Stakeholder satisfaction is the ultimate success indicator of a project, along with the main objective of the project (Watt, 2014). If a project provides benefits to the key stakeholders, it will be considered successful. However, a project usually has various stakeholders, and their expectations rarely coincide. If a stakeholder has enough power to influence a project, he can force the project to align with his expectations or even halt the project (Nieto-Rodriguez, 2021). This is what happened in the project LAMP-H (Lighter Amphibian Heavy-lift), which was established by the Department of Defense (DoD).
This article will examine the stakeholders’ map of the LAMP-H project, before and after the establishment of the Program Executive Office. The article will also perform the stakeholders’ influence analysis, determining which stakeholders possess the potential for threat and which possess the potential for cooperation, as well as the strategy adopted to address their expectations. In the end, the article will conclude the stakeholders’ influence analysis.
The Project Stakeholders before the Implementation of the Program Executive Officer
Project stakeholders are defined as all parties, individuals, or groups, who have an active stake in the project and can potentially affect the project’s development positively or negatively (Pinto, 2019). Various parties have a stake in the LAMP-H project, before and after the implementation of the program executive officer (PEO), including the Watercraft R&D center, the Troop Support Command department, the Army Materiel Command, the T-School, and the Department of Army. There are also internal stakeholders in terms of the project, including the project manager and the team that will execute the project. All of these stakeholders have a stake and can influence the project.
LAMP-H Stakeholders’ Influence Analysis
Stakeholder analysis is a useful tool to help resolve some of the complicated conflicts between parties through the planned creation and introduction of any new project (Pinto, 2019). In this case study, all of the stakeholders in the LAMP-H project tried to provide input and considered themselves worthy of making decisions (Sutterfield et al., 2006). Each had an opinion that may conflict with the opinion of another. The project struggled to show any progress due to this issue.
Prior to the hiring of the PEO, the reporting line involved project managers, Troop Support Command, Army Material Command, and the Department of Army at the top (Sutterfield et al., 2006). Each has its own influence that may provide potential threats or potential cooperation. The Troop Support Command tried to interfere with the specification of the LAMP-H. The Army Materiel Command tried to influence the project in terms of power, construction quality, and mechanisms of the LAMP-H. The design was changed frequently since no party have solid power to make a decision.
Potential for Threat or Cooperation, and Strategy Adopted
Due to various stakeholders driving to influence the project, the potential threat of failure had risen. A stakeholder’s expectation conflicts with other stakeholders’ expectations, and they may delay their proposals until their suggestion is accepted. One of the issues is that there is no single role that has absolute decision-making power. This is a potential for threat to the project and the project management should develop a strategy to address this threat.
If these influences from every stakeholder can be managed well and curated by a higher role in decision-making, then the potential for cooperation can arise. Instead of forcing their influences, each stakeholder can provide logical and well-documented suggestions for the LAMP-H project. For example, instead of forcing requirements of speed, weight capacity, and maneuverability, the stakeholders can collaborate on creating the suggestion that can become a valuable input, not a strict command that must be obliged. They can even come up with various types of amphibians that may meet their expectation while also accommodating other stakeholders’ expectations.
Structural intervention may become a necessary solution. The project desperately requires a senior decision maker that can collect input, but will not waver to strong influences of the department. This is how the Program Executive Officer (PEO) was assigned.
Changes in the LAMP-H Stakeholders’ Map and the Influence Analysis after the PEO assigned
After the project was approved as a viable project, there are significant changes in the senior leadership. A Program Executive Officer (PEO) was established and filled by a senior Department of Army staff member with no acquisition experience. Several PEO positions were assigned throughout the Department of Army to provide an executive sponsor for each program.
Since there are changes in the structure, the project managers were shifted from under the Troop Support Command, to become the authority of the new PEO. The PEOs should report directly to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASARDA). In practice, this structure would make the PEOs responsible for all of the projects, while the Army Materiel Command would no longer have any control of the project and could no longer take funds from the project.
With the PEO in charge, fewer people can drive their influence in the decision-making process. It can greatly simplify the process. However, while it seemed like a sound solution, it was not effective for the project. The primary reasoning for this action was to simplify the operation. Apparently, the project had smooth progress for a while, until the PEO started to show less confidence in the project. The limited experience of the PEO added to the prior issues. The PEO tends to delay important decision points that would hinder any progress (Sutterfield et al., 2006). Therefore, many deadlines were missed, many tasks were left undone, and the developers’ requests took a significantly longer time to be approved than necessary. In the end, due to the stagnancy of the project, the LAMP-H project was terminated after spending 15 years and $5 million in development resources (Sutterfield et al., 2006), while the PEO moved on to another project.
The LAMP-H project had a complicated set of stakeholders that can infer their influence on the project manager. Stakeholders’ influence analysis can be utilized to describe and analyze the issue and look for the reason for its failure. The analysis supported the structural intervention strategy, by assigning a Program Executive Officer (PEO) that can take the decision-making role. However, the solution is not sufficient to bring the project to success. The PEO’s lack of experience in managing a project might be one of the major issues that lead to the termination of the project.
References Nieto-Rodriguez, A. (2021). Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook: How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects (HBR Handbooks). Harvard Business Review Press. Pinto, J. K. (2019). Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage, Global Edition. Pearson. Sutterfield, J. S., Friday-Stroud, S. S., & Shivers-Blackwell, S. L., (2006). A Case Study of Project and Stakeholder Management Failures: Lessons Learned. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/9250717/A_CASE_STUDY_OF_PROJECT_AND_ST AKEHOLDER_MANAGEMENT_FAILURES_LESSONS_LEARNED Watt, A. (2014). Project Management. BCcampus Open Textbook project. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/projectmanagement/