Major projects and particularly community engagement and stakeholder management can feel just like a downhill track – smooth then suddenly rough, obscured corners, hidden obstacles, jumps, steep sections you’re not sure how to tackle and the knowledge that one mistake can send you head over your handlebars.
Community investment is added-value investment, don’t confuse it with a project's obligation to mitigate or compensate local communities for environmental and social impacts caused by the project. These issues need to be addressed separately. Nevertheless, the two are interrelated components of a holistic approach for managing community relationships on a project.
You’ve worked on a project for months. So far, you’ve hit every deadline and you’re within budget. You’re at the last milestone, ready to finish.
Surprise! There’s an unforeseen delay, costing you time and money you can’t afford to lose!
We're not suggesting it's that easy. But the power of storytelling throughout project planning (and every phase of the project) should not be taken lightly.
As a project manager, your communication skills are of paramount importance. Telling stories is an extension of those skills – using examples of previous experiences, of lessons learnt, of wisdom gleaned from working in the industry. Telling stories in the planning phase can help to overcome stakeholder differences, to bond a team together, to arrive at successful solutions and develop long, mutually beneficial relationships. And hopefully, lead you to a happy project ending.
The oil and gas industry has had a varied relationship with stakeholders in the past, and that means winning hearts and minds has become key to projects having the best chance of success. How can the industry meet this challenge?
Traditionally considered a ‘soft’ expense in project delivery, there can be a misconception that communications and engagement in big infrastructure amount to door-knocking and party planning. Those of us who do it day-in and -out know it requires strategy, planning, tools and adherence to an often-onerous client contract.
For most infrastructure projects, the government is the client or major project sponsor. The government will set the stakeholder expectations, including everything from when and where it would like to receive information, to how projects should be positioned relevant to them.
People think that innovation has to be something big and technology-driven, it needs to be really disruptive. For me, innovation is just continuously improving and trying to do things faster. So that doesn’t need to be anything ground-breaking, it just actually could be de-hassling someone or helping get the best out of that person’s skills.