The stakeholder analysis should be undertaken at a minimum one month prior to the deadline for a project proposal to allow enough time to undertake the process in a thorough manner. The main steps involved in stakeholder analysis are:
- Clearly identify the issue of concern,
- Identify all those groups who have a significant interest in the issue. You can use a ‘snowball’ process where you ask each stakeholder to help identify other stakeholders that may have an interest.
- Investigate, using interviews, surveys, or group workshops, each stakeholder’s role, interest, motivation and capacity (strengths and weaknesses) to participate in the potential project. Also identify their relative power to affect the project, whether positively or negatively.
- Identify their relationship with other stakeholders, as to whether it is one of cooperation or conflict.
- Interpret the results of the stakeholder analysis to inform the project design.
Questions that you can ask yourself as you review the information include:
- Are you targeting those that most need it?
- Are stakeholders sufficiently engaged in the issue to have a sense of ownership over the issue and potential solutions?
- Are conflicts amongst stakeholder recognised and being addressed?
Investigating the strategic aspects of a possible solution often boils down to analyzing just four things: the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In this discussion, we’ll use a simple but powerful tool called SWOT Analysis to look at these four elements. Performing a SWOT Analysis before making a choice can help you understand the trade-offs you need to consider. A SWOT Analysis is a two by two grid so there are four boxes. In one box, you list the key strengths for the proposal.
In the next boxes, you list the weaknesses, the opportunities, and the threats. It may sound easy, but it’s not. Nevertheless, taking the time to do a SWOT Analysis can really help teams dig into the strategic issues and improve everyone’s understanding of the options. Let’s look at the sort of questions a project leader might ask for each quadrant. What are the strengths of a particular option? Does it solve the problem? Is it fast or cheap? Does it seem relatively easy?How about the weaknesses? Maybe it’s slow, expensive, complicated, or risky.
These might be the opposite of the strengths, but ironically, sometimes a weakness can also be a strength. And then we have the opportunities. Does this solution create an opportunity to enter a new market, to capture market share from a competitor? Last, we have the threats.What could go wrong? Are there intellectual property issues? Do we have the talent we need to make it happen? What you’ll see from doing this analysis is that there are some factors to consider that are internal to your organization, the strengths and the weaknesses, and there are some that relate to the external environment, the opportunities and the threats.
You’ll also notice that some factors work in favor of your proposed solution, the strengths and the opportunities, and others work against it, the weaknesses and the threats. Their distribution challenges are having a big impact on company performance. We have some potential solutions in mind, but to save time and resources chasing the wrong solution, we need to understand their strategic implications.
So let’s use a SWOT Analysis to evaluate one of these proposals, the option of hiring another firm to handle our fulfillment. Take a look at the strengths, the weaknesses, the opportunities, and the threats that come with this solution. As you can see, identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can be a challengeand will probably take some time. But the SWOT Analysis approach is a great tool to help your team investigate the strategic issues related to your project and to capture them in a way that makes logical sense.
SWOT stands for ‘strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats’. It is a useful tool to analyse the internal strengths and weaknesses of an organisation and the external opportunities and threats that it faces. You may decide to do a SWOT only for the key stakeholder. Relevant questions to ask in a SWOT analysis are provided below:
- What advantages does your organisation have in relation to the project?
- What is your organisation particularly good at? What makes your organisation special – what particular strengths does you organisation have?
- What is your organisation not so good at? Try to be honest and as open as you can.
- What could be improved upon?
- What stops your organisation performing at its best? What necessary skills are missing that you might need for delivering the project?
- Where do you see the best forthcoming opportunities for the project?
- What is changing in the outside world that might create new opportunities for the project in the near future?
- What obstacles does the project face
- What are others doing that might create problems for the project in the near future?
- What high-risk things are you doing that might make you vulnerable to external impacts
Why it’s important to have an effective plan for a project, go-live or startup?
Now, think about a problem that you’re facing and what are the solutions that you’re considering. Try doing a SWOT Analysis on that solution, what are the strengths, what are the weaknesses. The final stage of a project, when you’re actually making the change from one system to another, is a time when a lot of moving pieces need to be synchronized. Because so many things need to come together so quickly during the go-live portion of a project, you should consider having a separate project plan.
Trying to build all of the details for a go-live into the main project plan can bog down the process. So it makes sense to create a separate plan that only covers the activities and deliverables for the go-live. And some project management software will allow you to link a separate file of activities in the go-live plan to the activities in the main project plan. Things like charging the batteries in the handheld scanners, calling the recycling company to remove leftover cardboard and pallets, and cleaning the floor to remove dirt and debris. It’s important for them to make sure that all of these activities are completed in a short window of time. But they’re much too detailed to include in the main project plan.
The go-live, or startup plan, can be a part of the overall project plan, but in some cases it makes more sense to have it as a separate stand-alone plan. Either way, proactive project leaders make sure that they have a good plan for the detailed activities that need to occur during the go-live.