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Stakeholder Management Assignment: Case Analysis of WA Schools PPP Project

Question

Task: This stakeholder management assignment is based on answering questions in regard to the Case Study of WA schools public private partnership (PPP) project.

1. Summarize the Governance problems andsuggestsolutions
2. Using Borne and Walker’s article draw a Stakeholder Circle to show the influence and power of all Stakeholders in this project. Remember to include a legend to clarify each stakeholder.
3. Using your Stakeholder Circle, Identify TWO key stakeholders, analyse their interests, influence and distance, and suggest and justify how they should be managed.

Answer

Question 1
WA schools public private partnership (PPP) project was established by a $631 million contract between the State and EduWest consortium for the construction and maintenance of 4 primary and 4 secondary schools. The project was expected to entail a variety of benefits such as lower costs for whole of life, design and construction innovation, etc. However, the project had some governance issues that needed to be taken care of.

The project has three major contract parties, Department of Education (DoE), the Strategic Projects business unit of the Department of Finance and EduWest consortium. The working relationships between the parties are sound. A steering committee fulfills the duty of providing strategic leadership and a cross-agency project control group gives direction to the parties for the advancement of the project. The DoE is in charge of the contract management process, however, the DoE’s approach to contract management is associated with some flaws in it. The DoE has employed 2 contract staff but they were employed late much after the commencement of the project. The contract management tools of the DoE were not in place for the commencement of the schools and the overseeing of the daily operations. The DoE had not devised any plan for contract management or a formal contract management manual that the staff can refer to while managing the contract (Joslin and Müller 2016, 613-626). The DoE does not have any procedure for routine checks that would inspect the level of building maintenance and other services and ensure that they meet the required standard.

The contract management team performed some inspections of the cleaning and gardening done in the schools. However, the contract management team of the DoE mostly relies on the feedback from the school officials regarding the level of service performance of the EduWest consortium. However, this can lead to faulty evaluation since the school officials have little knowledge about the specifications of the services as set by the contract (Samset and Volden 2016, 297-313). The contract established between the parties is a self-reporting contract by nature. Therefore, EduWest is required to submit reports of its own performance. However, DoE and EduWest have not yet settled on the method by which EduWest would perform the monitoring of this project. This can lead to certain discrepancies in the process.

These issues in the governance of the project can be addressed by the adoption of certain measures in the contract management process. A proper contract management plan is to be devised by the DoE that can be followed by the staff for managing the process of contract management and they can refer to this plan or manual for reporting the discrepancies in the process (Ul Musawir 2017, 1658-1672). The DoE can include cleaning and maintenance teams of its own to report on the related performance of the EduWest in the project.

Question 2
The Stakeholder Circle is a visual tool that helps the learner to identify and analyze the power and influence of the stakeholders in any project (Bourne and Walker 2005). This tool is extensively used for gaining strategic insights in project management.

PPP project of WA in stakeholder management assignment

The PPP project of WA schools is a major project for the construction of 8 schools. There are 5 major stakeholders that have been identified in the project that exert a significant amount of influence and power over the completion of the project. The major stakeholders of the projects are the DoE, the Strategic Projects business unit of the Department of Finance, EduWest consortium, the suppliers, and the student community.

  • Department of Education: The DoE is a major stakeholder of the project and has enormous power to control and manage the project. The DoE has enough influence to control the other stakeholders as it can modify the terms of the agreement and the whole project is supposed to be completed according to the terms of the agreement.
  • Strategic Projects: The Strategic Projects unit of the business of the Department of Finance is another key stakeholder in this PPP project. The Strategic Projects controls the financial aspect of the project on the part of the State and has the duty of supplying capital to EduWest consortium for the project. It is known that the financial aspect is the backbone of any project. Therefore, the Strategic Projects has enough leveraging power over the other stakeholders and has the influence to decide the course of the project.
  • EduWest Consortium: The consortium is another major stakeholder of the project as they have been given the responsibility of the construction and maintenance of the schools. The consortium has limited power compared to the above mentioned stakeholders; however, they have enough influence to decide the course of the project. The self-reporting nature of the contract has vested responsibility for monitoring and reporting the performance of the consortium over itself, which has given additional power to the firm in this whole project.
  • Suppliers: The suppliers have much limited power in the project as they mainly deal with EduWest consortium for the operations related to the project and they do not have enough power to decide the course of the project. However, they have influence that can affect the pace of the project since the procurement of the supplies is mainly dependent on the suppliers.
  • Student Community: The student community will be directly affected by the project, hence they are identified as a stakeholder in the PPP project. However, they have little to no influence in the decisions regarding the course of the project. Therefore, they are not counted as a major stakeholder in the project.

