These groups provide forums for identified stakeholders to have input into a project. The group may already exist, have an indefinite life span or may continue for the life of the project. Stakeholders may be internal to the agency or external people and organisations. Therefore, the stakeholder advisory groups should be differentiated between users of the project outcome that will have substantial input on user requirements and other internal and external stakeholder groups that need to be informed or have a different level of input into the project. Stakeholder consultation is a key component of communication and consultation in the risk management standard.
Stakeholder advisory groups can provide an important mechanism for stakeholder management and should be established and managed in a way that creates effective engagement. This may require that the meetings are chaired by the Sponsor or the Project Director.
The purpose of this group is to provide advice on stakeholder requirements/issues. This group may be engaged or tasked by either the project steering committee or the project manager during the life of the project. The composition of the stakeholder community for the project and stakeholder management requirements are likely to change as the project moves through its lifecycle: stakeholder reviews will need to be factored into the project’s schedule and delivery plan. Stakeholders may be invited to participate but often they will not report to the organisation and cannot be forced to participate. The Stakeholder Advisory Group may occasionally be represented on, or called to support, the steering committee.
Reference groups consist of people with the requisite skills to address particular project issues. One such group might be a general reference group as advised by the Asset Manager or may consist of a collection of people who are Subject Matter Experts to address a particular set of issues. They include:
· information technology specialists who define and manage the technological aspects of the project;
· representatives employed by stakeholders to ensure their interests are represented and managed;
· legal advisers who assist in the development and review of the contractual documentation; and
· auditors who ensure compliance with internal and external requirements.
The reference group is specifically tasked by the project steering committee or the project director/manager. Their responsibilities may include:
· providing specialist input; for example, the appropriate detail for a strategic design, engineering, operational design or procurement advice;
· quality assurance during the project implementation; and
· assurance of the general direction of the project so it meets operational and business objectives during the implementation.
Working groups consist of small specialist groups dedicated to producing a well-defined output within a specific timeframe. A working group has no life beyond the delivery of that output. Working groups generally involve one or more members of a project team to support a defined activity and may report to the project steering committee or project manager as required.