Module 3 – case study



Case Study


Projects of all sizes have stakeholders; some are directly involved in the project’s work, whereas others have concerns that may be directly or indirectly related to the product of the project. Those directly involved are typically called “primary stakeholders,” and they are concerned with the progress of the project, which includes all aspects of ensuring that the project is successful. Those indirectly involved are typically called “secondary stakeholders,” and they are concerned with making some change to the direction that the project is taking.

The project’s process may have adverse impacts on such items as quality of life. Construction crews operating heavy equipment to build a road can disrupt traffic flow, create loud noises, create dust clouds that carry to housing areas, disrupt the normal flow of drain water during storms, and mar the topsoil sufficiently to cause erosion. The trucks may be speeding through residential areas and posing a hazard to children playing near streets.

On the other hand, there is the product of the project. Construction of new homes in an area can negatively impact the local infrastructure through overloads to the existing system. New homes require water, electricity, telephones, sewage disposal, and gas. In addition, the new families will place new requirements on schools, stores, roads, libraries, fire departments, and other public facilities.

Stakeholders for the road project would want the road, but perhaps object to the inconveniences and hazards associated with building the road. Stakeholders would in this instance have two purposes: (1) improve their road system for a smoother flow of traffic and (2) cause the construction crew to exercise caution in how the work is performed. In this situation, one stakeholder could have two different views and support both in public hearings.

Stakeholders in the construction of new homes could be individual residents in the area, for example, trying to restrict expansion so their existing homes continue to rise in value. They could also be viewing the additional families as placing a burden on the public facilities that are already overcrowded. Stakeholder opposition to the new homes may be based on facts or the stakeholder’s perception—in either case, the opposition can be disruptive to the home construction.

Stakeholder opposition to a project is not necessarily bad. Some opposition may cause change of plans that were not well developed with a full range of facts. Project managers should assess the facts of any opposition first before rejecting a stakeholder’s position. The stakeholder may have a different approach that will assist the project in being better.

Case Questions

  1. On the basis of the project management situation,      what opposition would you take as a stakeholder in the building of      residential homes? What actions would you take to prevent the homes from      being constructed when there is insufficient water at this time to serve      the existing homes?
  2. As a project manager, what would you do to avoid      conflicting information from being “leaked” to potentially      hostile stakeholders in the community?
  3. A nuclear power plant is to be constructed in your      location. It has been approved as a safe, environmentally friendly design,      but there are rumors that it would possibly vent radiation into the      atmosphere. What action do you propose to resolve this apparent conflict      in information?
  4. Your company is proposing to build a new car that      has less pollution emitted from exhaust fumes. The car is extremely light      and would not fare well in a collision with an SUV. What type of      information would you release to counter claims of this being an unsafe      automobile?
  5. You are a candidate project manager for a sensitive      project that is expected to have many primary and secondary stakeholders.      What is the process you would use to keep these stakeholders informed?

PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Strategic Design and Implementation

By: David L. Cleland; Lewis R. Ireland

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media

Pub. Date: August 21, 2006

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