Stakeholder management is crucial in establishing a strong working relationship with the customer, in the experience of Nigel Buxton, senior CMC consultant. Nigel explained that the secret to good stakeholder management is treating people as individuals. “You can’t make assumptions about people – you have to get to know everyone and build a rapport. It’s very much about soft skills.”
For example, Nigel managed a £1M+ project recently to deliver a bespoke business continuity fallback accommodation for a government agency, for which he wrote the business case and obtained approval for the project. By identifying and then liaising with all major stakeholders, he confirmed and collated the business requirements, managing the project through complete lifecycle including overseeing procurement and budget spend. Reporting to the project board and liaising with the organisation’s Centre of Excellence ensured the health of the project, and adherence to internal project policy and procedures.
In his current role working for a confidential government agency Nigel works with a range of stakeholders across the UK. To strengthen ties, Nigel recently travelled from his London site to Scotland for the day: “I need to take time to meet people and listen to them, rather than just give them my agenda. Seeing people in the flesh and talking to them is key to successful delivery, especially from a business continuity view.”
Nigel’s expertise in the PPM methodologies of Prince2 and MSP has provided a foundation for his stakeholder management: “I’ve worked on a range of projects and delivered business change using Prince2 and MSP, but good people skills and change management processes have been particularly useful.
“On projects where some customers don’t initially see the need for change, it can be challenging. However, building awareness and desire using the ADKAR tool as advocated by Prosci® helps achieve the desired results.”
Nigel’s background of 20 years’ operational experience in the RAF helped develop his leadership abilities and temperament to work with international partners, showing tact and ability to communicate effectively in high-pressure situations. “I developed a thorough attention to detail in the RAF,” Nigel explains, “and experience working in multinational coalitions in the Middle East facing the unique challenges they brought, which has a direct correlation to the stakeholder management work I do now.”
CMC was an attractive career option to Nigel after the RAF: “They’re a friendly team and available to listen and engage where necessary. CMC help develop your career, they’re customer-facing and they have a great back-office team who support you.”
Outside of work, Nigel is a keen marathon runner. “I started running four years ago as a way to keep fit – I suppose you could say it was a mid-life crisis! My personal best for the marathon is 3:11:04, which qualifies me for the ‘good for age’ start in the London marathon.” Before his next marathon, however, Nigel is competing in the London triathlon, comprising of a 1500m swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run. Good luck!