Building better project plans/working with busy stakeholders

Hi all - 

I have recently moved from developing frontline training to developing training for leaders/management, and my current Project Plan template is much too long/too much information for my stakeholders (who are typically directors/VPs with little time to read through multiple pages of information).

I need something that details roles/responsibilities clearly and requires signoff - sort of a cross between a contract and a project plan, ideally 1 page.

Also, does anyone have experience working with stakeholders at this level? My company isn't a startup, but we have a startup mentality and staffing (especially at the top) is stretched pretty thin. Managing stakeholder expectations is challenging,  so any advice helps! Thank you. 

2 Replies
john faulkes

I have experience with this and can help a little.

Are you training these VPs or their staff? But either way if the subject matter of the training is not within their direct functional remit (for example if they are commercial execs and the training is about leader skills or time management), then as you say they are not going to be interested in your project plan for it.

A much simpler description or roles responsibilities (one page as you say) might be useful but it should really be a record of what has been agreed rather than a device for gaining agreement. The way to gain credibility with senior stakeholders is to listen to them. I would honestly recommend a first meet where you ask them simply to tell you more about what they do and the challenges they face. There should be a then be a conversation based around questions: 'What skills do your people need?' ; 'Would you like to participate in <whatever you offer>?'; 'This is what I need from you to do that - are you OK with that?'

A one pager could then have a few simple sections: Overall objectives (should relate to learner outcomes but also business benefits) ;  Training that is planned ; Responsibilities of trainers ; Responsibilities of learners ; Responsibilities of senior managers ; Follow up plans. Keep it straightforward and make it as crystal clear as you can.

Leigh S

Thanks John! I have had an initial meeting - which I followed up with my usual (dense) project plan that covered the topics/addressed the needs as they explained them to me, but the plan itself is just too long. Creating a standard list of questions to ask at each meeting might be really helpful though!