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Challenges in public sector projects



It is always a challenge to deal with projects in public sectors especially when the needs of the end users for the final product can be difficult to assess within varying political influences. Also, the overall project environment involves stakeholders from external and internal with conflicting agendas. Do you have any suggestions to manage these challenges effectively?
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This is not very different from any other projects, yet, it might be a bit more complex and requires you to tailor some processes for effective management such as Stakeholders Identification & Management, Communication and so on.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Nov 30, 2017 10:29 PM
Anish Abraham
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I know it's not very different but unfortunately the project environment is subject to changing management priorities, particularly in times of financial instability.



There are less risks that can be taken in public projects with all the regulations in place. So a good place to start is with effective and comprehensive risk management.



Nov 30, 2017 7:53 PM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
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This is not very different from any other projects, yet, it might be a bit more complex and requires you to tailor some processes for effective management such as Stakeholders Identification & Management, Communication and so on.
I know it's not very different but unfortunately the project environment is subject to changing management priorities, particularly in times of financial instability.



In my experience, one good and rather simple approach is to try to keep the project as tightly scoped as possible and deliver it quickly, even break down large projects into smaller ones. This reduces the potential for problems from changing political agendas over time.

Always hold requirements workshops and document the user's needs early on in each (mini) project too. Then you have an agreed base to deliver against quickly. Keep busy with lots of stakeholder communication too, using both formal and informal channels.



Anish -

The level of effort spent on stakeholder management, risk management and scope management might be greater for such projects but the basic process remains the same. What is more challenging is that the primary drivers for many public sector projects may not encourage alignment as easily as in private sector projects where the profit motive can be a powerful catalyst.

Kiron
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 01, 2017 11:00 AM
Anish Abraham
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I agree regarding the profit motives in private sectors. According to my understanding in public sectors even if the cost benefit analysis determines the project is financially feasible, the stakeholders may not pursue this further because of political reasons.



Make sure that you take into account the difference in government processes, such as human resources and procurement. Governments have many additional requirements, including transparency and equal opportunity, that add complexity and duration to the processes.



Dec 01, 2017 8:07 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Anish -

The level of effort spent on stakeholder management, risk management and scope management might be greater for such projects but the basic process remains the same. What is more challenging is that the primary drivers for many public sector projects may not encourage alignment as easily as in private sector projects where the profit motive can be a powerful catalyst.

Kiron
I agree regarding the profit motives in private sectors. According to my understanding in public sectors even if the cost benefit analysis determines the project is financially feasible, the stakeholders may not pursue this further because of political reasons.
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1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Dec 01, 2017 1:54 PM
Kiron Bondale
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When I lead the PMO for a local government agency, I witnessed the reverse - a project rapidly rose to the top of the rankings because of a promise made to one small but fairly vocal stakeholder. No one, including the stakeholder's constituents, felt the expected outcomes would be of value, but it was strictly to address a political promise.

Unfortunately, the opportunity cost of that project was significant as it consumed some of the scarcest, most talented staff we had.

That was about the time when I realized that I preferred working in private sector!

Kiron



Dec 01, 2017 11:00 AM
Replying to Anish Abraham
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I agree regarding the profit motives in private sectors. According to my understanding in public sectors even if the cost benefit analysis determines the project is financially feasible, the stakeholders may not pursue this further because of political reasons.
When I lead the PMO for a local government agency, I witnessed the reverse - a project rapidly rose to the top of the rankings because of a promise made to one small but fairly vocal stakeholder. No one, including the stakeholder's constituents, felt the expected outcomes would be of value, but it was strictly to address a political promise.

Unfortunately, the opportunity cost of that project was significant as it consumed some of the scarcest, most talented staff we had.

That was about the time when I realized that I preferred working in private sector!

Kiron
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1 reply by Stéphane Parent
Dec 01, 2017 2:06 PM
Stéphane Parent
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I hear you, Kiron. It took me sixteen years with the federal government before I made the switch. I never looked back.



Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I really appreciate it !!



Dec 01, 2017 1:54 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
When I lead the PMO for a local government agency, I witnessed the reverse - a project rapidly rose to the top of the rankings because of a promise made to one small but fairly vocal stakeholder. No one, including the stakeholder's constituents, felt the expected outcomes would be of value, but it was strictly to address a political promise.

Unfortunately, the opportunity cost of that project was significant as it consumed some of the scarcest, most talented staff we had.

That was about the time when I realized that I preferred working in private sector!

Kiron
I hear you, Kiron. It took me sixteen years with the federal government before I made the switch. I never looked back.
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