International Project Management Day – Management of Third-Party Stakeholders, the Key to successful delivery.
In celebration of International Project Management Day, our Director of Project Management Tom Bishop shares his expertise and thoughts on this vital role in the construction industry.
At Concert we understand that construction projects are complex; having the requirement to finish within a defined timeframe, with budgetary targets and involve the integration of multiple stakeholders and participants throughout the lifecycle.
Most of the projects at Concert involve close engagement with numerous third-party stakeholders. Most developments of any reasonable scale involve aspects that are not in the direct control of the client or their project team. It is important that these third-party dependencies are identified and that their potential impacts are understood, quantified, and managed from the outset.
Even though some could influence the project over its life, the majority of will do so at a set time. Given our experience in a range of sectors, Concert regularly advise and manage a range of third-party stakeholders in a pro-active rather than re-active manner.
The Project Management team at Concert spend time at the out-set of any commission to identify the third-party stakeholders in the project. Third parties may not be motivated by the same objectives as the client or project team, but nevertheless they can have a serious impact on the programme for a project if not managed correctly. It is not good practise to assume, just because a time allocation has been made within a programme for a third-party dependency, that the third party has any interest in keeping to that programme. As Concert project managers we make sure that these parties are engaged and throughout the process they are ready to make decisions at the right time so that our projects advance to the agreed timescales.
The most effective project management tools to assist with this are third-party stakeholder tracking schedules and programmes that clearly identify the third-party issue, who’s responsible and next steps. The management schedules continue to develop as the project moves forward, changes arise, risks come and go, and potential new adverse impacts are identified.
Schedules also help Concert and our clients to do the following:
- Provide a basis for us to monitor and control project activities
- Help us to determine what specialist consultants we need to appoint to manage a particular third party and how best to allocate resources, so we achieve the project goal
- Help you assess how time delays will impact the project
- The probability and importance of impacts should be assessed & prioritised with responsibilities allocated and strategies put in place to monitor progress
- Where risks remain, strategies can be developed by the project team to be put in place to mitigate, transfer, avoid or accept those risks
Part of Concert’s Project Execution Plans is to clarify and schedule out the following:
- Who are third parties on the project?
- What are their influences and stakes in the project (positive and negative)?
- What opportunities do they present?
- What challenges or threats do they present?
- What are the key milestone dates to conclude any negotiations or legals with the identified third-party
- What responsibilities do we have towards these third-party stakeholders?
- What strategies of actions are open to us and what should we use to implicate & satisfy the third parties?
- Should we / the client deal directly or indirectly with the third parties?
- Should we be aggressive or defensive in the treatment of the stakeholders?
- When and how should we accommodate, negotiate, or mitigate conflicting demands of where our client’s objectives are not supported?
All construction projects can create unexpected situations from third parties and it is necessary to monitor the progress of the identified parties, the evolution of their “power of influence”, and the triggers that can originate these reactions. The urgency of which each stakeholder should be managed is changeable throughout the lifecycle of the project. This urgency associated with third party and their interests is often very dynamic. Therefore, Third Party matters should be controlled regularly to detect important changes and mitigate negative impacts for our client’s – This type of activity is trademark Concert Project Management.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues in this article, please get in contact with Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert: firstname.lastname@example.org