Involvement of key stakeholders from the outset is critical to project success, said Ruth Sacks, Turner & Townsend.
In her talk, 'How blank is the paper?', Ruth said the involvment process should start at the bidding stage and lead to questions being asked of why the project is being designed and what solutions are stakeholders/sponsors looking for.
"People in projects are all different. The key is to try and unpick who people are and develop relations to drive project through to success, " she said.
Getting close to key stakeholders is one way of holding the project together. But also pays to be aware of different tensions between organistations and needs of other stakeholders.
This requires a firm understanding of inside/outside influences and things like previous experience, budgetary constraints, exisiting consultants and experience of pm.
Feedback from delegates highlighted a lack of understanding by key stakeholders and sponsors, which ultimatley threatened the ability to deliver a project successfully. In answer to the issue, it was suggested that key players should be mentored and educated in order to fill the "vacuum below sponsor level".