Bandai Pippin’s project was a major failure that forced the management of Apple Inc to terminate it to avoid further financial loss. The failure is largely attributed to poor initial market research, especially in terms of pricing. However, it is important to appreciate that several stakeholders were interested in this project, and as such, they need to be adequately informed about specific issues. Curran (2013) warns that one of the reasons that often make projects fail to achieve the targeted goals is inadequate information. Achieving success in a project requires all stakeholders to act in a consistent manner and with a clear focus on what needs to be achieved. It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that relevant information is available to various stakeholders within the right time using available channels to enhance the success rates of a project. In this section, it will be important to look at the communication needs of various stakeholders and strategies that should have been used to make the message available to them.
Managing the Interest of the Stakeholders
According to Kloppenborg (2015), when undertaking any project, it is important to understand the needs, expectations, interests, and capabilities of various stakeholders to influence the outcome. It is dangerous to disregard some stakeholders as being less important or inconsequential in the project because their actions may have a ripple effect on the outcome of the project. Not all stakeholders can indeed be given some preferential treatment in a project because of time and resource limitations. That is why it is appropriate to rank them in terms of their interest and influence on the project. The stakeholders having high interest and high influence on the project should be given priority when defining communication strategy. Their actions may have a significant impact on the outcome of the project. As Wesley and Barczak (2016) observe, the project manager should ensure that these high-stake individuals are always convinced of the actions and decisions made in the project. They should always be in support of the steps made in the project. On the other hand, the less influential stakeholders with less interest in the project should be informed through platforms such as annual company publications. Table 1 below is a summary of the stakeholders involved, their role in the project, the interest and influence, the management strategy that the project manager should use, their communication needs, and the communication strategy that should be used.
Table 1: Summary of Communication Needs and Strategies.
|Stakeholders||Role||Interest||Influence||Management Strategy||Communication Requirements||Communication Strategy|
|Management Unit||Approval of project, provision of funds, and proposing necessary changes in line with prevailing forces||High||High||Keeping them convinced of the steps in the project by always seeking their opinion and explaining the milestones in the project. These managers should be ready to support the project even when it faces challenges.||The management unit requires constant updates about the progress of the project (Hynes, 2015). They need to be informed about every major milestone in the project and success achieved.||Regular face-to-face communication between the project manager and the top managers (chief executive officer, chief financial officer, marketing director, and operations director)|
|Shareholders||Their role is bestowed on the board of directors.||High||Medium||They need to be enlightened about the benefits of the project. They should be made to understand the impact of the project on the finances of the company and how it may influence future successes (Strausbaugh, 2014). The project manager will rely on the chief executive officer to convince them about the benefits of the project.||The shareholders (through the board of directors) need to know about the financial consequences of the project. They need to know how much will be invested in the project and the returns expected over a specific period. Of interest to them is hoe the project will increase value for the shareholders’ investment.||In most of the cases, the communication strategy will be to pass relevant messages through the chief executive officer and other top managers. However, in special cases, the project manager may be summoned by the board of directors to give an explanation on specific issues on the project.|
|Employees||Undertaking specific project activities and informing the project manager of the progress made||High||High||Directing them on various project-related activities. They should remain motivated and committed to their work. That can be achieved by maintaining effective information flow within the firm.||They require information about what they need to do in the entire project. They need supervisory information in the tasks assigned to them.||Regular communication through existing channels, especially the line managers/supervisors responsible for specific responsibilities within the project|
|Customers||Purchasing the product and giving feedback||High||Medium||Providing them with quality products at reasonable prices, and at the right time and place. The firm will provide channels through which customers can provide feedback about the product, pricing, and any other relevant information needed to improve delivery.||They need information about the product and how it is unique compared with that of the rival products (Kasper & Kellerman, 2014). They also need to know how to access the product, its price, and how to use it.||Proper communication through mass and social media platforms. The promotional messages will focus on providing the necessary information about the product, pricing, and places where customers can make their purchases.|
|Suppliers||Provision of raw materials and informing the company of relevant changes in the suppliers||Medium||Medium||Prompt payment for their products upon delivery or as per the existing terms. The suppliers should be informed about the changing needs in terms of quality and quantity delivered per given period.||They need to be informed about the specific quality and quantity of the raw materials they need to make available. The suppliers should be informed about the right time and means of availing the materials.||Direct communication through letters and phone calls about the products needed, a time when they should be delivered, quality and quantity requirements, and any other relevant information.|
|Government||Provision of regulatory policies||Low||Low||Regular provision of relevant information. The firm will be ready to allow government officials to conduct any relevant investigation on the products offered or the premises where they are manufactured when necessary as provided for by the law.||The government may need information about revenues for purposes of tax. It may require information about product quality to ensure that consumers are protected from any form of exploitation.||The revenue information will be made available to the government through annual financial publications. Information can also be provided directly upon special request by any government department.|
The table above has identified different stakeholders who are relevant in one way or the other in this project. As shown in the table, some of these stakeholders are very influential while others are not. Some of them have a significant interest in the project while others do not. The project manager will have to classify each of these stakeholders and come up with an appropriate way of managing their interests. The table outlines the needs and expectations of each of these stakeholders and how they can be managed to ensure that they all feel satisfied. It is a guideline for the project manager that would help in improving the chances of success.
Bandai Pippin project was one of the major initiatives that were taken by Apple Inc to enable it to make an emphatic entry into the gaming console market. Before this initiative, the company had avoided the gaming industry completely. However, it realized that there was a massive opportunity in this market worth exploiting. However, the project was a massive failure and it was terminated after just one year of operation. In this paper, relevant stakeholders have been identified and their role, interest, and influence in the project outlined. The table also explains the management strategy that should be used when handling each of these stakeholders. It identifies the communication needs and the approaches necessary in meeting these needs. It is possible that if the project manager and the team responsible for this project were to follow the guidelines provided for in the table, then the outcome of the project would have been different. The management would have made timely adjustments that would have resulted in successful entry into this market.
Curran, C. (2013). The anticipation of converging industries: A concept applied to nutraceuticals and functional foods. New York, NY: Springer.
Hynes, G. E. (2015). Managerial communication: Strategies and applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Kasper, G., & Kellerman, E. (2014). Communication strategies: Psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives. London, UK: Taylor & Francis Group.
Kloppenborg, J. (2015). Contemporary project management: Organize, plan, perform. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Strausbaugh, K. (2014). Advertising campaign strategy: A guide to marketing communication plans. Melbourne, Australia: South-Western.
Wesley, D., & Barczak, G. (2016). Innovation and marketing in the video game industry: Avoiding the performance trap. London, UK: Routledge.