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Stakeholder Management

Does your CEO think the world smells of fresh paint?

Imagine the situation.  It’s 9am on a Monday and you receive an e-mail from the head of your department:

FROM: Joan Jones, Head of function

Subject : CEO Visiting area at 11:00

Dear All,

Please be aware that Stacey South, the group CEO will be visiting the office today.  She will be touring the building, and is due to visit our department at 11am.  Please ensure your desks are clean and tidy, and that all walkways are clear.  Coats and jackets should be placed in the cupboards and not on the back of chairs.

Stacey often asks questions, please ensure you respond appropriately and positively, and please refer to your manager if you are unsure. Remember, your response could reflect badly on our department, so please refrain from being controversial.

Thanks in advance,


Clearly a fictional example, right?  Well… maybe!

I’m surprised at the number of people I meet who say they’ve received e-mails of this nature during their career.  Whilst it is completely understandable that one would want to make a good impression to a CEO (or any other visitor for that matter), it’s more important that senior stakeholders see and experience the authentic working environment.  In particular in our role as professional Change Practitioners, we should not be reticent in stating our concerns and laying out the “cold hard facts” for our stakeholders to see.

Paint Brusg
Painting over the cracks helps no-one...

Treating visits from the CEO as “royal visits” encourages the wrong behaviour and value-set.  It reinforces the belief that senior stakeholders are inaccessible, special, and far too important for the likes of you or me.  This kind of behaviour subverts genuine concerns; if the CEO is royalty, so are the board.  Project members may be reluctant to raise genuine issues or concerns for fear of being perceived as negative.  After all, if the CEO can’t even cope with seeing a stack of papers on a desk, how will they react when they find out their £20 million project is severely behind schedule……

Warning sign - land mines

How to avoid project land mines

I’m pleased to say that my most recent blog article has been published on “”, where I have contributed as a guest author.    I’d love to hear what you think, so please feel free to make a comment on the site, or contact me directly. Excerpt: “As a BA, joining a project that has been… 

A project is like a visiting a city – and some of your stakeholders might need help

I’m pleased to say that my most recent blog article has been published on “”, where I have contributed as a guest author.    I’d love to hear what you think, so please feel free to make a comment on the site, or contact me directly.  It’s inspired by my recent trip to New York, so… 

Project Health Check : 5 serious project warning signs

As experienced change practitioners, I’m sure we’ve all worked on projects that have been difficult.  The unfortunate truth is that some projects gain so much momentum, they become “too big to fail”.  These projects steamroll their way through organisations, and have a tendency to displace anyone that dares to challenge them.

Sometimes when working closely on a project, it is difficult to see the warning signs.  However, it is worth carrying out a project “health check” every now and then, to check for danger signs.  If you see any significant warning signals, then you might need to take some serious (and unpopular) corrective action.  Five such signals are discussed below:

RACI, Stakeholder Management & Airline Turbulence

Would *you* be surprised if a pilot asked you whether it was safe to fly?

I travelled on an internal flight to Edinburgh recently and it was foggy and raining. It was a little turbulent, but I’m pleased to say that we landed safely. As a passenger, I was a very important “stakeholder” of the airline, but they did not ask me if it was a good idea to fly or not. The decision was (quite rightly) made without consulting me, and I took it on trust that those responsible had made the right decision.

Stakeholder management is an important part of any project. There will usually be many interested parties who need to be represented. An effective way of categorising these stakeholders can be to use a RACI matrix, arranging them into the following groups against each milestone or deliverable:

Stakeholder Management (Video)

As Business Analysts, it’s normal for us to interact with a wide range of stakeholders on our projects. Actively engaging with and managing our stakeholders is incredibly important, as it can increase the likelihood of success in our projects. At the recent IIBA conference, I gave a short presentation on Stakeholder Management.  It is in… 

“Who needs a BA anyway?” : Tips to build credibility with business stakeholders

Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to a number of my peers who work in different companies and different industries who have been facing a similar set of challenges.  A common problem in the project world seems to be that some business stakeholders just don’t understand the role of a BA.  In a worse… 

BA Skillset : Refresh the lost art of ‘networking’!

In recent times, there has been a renewed focus on Stakeholder Management during business change projects.  Formal Stakeholder Management helps to ensure that expectations are managed, and conflict is addressed.  With this renewed focus on formal management techniques, it’s easy to forget the value of your informal network of colleagues, suppliers, friends and associates. Your…