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It's not rocket science

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Shortly after I became editor of Project magazine, I met with Dennis Hone. At that time he was the chief executive at the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

Dennis, now the chief executive at the London Legacy Development Corporation, spent a great deal of time explaining to me the value of the ODA’s project delivery approach, which he described as “boring project management” – doing the basics, and doing them well.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It is time consuming and requires meticulous attention to detail. Get it right and the rewards can be endless – a new role, more responsibility or even a legacy.

That message has been reinforced to me this past month, as I spoke with a number of practitioners working on some of the world’s biggest infrastructure projects.

This meticulous attention to detail is extremely valuable every aspect of project management, but no more so, perhaps, than in stakeholder management.

In this month’s issue of Project magazine [March 2014], we speak with a number of practitioners who have spent countless hours working to identify, engage and deliver for stakeholders, on some of the world’s biggest projects.

A common theme emerges when speaking to these professionals and it has echoes of what the ODA’s former chief executive said that famous summer. Invest substantial time at the front end for substantial reward at the other.

What these people are doing isn’t ground-breaking stuff – it is tried and tested. They are taking the time to speak with people, holding meetings and forums, compromising where possible and embracing the feedback they are getting from every stakeholder – from the sponsor, to the corner shop owner. As a result, they are pushing forward with projects that could change the nation, and taking the people with them.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, as Dennis said to me in 2012, “it’s not rocket science”.


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