Question 3
According to the Stakeholder Circle, two key stakeholders have been identified in the project- the Department of Education (DoE) and EduWest consortium. These two stakeholders are the primary participants of the project and wield power and influence the course of the project (Bourne 2006).

  • Department of Education: The DoE is the major stakeholder in the project and has a high degree of interest in the project as the responsibility of the regulation and contact management of the project is vested upon the DoE. The primary task of the DoE is to ensure that the consortium is doing its duty properly and checking that the expected level of performance and quality is being met. The DoE is able to exert enough influence over the other stakeholders and is authorized to do so for the successful completion of the project. Therefore, it is seen that the DoE is able to decide the course of the project and consequently the distance of the DoE is very low as compared to the other stakeholders. Therefore, the DoE is able to occupy a huge position in the Stakeholder Circle as shown in the above figure.
  • EduWest Consortium: The EduWest consortium is the key stakeholder in the project as they are the participant that has the duty for the completion of the construction of the schools and their maintenance. The consortium is expected to deliver the project within a stipulated time and must uphold the values and standard of services according to the agreement reached between them and the State. The key interests of the firm are the amount of money they would receive for the project that is the $ 631 million revenue of the project. The firm has a certain amount of influence as the project work is carried on by them and the pace of the project is decided by them. However the suppliers wield influence over the firm for the delivery of the procured supplies for the project. Therefore, the consortium has a medium distance in the Stakeholder Circle as shown in the given figure.

The key stakeholders of the project must be managed in a diligent way to ensure the successful completion of the project within the stipulated time. The DoE must improve its contract management process since the lack of proper contract management can result in a low quality of work in the PPP project. The DoE must compile a team of cleaning and management officials that would look into the cleaning and management aspects of the newly constructed schools. The Strategic Projects unit must be coordinated properly by the DoE as the financial dues of the project are cleared by the unit and any delay in doing so can significantly derail the project from completion within the allotted time. Moreover, the DoE and EduWest consortium must arrange a meeting to decide on the methods that the consortium can deploy to monitor and measure its performance and report it to the DoE and Strategic Projects unit. The parties must revisit the claws of the agreement and decide for any modifications that can be brought about in them (Bourne 2016, 431-438). The DoE must set a fixed time for the evaluation of the performance of the consortium after the evaluation of the self-reporting document of EduWest.

References
Bourne, Lynda. "Project relationships and the stakeholder circle." In PMI Research Conference. Montreal Canada, PMI. 2006.

Bourne, Lynda. "Targeted communication: The key to effective stakeholder engagement." Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 226 (2016): 431-438.

Bourne, Lynda, and Derek HT Walker. "Visualising and mapping stakeholder influence." Management decision (2005).

Joslin, Robert, and Ralf Müller. "The relationship between project governance and project success." International journal of project management 34, no. 4 (2016): 613-626.

Samset, Knut, and Gro Holst Volden. "Front-end definition of projects: Ten paradoxes and some reflections regarding project management and project governance." International Journal of Project Management 34, no. 2 (2016): 297-313.

Ul Musawir, Ata, Carlos Eduardo Martins Serra, Ofer Zwikael, and Imran Ali. "Project governance, benefit management, and project success: Towards a framework for supporting organizational strategy implementation." International Journal of Project Management 35, no. 8 (2017): 1658-1672.

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