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Topics: Agile, Communications Management, Stakeholder Management
Too many "Generals" and not enough "Soldiers
Anonymous
I am currently working on a very large software project in an Agile environment with many resources. This is my first Agile project. With many people comes many opinions. I'm open to hearing people's opinions however, there are too many people who think their opinion is the one that counts the most. As I said, too many Generals and not enough Soldiers. In the end it would be nice to have one person designated to have the final say on all decisions, however, that is just not the case and don't think it is necessarily possible. Has anyone ever dealt with this issue? How did you manage it?
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Stakeholders have their own perspectives, views and ideas. Part of your stakeholder analysis is deciding salience and power for each stakeholder. At the end of the day, the project sponsor is the stakeholder that has the final say.
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1 reply by anonymous
Apr 30, 2020 2:26 PM
anonymous
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Thank you for your reply! You are absolutely right and I'm going to incorporate this. I think when things are so chaotic we need a fresh reminder of our PM skills.
My next question is then, how do you communicate something like a Salience model to a team without coming right out and saying, sorry, but you don't have as much of a say as so and so. The expectations need to be set at the forefront of the project. Unfortunately, I came in the middle and chaos had already ensued.
Anonymous
Apr 30, 2020 1:03 PM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
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Stakeholders have their own perspectives, views and ideas. Part of your stakeholder analysis is deciding salience and power for each stakeholder. At the end of the day, the project sponsor is the stakeholder that has the final say.
Thank you for your reply! You are absolutely right and I'm going to incorporate this. I think when things are so chaotic we need a fresh reminder of our PM skills.
My next question is then, how do you communicate something like a Salience model to a team without coming right out and saying, sorry, but you don't have as much of a say as so and so. The expectations need to be set at the forefront of the project. Unfortunately, I came in the middle and chaos had already ensued.
It sounds like you have the perfect excuse: you are new to the project! Play the newbie card when talking to the stakeholders. As far as how do you handle the differences in your stakeholders, you have two choices: you can keep your analysis to yourself or you can choose to diplomatically put your cards on the table. If you decide, for the sake of transparency, to go with the latter, feel free to engage your project sponsor to help you out.
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1 reply by anonymous
Apr 30, 2020 2:52 PM
anonymous
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Thank you! I definitely think I need to be transparent or else decisions will never be made and we'll spend too many hours in meetings going in circles :)
Anonymous
Apr 30, 2020 2:49 PM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
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It sounds like you have the perfect excuse: you are new to the project! Play the newbie card when talking to the stakeholders. As far as how do you handle the differences in your stakeholders, you have two choices: you can keep your analysis to yourself or you can choose to diplomatically put your cards on the table. If you decide, for the sake of transparency, to go with the latter, feel free to engage your project sponsor to help you out.
Thank you! I definitely think I need to be transparent or else decisions will never be made and we'll spend too many hours in meetings going in circles :)
You might want to consider using Delegation Poker to review common or likely decisions in your project with the team so everyone can share their perceptions of the relative level of authority they have over a given decision or scenario.
This team seems to be in the storming stage of team development.

If your purpose on that team is to help them work more efficiently, get the appropriate authority from the sponsor or rely on techniques of ‚leading without authority‘, google it.

If that‘s not your role, escalate to the sponsor.
Firstly I would discuss this with the sponsor, as it appears to be a risk to the project.

Also, I am aware of some large projects that appoint a "Change Control Board" sub-group, who are a small group of powerful people tasked with change authorisations for the project. The project team flags up all options to them for decisions. Perhaps you could try something similar as a one-off exercise for all the issues you have inherited?
You mentioned that this project is executed within an Agile environment. Have you considered using scrum? This will allow the project sponsor - acting as a product owner - to take action (discard / accept / consider for a laster stage) during each sprint.

As others were saying, creating a power and interest matrix of all your project stakeholders would also be useful.
It sounds like perhaps additional stakeholder analysis is needed. Formally establishing your key decision makers and the appropriate escalation contact for each area could also be helpful.

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