Project Management

Aligning International Stakeholders During a Global Pandemic

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By Marat Oyvetsky, PMP

Global companies often struggle to align their international projects because of competing priorities, changing strategic corporate focus and general budget fluctuations due to performance in different markets.

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced new chaos to a company’s ability to plan its global IT projects for the coming year. To add to the confusion and complexity, many stakeholders have localized their priorities and concentrations. While these actions can help safeguard an organization’s local activities, they can create misalignment in a company’s international program or portfolio. This can add a great deal of risk to a company’s global deployment strategy, schedule and IT budget.

When program or portfolio misalignment occurs, project leadership must help get primary stakeholders on track and ensure that the program or portfolio is prioritized, balanced and communicated effectively.

Here are a few suggestions on how to help your global stakeholders align their priorities, improve their communication and safeguard the organization’s global IT budget during this time:

1. Hold program/portfolio strategy sessions.

The coronavirus has changed nearly every organization’s IT deployment strategy. With more people working from home, companies have shifted their global IT strategies to include end-user security and connectivity, for example.

While localized stakeholders concentrate on their needs to ensure business continuity, it is vital to create a global stakeholder strategy session to ensure that all stakeholders have a chance to meet, align and forecast their planning. Maintaining a weekly strategy session that includes all global stakeholders gives project leadership a platform to align forecasting, planning, budgeting and execution for an organization’s global IT deployment.

2. Review global IT budgets.

The pandemic has also affected nearly every organization’s global IT budget, and, in many cases, has frozen it. With workers being sent home, companies were faced with changing priorities for their IT expenditures. Many organizations’ CFOs and CIOs had to navigate difficult decisions based on planning and execution for their yearly IT spend. Often, these decisions were not communicated to all departments and contributed to stakeholder misalignment.

Project leadership can help align the CFO, CIO and all IT global stakeholders by creating and leading strategic IT financial planning sessions. These sessions will help align all organizational leaders and stakeholders, prioritize the organization’s IT budget and ensure that all company stakeholders have a platform to discuss, review and plan the evolving IT landscape for the coming year.

3. Create a global stakeholder communication plan.

The coronavirus pandemic has made communication and planning twice as difficult, due to the uncertainty of the global shutdown and shelter-in-place orders. Some companies are finding that execution is slower, with many critical action items being missed. Companies are stretching IT budgets to the limit just by chasing incomplete tasks and unresponsive resources.

Creating a global stakeholder communication plan is vital in ensuring that all stakeholders are in lockstep with every IT budget decision, plan, project and program direction and execution.

The global pandemic has impacted every organization differently. But one issue most companies have in common is the struggle to align their communication and stakeholder expectations. Project leadership can help the organization successfully align their stakeholders through regular, mandatory strategy sessions to coordinate forecasting, budgeting and execution. This alignment can create a clearer focus on what the organization can accomplish, and remove confusion and competing priorities.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve encountered in aligning global stakeholders during the pandemic?

Posted by Marat Oyvetsky on: June 24, 2020 11:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Great article as usual Marat. Well worth the time investment to read it.
You demonstrate communication is vital and essential to breaking down the barriers between stakeholders and project teams to ensure everyone is on the same sheet of music.
I'll be using some of your points in my discussions with clients.

Finally, someone is talking about this, especially no. 2 & 3. The extent of budget freeze can be incredible sometimes, to the extent of crippling all manner of digital transformation.

Very interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing.

Marat, certianly a worthy read. The importance of communication can never be understated. It's crucial and indispensable to any successful project. And, of course, prioritizing budgets is essential as well.

Marcus

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