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On November 5th, the Modis team welcomed 19 PMI Belgium Chapter members for the Satellite event entitled “Better together? On how to make or break multi-stakeholder collaborations”.  The event was held at their Temse office.  Modis is a consultancy firm in the field of life sciences, engineering and IT. 

After enjoying our dinner (a selection of delicious sandwiches offered by Modis) with a beer, Modis gave a quick introduction about the company and immediately asked us what pops into our mind when talking about a multi-stakeholder collaboration. We all know that proper stakeholder management is crucial when managing large projects, for example the research for developing a medicine for a global disease. A lot of stakeholders are involved and need to be engaged at the right time. Soon it became clear why so many projects fail and need an experienced project manager.

The concept of this evening was an interactive workshop, so members of PMI Belgium Chapter were divided into three groups of around six people and had to take the lead. Each group started brainstorming what they thought could make or break a multi-stakeholder collaboration. Then common themes were identified using the Affinity Grouping method and all ideas were organized into key challenges. Then each group took one theme and had to think about possible solutions using an Impact Effort Matrix and had to discuss their solutions in front of all attendees.
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All three groups discussed the more human aspects of project management. Team dynamics and building trust was a topic that frequently came back and was heavily discussed. There are no proven rules or formulas to build trust; trust needs to grow and has to be earned. It is a result of a lot of actions and depends on the project. What works in one project, may be a dealbreaker in another project. These decisions are the responsibility of the project manager. At the same time, this is what makes our profession interesting every day.

Reporting back on the individual groups’ outcomes concluded the formal part of the event, after which all participants enjoyed further discussions on this topic (and beyond) and networking. Overall, there was great participation throughout, with many opportunities for interaction and sharing of experiences, which were much appreciated by both participants and the organizing team.

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We sincerely thank MODIS for their warm welcome, kind hospitality and a very interesting and dynamic workshop!

Tim De Ryck