How Project Managers Can Help Retain the Talented Resources

January 31, 2012

Michigan Central Train Station in Detroit

Organization rise and fall based on people involved in leading, managing and supporting.

It has become a deciding factor for success in any organization to hire, nurture and retain the great talent.  Organizations have in past gone out of way to attract key talented resources from competitors.

There might be fancy deck of powerpoint presentaton produced by HR professionals on available programs to do all that, but is it the reality on ground? Is it working?  Are key people leaving organization or moving to different department? How can you ensure the success of your initiative if key talented resources do not want to stick around? As a project manager you get to see things first hand if policies or programs are working as expected.

Also, I think, it is not only HR’s function to attract and keep talented folks but project managers play a vital role in it. Job security, clarity of direction, level of engagment, opportunities available, benefits and work environment determine how talented resource make their mind up but Project Managers can also influence talented resoureces stay by  –

  1. Marketing the project, its benefit to customer and organization along with in what way it  can help resource grow professionally;
  2. Keeping the account of talent levels of each resource’s skills, background and career goals to make informed decisions;
  3. Offering or arranging mentoring sessions & directing the focus of talented and motivated employees to groom and engage resources;
  4. Delegating in light of what resources can or can not do, level of hand holding required, comfort level in taking risk for project success;
  5. Keeping the communication lines open, first listen then guide and supervise so that resource feels connected and knows he/she makes the difference;
  6. Accepting that mistakes will be made by resources, plan accordingly and anticipate to develop future leaders and managers;
  7. Finding challenging and creative assignments for talented resources so that resources can grow;
  8. Rewarding and recommending the resources in presence of key stakeholders;
  9. Giving or arranging opportunities to attend conferences, meetings and training to sharpen their saws; and
  10. Explaining how project management fits into the life cycle of product development or any project – it’s not asking for status and producing late tasks report.

This is a list of 10 points to start your thought process, please share what else should be added.  Hope to find out from your valuable contribution through comments.  Thanks for reading.


Salience Model – Stakeholder Analysis

March 23, 2010

Who is a stakeholder? Simply anyone with a stake in the project either direct or indirect.   

PMBOK says that stakeholders for a project are persons or organizations  –  

  • who are actively involved;
  • whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the performance or completion of it.
Stakeholder analysis is a process of systematically gathering and analyzing qualitative information to determine whose interests should be taken into account when developing and/or implementing a policy or program. 
Remember that more complex your project is, more attention you need to pay in managing stakeholders. You can do all the right things for a project, but mismanaging a stakeholder who has power, influence and interest can cause failure of the project.

Mitchell, Agle and Wood (1997-99) have come up with stakeholder analysis model, that can help a project manager in early phase of planning process to identify stakeholder and classify according to three major attributes – 

  1. Power – to influence the organization or project deliverables (coercive, financial or material, brand or image);
  2. Legitimacy – of the relationship & actions in terms of desirability, properness or appropriateness;
  3. Urgency – of the requirements in terms of criticality & time sensitivity for the stakeholder.

Based on the combination of these attributes, priority is assigned to the stakeholder. 

Level 3
(High Priority)
7 – Definitive
Power, Legitimacy & Urgency
Level 2
(Medium Priority)
4 – Dominant
Power & Legitimacy
5 – Dangerous
Power & Urgency
6 – Dependent
Legitimacy & Urgency
Level 1
(Low Priority)
1 – Dormant
Power
2 – Discretionary
Legitimacy
3 – Demanding
Urgency

 

 Keep in mind that  –  

  • These three attributes can be gained or lost during the time period of the project, so pay attention when it happens. 
  • Level 1 (Low Priority) stakeholders can increase their salience by coalition building, politics, or media influence.
  • Power alone is insufficient to classify a stakeholder high priority; but some times it does, for example – CEO’s favorite project.
  • Stakeholder analysis requires careful planning, standard guidelines for selection of stakeholders, resourceful team members who have background information, and standard set of questions that feed into the worksheet.

More resouces on stakeholder analysis are at  –  

 References – 

  1. PMBOK Guide- 4th edition, PMI. 2008
  2. Schmeer, Kammi. 1999. Guidelines for Conducting a Stakeholder Analysis. November 1999 

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