Top tips for taming tigers

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Posted by APM on 18th Jun 2012

The evening started with our outgoing Chairman Martin Gillespie taking us through the AGM where a vote of thanks was recorded for his sterling work over the last seven years. The 40th anniversary cake was cut and glasses raised to APM, followed by Martins introduction of our speaker for the night, Monica Jones.

Monica gave us a brief career history that explained how she ended up standing in front of us and then she set about giving us real life examples that she has and still is using successfully to tame our project and programme tigers. As she said, not so much a snappy title but defiantly one with plenty of alliteration.

Taming Tigers, what is that all about you may be asking? ...in short, its Stakeholder Management.

Monica started with a review of the normal stakeholder mapping, analysis and matrix tools and then brought to life real issues that she is still facing and how using other tools such as Benefits Mapping has brought her multi-functional stakeholder communities onto the same page. The Benefits Dependency Network (BDN) map example she used, generated a number of questions and showed us that they dont just exist in books but that they have a real and powerful use in programmes. We were then given some Top Tips that showed us how to use the BDN to ensure stakeholders were not only on the page, but that it was the right one and that they would remain there.

[Enterprise] Architects were discussed; what did they do and why?
They are the link between the various multi-functional entities within a programme and provide a common language that enables robust and accurate requirements gathering at all levels of an organisation. Monica gave us an overview of an American military model TOGAF (The Open Group Architectural Framework) which has at its heart Requirements Gathering to ensure the stakeholders get what they want.

Monica finished the evening with two live case studies of programmes that she is involved with. Both are similar in that they are in the health sector but the key to this was the lessons learned she gave us and whilst Clear Vision and Strong Leadership are obvious ways that will drive success, she gave us the how she is achieving this. Essentially you need continual, regular stakeholder management using communications at a face to face level with all the media available to you. Along with a strong understanding of who does what via partnerships; this ensures all parties have something to win and something to lose. Incremental product release also ensures benefits continually come out of the programme which of course keeps the programme purpose focused in your stakeholders minds and keeps them happily spending time and money because they are seeing results.

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