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Managing Construction Project Stakeholders

John Constance MSc in Project Management, University of Liverpool Introduction I provide project management advises for the reconstruction of a small city in northern Afghanistan recovering from torrential rains and flood. The municipality is developing its asset management system while my company is contracted to support in its rehabilitation efforts to city streets, irrigation canal, footbridge and vehicle bridge respectively, putting us in collaboration with many partners and interest groups of the Municipality. These include:

The local on-site and off-site actors - city citizens and communities directly affected by the project Infrastructure owner the Municipality The Regional and National group - the Ministries of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Public Works, and Urban Development Global and International Partners UNDP, UNICEF, UNFAO, UNHabitat, ILO, UNEPA, etc. Our Client USAID Our internal departments grants, subcontract and compliance, finance and infrastructure management respectively

This paper examines conflicts that may exist among the demands of the stakeholder groups, and provide suggestions on how my company could attain the best trade-off between such conflicts. Tensions The Stakeholders interest varied as the project included repair of irrigation canal, reconstruction of city streets, floodwall, and footbridge and vehicle bridge respectively, and as the municipality initiates its asset management framework. The tensions were as follows: 1. The local on-site and off-site actors want first priority in job opportunities for the projects 2. Infrastructure owner want provision of resources to increase personnel in its engineering department and provide the department with asset management capacity building training 3. The Regional and National group want all infrastructure under the project built back better to withstand stringent flood or seismic tremors 4. Global and International Partners want the projects incorporated into the Municipality Asset Management Framework and provide ways to engage the community for sustainability purposes 5. Our Client want the project completed to US environmental regulations and building codes and within the fiscal year period

6. Our internal departments want all processes and procedures compliant to

grants, subcontract, finance and infrastructure management requirements Ideal trade-off Suggestions Critical Success Factors or CFS are dire in managing construction project stakeholders groups and depends on social responsibilities, and organization type, the hierarchical role and level of the project manager within the organization, the client segment, and the project cost (Yang et al, 2010). Based on these factors the following suggestions were made for this project stakeholders tension management; keeping in mind the need to manage stakeholders expectations so as to prevent the rough situation of having to overpromised and under-delivered (John Reiling, 2009). Suggestion 1 Conduct a comprehensive review of existing literature and other projects in the municipality to engage stakeholders and identify the CFS (Yang et al, 2010), define potential issues and conflicts between agencies supporting the Municipality (Odoni et al, 2009) making sure the engagement is systematic and structured during the projects design stage. Based on above suggestion and expectations collected from each stakeholder group the second suggestion can be made. Suggestion 2 Incorporate in the design all expectations of the project stakeholders. This include the following by:

Incorporate the projects into the Municipality Asset Management Framework Give first priority job opportunities for flood victims specifically unskilled workers Provide capacity building training and operations and maintenance program, training and manual for the Municipality Engineering Department Build back better all infrastructure based on local site specific conditions and to national and regional regulations, and international building codes and US regulations and standards Engage the community through public enquiries and basic sanitation management efforts Making sure every process and procedures used are approved by our client and internal stakeholders

Conclusion

Stakeholders are fundamental to every project accomplishment. Therefore infrastructure project managers must listen to stakeholders and satisfy their expectations to have a successful project. This requires being socially responsible and adhering to community, social, culture, business and environmental ethics and professional conduct. (GEVA, 2008). What is even more Important is to identify all the project stakeholders, determine and agree on their role and responsibilities and expectations, and incorporate these in the project design and construction plans; and during the entire project management process effectively communicate with stakeholders until the project is successfully completed.
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References GEVA, A. (2008), Three Models of Corporate Social Responsibility: Interrelationships between Theory, Research, and Practice. Business and Society Review, 113: 141 doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8594.2008.00311.x John Reiling (2009) Being Realistic With Stakeholder Expectations [Online] Available from: http://pmcrunch.com/project_management_process/being-realistic-withstakeholder-expectations/ Odoni, A., Stamatopoulos, M., Kassens, E., and Metsovitis, J. (2009) Preparing an Airport for the Olympic Games: Athens, Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 15 (1) pp. 50-59 Yuan, J., Skibniewski, M.J., Li, Q., and Zheng, L. (2010) Performance Objectives Selection Model in Public-Private Partnership Projects Based on the Perspective of Stakeholders, Journal of Management in Engineering, 26 (2), pp. 89-104