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Chapter 3 – The Project Environment

Part 2

What are the impacts on your project? – Get an overview!

All impacts on your project can be categorised under one of these umbrella terms. It’s important to keep in mind that the project is affected by the environment but also the other way round. Depending on the country where your project is implemented, the environmental impacts can be more or less extensive.

These are the key terms you have to think about, when you’re evaluating the project environment.

Letter Impact What you should think of
P Political
– political framework
Which "powerhouses" do you have to take into consideration? Are there conflicts of interests? This environmental point means governmental as well as company's internal politics.
E Economic
– economic framework
Are there economic constraints? Important economic interests? Competitors? Do seasonal or cyclical fluctuations have an impact on the project’s goals?
S Social
– social framework
Is the project subject to ethical or moral constraints? Do you have to take the sentiments or emotions of people affected by the project into account?
T Technological
– technological framework
Do technical innovations have to be integrated in the project? Are these technologies controlled and tested? Do you have to consider trade mark rights or licenses?
L Legal
– legal framework
What is the legal framework? Are there laws and regulations which apply to your project?
E Ecological
– ecological framework
Will your project pollute the environment? Do you have to consider environmental regulations or restrictions? Do you need professional assistance in any of these areas? How can you deal with constraints? Are there aspects that make it impossible to implement your project? If so, how can you verify the problems and how can you terminate the project?

According to your environmental analysis you can work out an impact analysis:

  • Where are the opportunites and threats of your project?
  • To what extent do they affect your project?

On that basis you can design a marketing concept for all involved parties. This should point out the advantages and the goal of your project.

How to communicate within the project environment?

Now that you know how to analyse the environment, you have to think about the communication within it. Therefore, you have three possible levels of involvement. You can control your environment via the

  • participative,
  • discursive,
  • repressive approach.

If you choose the participative approach, you treat all parties concerned with your project as partners and involve them actively in your project. The participation within this approach ranges from informing and communicating up to the involvement in the decision-making-process.

When you apply the discursive approach, you reconcile the interests of the different affected parties. In this case, you as a project manager, should use conflict management and negotiating methods.

In the repressive approach the environment is only apparently involved. You make decisions on your own. Of course, affected people won’t be happy with this approach and there are only a few cases where this approach can be necessary (e.g. the planned merger of organisations).

Irrespective of which approach you choose, communication within the project team and with the stakeholders is indispensable! You will learn how to handle stakeholders properly in the next chapter.

How the story ends…

After writing down all impacts on his project, Dr. Rogers begins to rate the different effects. Some of them are positive but there are also some threats to his project. He considers how to handle those threats and realises something interesting: there are mostly people involved.

He recognises that he has to deal with the people within his project in order to ensure a successful project completion.