Why Project Stakeholders’ Motivations Matter

project stakeholder motivation

Every stakeholder wants something out of a project. They might seek to implement new technologies to reduce the amount of time it takes to do a particular task, or to boost manufacturing capacity for additional revenue generation. But even when the motivation is good, it can still have unwelcome ramifications if the project team isn’t aware of the origin.

Before you finish the planning phase of your next project, consider how stakeholder interests can influence your approach.

Improve collaboration. Working across multi-disciplinary teams includes connecting with people outside the jobsite, such as employees working remotely and external partners in other locations. Expanding the organization’s collaborative opportunities provides more options, but project teams need to maintain a focus on ensuring initiatives are properly future-proofed. Choosing a specific technology because it’s what a collaborator uses, for example, could leave your business with an outdated or misaligned solution if that partnership ends or the external party changes its technology. Take the time to investigate other platforms that may offer similar integration and always keep longer-term usefulness and applicability in mind.

Reduce or eliminate unpleasant work. Everyone wants to ditch repetitive duties, offload manual activities to a machine—whether it’s automation, AI, or robotics—and make tedious tasks less, well, tedious. However, while streamlining workflows, the project team should prioritize quality over expected time savings. Consider planning a gradual transition from existing processes to new ones, rather than a single cutover. This allows time to confirm that the machine’s results are acceptable, and that quality hasn’t suffered in the process. Stakeholders might push back on a schedule that leaves them with rote tasks longer than anticipated, and project teams should proactively discuss the strategy early to secure everyone’s buy-in.

Beat the competition. Getting a new feature, product, or service to market before a competitor does is a common driver behind many kinds of projects. However, teams need to remember that time pressures often cause people to make bad decisions, which could ultimately put the project’s outcomes in jeopardy.In the rush to roll out new software functionality to customers, stakeholders might try to truncate the beta testing and bug fix phases because they consume time and stand in the way of an accelerated deployment. The result could be a problematic launch that leaves customers frustrated and erodes market share.

Save money. A desire to realize cost efficiencies is present in nearly every type of project, from small, one-off efforts to highly impactful strategic initiatives. While saving money is a valid stakeholder motivator, project teams should remain aware of the potential for problems. Unfortunately, the desire to trim spend can sometimes be at odds with factors such as paying an upcharge to ensure high-demand materials and equipment arrive on schedule, incurring off-hours labor fees to minimize user disruption during work hours, or agreeing to a contract for extended support services to ensure the long-term viability of new hardware. Penny pinching during the project’s active phase often isn’t worth it if it leads to negative long-term consequences.

Secure new career opportunities. There may be times when an ambitious sponsor or supporter sees a strategically important project as a vehicle to help build their personal brand or put themselves in a favorable position for advancement. That isn’t inherently a bad thing. Employees progress in their careers by doing good work, and moving a high-risk project to a successful completion certainly showcases skills that are valuable to the business. But project teams should be vigilant and ensure individual stakeholders don’t push for decisions that undermine the project’s goals or deprioritize legitimate needs in favor of their own ambitions.

PMAlliance, Inc uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consultingproject management training and project portfolio management.