Having multiple stakeholders means careful management

Managing projects in which a variety of groups have an interest can be tricky, but the secret is really no secret at all, said Gail Verley, assistant director of the enterprise technology branch at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

FDIC stakeholders include banks, state regulators and the public. Successful management requires addressing each group's point of view, she said. But for the most part, proven techniques such as gaining top managers’ support and linking information technology to the project's business goals are still essential.

Addressing an audience at FCW Media Group's Program Management Summit today, Verley outlined 10 principles that she and her colleagues developed for managing those projects:

1. Get executive management support. It is important for the people in charge of making the overall strategic decisions for an agency to understand and support the project, she said.

2. Connect the business goals to IT. "We made a conscious effort to really make sure we connect those goals, and we report on them," Verley said. Requiring quarterly and annual reports ensures that the goals stay linked over time. It's easy, she said, to do it once and then forget about it.

3. Link pay and performance to the IT project, so that people's pay increases are based on meeting the project goals. The FDIC was an early adopter of a pay-for-performance system, she added.

4. Communicate objectives frequently. This is especially important when dealing with a range of interested groups, Verley said. People need reminders of the goals they are working toward.

5. Establish clearly defined principles so that no one is unsure about how to proceed.

6. Review projects after they are finished to determine whether they are yielding the expected benefits. "We still have a lot to do in this area," she said. "We're immature in it, but each time we take some lessons learned."

7. Govern from different perspectives. The FDIC has eight separate governance bodies that oversee and guide projects, reflecting the concerns and interests of the various stakeholders, she said.

8. Lead actively.

9. Give IT a seat at the business table. The FDIC's chief information officer, for example, takes part in the budgeting process each year to help establish the organization's goals and decide how IT can best support them.

10. Recognize that everyone shares success. Just as various stakeholder groups have an interest in projects, they also all contribute to success, Verley said.

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