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This month in Voices in Project Management on the PMI’s website, Gower author Lynda Bourne discusses effective stakeholder management. In Finding the ‘Flaw’ in Projects , Bourne looks at Sam L. Savage’s concept of ‘the flaw of averages’. Lynda Bourne is author of Gower title Advising Upwards: A Framework for Understanding and Engaging Senior Management Stakeholders about how to successfully engage senior stakeholders in support of an organisation’s projects.

I’d hope that, by now, project teams on most major projects have moved beyond simply reporting and moved instead to a more dynamic communications strategy; one in which communications play as important role in project risk management, benefit management and project delivery as any of the other more traditional technical aspects. If you feel there is still some distance your communication needs to go then do read Lynda Bourne’s paper: ‘Beyond Reporting: The Communication Strategy’ which provides  a framework to help you  plan, design, implement and measure the effectiveness of your communication strategies with key stakeholders. Lynda Bourne is author of two Gower books Stakeholder Relationship Management and Advising Upwards.

As Lynda Bourne and Derek Walker point out in their article (Tapping into the Power Lines), the one thing that most project managers lack is positional power: “Those project managers who have delivered successful projects – within budget and schedule and to agreed scope and to the expectation of all stakeholders, have invoked additional knowledge of the power structures of the organisation and skills to ‘tap into the power lines’ of that organisation.” The model they offer and the advice for how you should navigate the power lines will strike a chord with any project manager involved with large and complex projects. Lynda Bourne is author of Gower’s Stakeholder Relationship Management and Advising Upwards, which is released this month.

Much has been written about leadership and team building, but there are still major gaps in thinking and research about how to engage senior stakeholders in support of an organisation’s projects. The central role of stakeholders in the successful delivery of organisational strategy is becoming increasingly recognised, as is the importance of developing a sponsor culture to support more collaborative practices within the organisation. Building, and managing, relationships with senior (upwards) stakeholders is essential for success.

Find out more from Lynda Bourne, author of the forthcoming Gower title; Advising Upwards, A Framework for Understanding and Engaging Senior Management Stakeholders who will be speaking at the following conferences this year: 

Conference Keynote: Motivate your Manager!  PMOZ  Sydney,  August, 2011 (next week)

The Academy of Management 2011 Annual Meeting San Antonio,Texas,USA.  August 2011 part of:

Stakeholder Engagement is ‘free’! The Zero Cost of Stakeholder Relationship Management 
PMO Symposium : Royal Pacific Resort,Orlando,Florida. November 2011

Lynda regularly bloggs at

Lynda Bourne’s work on stakeholder management has developed into a significant body of knowledge (Stakeholder Realtionship Management) and she’s recently done some useful work on stakeholder management in construction which she has made available on her website:

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