropriately.

Research Review Methodology

The review is designed in a manner that is descriptive in that analysis to be carried out on the various case studies of projects that have been completed or the ones that are currently on course. The analysis will include available books and journals on projects on the manner in which the project's management team undertakes to managing stakeholders who are crucial to the success of the project. The relationship between the managing of the projects and managing its stakeholders will also be shown. Either, it looks at the effects of effectively managing the stakeholders on the project itself.

Theoretical THEORETICAL Framework

Theoretically, the this study is designed in a manner that will involve a review of the available case study articles or books one major project that is currently on course and another that has come to completion. This is meant to obtain relevant information on the management of the projects, and how effectively to manage a project's stakeholders. Either, it also gives a link between better stakeholder and project management.

Discussion

The review findings are that the process of managing projects takes place in four main stages which are the startup stage, planning stage, execution stage and close down stage (Lester & Lester, 2007). The startup and planning stages sometimes do run concurrently and thus cannot be easily distinguished. The starting stage allows the project managers to conceptualize the broader areas of the project and initiate the planning process. The planning stage involves the laying down of clear guidelines that are to be followed in the implementation of the project. The execution is the actual stage in which the specific actions are taken towards the realization of the project's goals and objectives. In the close down stage, the project comes to an end where it is winded up after its goals and objectives have been set on a course.

In managing the project's stakeholders, the project management must adhere to the principles of stakeholder management which will guide the management on how they should interact with the project's stakeholders. The principles dictate that the project management must consider the concerns of the stakeholders whenever they are making any kind of decisions (Ghauri & Gronhoung, 2002).The management should also communicate effectively with the stakeholders on their respective concerns and contributions towards the realization of the project's goals and objectives. This will enable the stakeholders be aware of the risks involved in the project. The communication should also be tailored to meet the various needs of the stakeholders. Either, the management must act with fairness when dealing with the stakeholders and strive towards developing good partnership with their stakeholders. All these will enable the management to balance their interests with those of stakeholders so as to eliminate any instances of conflict.

The project management and stakeholder management are closely linked and one cannot exist without the other. Stakeholder management takes place through the phases in which project management takes place. The start up phase of the project management involves the initiation of the stakeholders in the project where by they are brought on board. The planning process involves planning the operations involving the stakeholders. Either, the financial resources that are planned for mainly come from the stakeholders who are mostly in the form of financiers of the project. The management team who take up the responsibility of planning are themselves among the projects stakeholders. The execution of the project only takes place once every stakeholder has been assigned a defined role to play. In the event that the tasks assigned to these stakeholders come to an end it marks the closing point of the project. Therefore, without the stakeholders the project cannot go on. Either, effective project management can only be achieved through effectively managing the stakeholders.

Conclusion

The project management process ensures that the management becomes accountable to the various stakeholders of the project by taking up the responsibility where individuals can account for the specific actions that they have taken (Dhiles, 2011). This ensures that the management consults with various parties thus running the project from an informed point of view. Managing the stakeholders, on the other hand, ensures that delays in the completion of the project are eliminated as the project will adhere to the startup and completion schedules. Stakeholders have to be managed so that back room politicking is eliminated that might result into the extension of the project cycle time or even reassigning of the project's resources to other projects. This will also ensure that the project's information flow system is kept constant. When proper stakeholders' management has been achieved that's when the project can be said to be effectively managed.

Recommendation

After the available case study review, this paper identifies certain gaps that existed in the available case study articles and books on the management of projects and the projects stakeholders. The most notable gap is that most of the articles available do not show the manner in which effective management of the project's stakeholders is linked to the management of the project itself. The available cases only isolate the two types of management giving their individual benefits. The articles also do not give a clear relationship on the influence proper management of stakeholders has on the success of the project.

This study review, therefore, recommends that before any management process is taken, the stakeholders have to be carefully analyzed to identify their needs and impact on the operations of the project towards its realization of its goals. The stakeholders must also be properly managed as they are parties that determine the effectiveness of the project's management success. This paper also suggests that future study reviews should be concentrated on the relationship of managing a project's stakeholders appropriately and its influence on the realization of the project's set goals and objectives.