The Reluctant Stakeholder

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

Every project manager has to deal with stakeholders at some level. There are stakeholders with positive feelings toward the project and stakeholders with negative feelings toward the project. Many different strategies exist to deal with stakeholders involved in the management and execution of a project--even stakeholders that should not be involved at all in the management of a project. Many of these strategies or methods are not geared to deal with a different kind of stakeholder--the “reluctant” stakeholder. This stakeholder is in a class of his and her own and he can be difficult to find, much less aid, the project.

Who is the reluctant stakeholder? There are many possibilities. He could be an executive who does not have time to deal with all of the meetings and decisions that go along with effective management of a project. It could the “that” programmer or system analyst--the one that all the other programmers go to for advice on how to fix their problems. He is vital to the organization but prefers to only work from home between the hours of midnight and four AM. He will help when there is a problem, but he’s not interested in attending planning or scope meetings or any other kind of meeting that disturbs his routine.

Oftentimes, the reluctant stakeholder is found deep in the offices of the financial suite. She has a spreadsheet …

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