Project Management

Perception and Reality in Stakeholder Management

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Okay, you have fine tuned your performance metrics, your stats show the IT department firing on all cylinders and yet your stakeholders are unhappy, dissatisfied and think maybe it is time for a CIO change. Sound familiar?
What do you do when you believe you are doing everything right--projects finishing on time and on budget, governance compliance an A+, staff turnover low, infrastructure healthy--and yet it doesn’t seem good enough? The sad truth is that when the stakeholders are unhappy, the CEO takes notice, and even if the unhappiness is irrational and based on misperceptions, it is still all too real when it comes to determining the success or failure of a CIO.
Making matters even worse, too many CIOs dismiss the displeasure of users and other stakeholders or become defensive when confronted--both of which can spell utter doom. Instead, when you find yourself in this situation, maybe it is time to take it all very seriously and get to the heart of the issue: YOU ARE MISSING SOMETHING.
A number of remedies might be helpful here. First, consider a 360-degree survey of stakeholders, one that collects perception data in a number of areas from all core stakeholders (Users, Peers, Superiors, IT Staff). The survey should be designed to identify pain points among stakeholders so that corrective actions can be implemented. It also shows …

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