The Influence of Stakeholder Management on the Successful Implementation of Agile Project Management Methodology in Mega-Events Projects

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Mega-events bring challenges of different scale and complexities, and many scholars demanded flexible strategies and plans in managing hallmark events giving their complexity and unpredictability. Conventional methods in managing projects are considered unqualified and ill-prepared to handle these dynamic settings. Agile methodologies have acquired considerable vogue, significant interest and growing attention from the public as well as industries. The possibilities it brings are tremendous, and its benefits and values are well manifested and potentially more to offer in the other fields than software. Nowadays, agile has surpassed the small scale projects, and recently, many companies are keener to apply it on organisational level and large scale projects. This research is geared toward exploring the different characteristics that support and promote agile project management methodology within the context of mega-events. It will also investigate from the stakeholder perspective, how this application can be influenced and boosted through effective management of stakeholders. A conceptual framework developed from the thorough and critical review of the literature is proposed to determine the influence the effective stakeholder management framework (adopted after Yang et al. 2009) has on these ‘scaled’ agile characteristics and eventually on agile implementation in mega-events. The framework was applied in an exploratory survey with experienced people from diverse mega-events environments. The data gathered were processed via specialised software packages and thoroughly analysed against statistical standards. Due to the scarcity of scholarly papers that tackle mega-events from a project management perspective, and the modernity and novelty of agile methodology and its confined application within information technology and software development sectors, it was quite a challenge to find literature that explored this methodology in megaprojects. Hence, a broader approach in reviewing the scholarships was followed. Non-IT industries focusing primarily on large-sized organisations, construction sectors, enterprise-level agility and programme/ portfolio management levels (agile-at-scale) were investigated. The literature revealed of eleven peculiar features of agile in the mega-events context covering the following dimensions; project output & business values, customer involvement, communication and transparency, planning approach, team structure, leadership and culture, organisation structure, governance, learning & coaching, and hybrid method. The adopted framework for stakeholder management identified fifteen factors bundled into four groups; namely, information inputs, stakeholder estimate, decision making and stakeholder sustainable support. All stakeholder factors have proved evident influence on the agile characteristics. The study suggested the comprehension of all these factors to achieve an optimum influence. It also proposes – given the level of influence of these factors – classifying “information inputs” and “stakeholder estimate” as primary factors and “decision making” and “stakeholder sustainable support” and secondary. The study ends with a set of recommendations concluded from the study's outcomes and the literature review. These propositions mainly target organisations and decision makers within the mega-events industry and agile practitioners to shape the path forward in managing projects in mega-events.
agile project management, stakeholder management, mega-events projects