The hidden dissuaders (with apologies to Vance Packard)
Posted by APM on 5th Dec 2011
The hidden dissuaders (with apologies to Vance Packard) was presented on behalf of the SE Branch at Rowfant House nr. Crawley on November 15th by Mary McKinlay
The evening started with a brief introduction of Mary and Vance Packard by our Chairman Martin Gillespie. Mary picked up where Martin had left off by thanking him for covering her first two slides!
So who was Vance Packard? That was what I had been wondering since I signed up for this event and unlike our Chairman, I had decided to wait until the evening and allow Mary to explain. For those of you unable to attend, he wrote a book in 1957 entitled The Hidden persuaders in which he explained the use of subliminal messages in advertising and politics. It was a big deal at the time, being the first book ever published on this subject and therefore opening peoples eyes to what was happening to them in their everyday lives.
Mary gave a brief overview of her career, including the 30 plus years in the aerospace and defence industry with the majority as a project manager and then it was down to the business of the evening. Mary set about taking us through the process of how we understand who our stakeholders are, with an emphasis on widening our search for even the most unlikely people as they are often the ones who can make or break a project. We then got into getting stakeholder requirements or scope out of them with the what, why and when for undertaking this analysis. Mary provided many examples in her slides of techniques for assessing stakeholders, backing them up with anecdotes from her working life and all done with a nice balance of humour.
We finished with questions and observations from the audience and on behalf of the SE Branch; I would like to thank Mary for a very interesting evening.
So what did I take away with me from this event? It was the importance of understanding stakeholder motivation and their drivers, if you want to deliver successful projects with some good techniques on how to get to that level of understanding of my stakeholder community.