Assess the Environment
Who are the relevant stakeholders?
Who are the most important stakeholders?
Where does the power lie?
Whose actions will impact the project most (Negative or Positive)?
Identify the Goals/Needs of the Stakeholders and Sponsor
What are the stakeholder's/sponsor's work and/or organizational motivations?
What are their psychological motivations?
What is their overt motivation?
What is their hidden agenda?
What are your strengths and weaknesses as you perceive them?
How are you perceived by others?
What are your personal values related to your workplace?
How can you compensate for your weaknesses (actual and perceived)?
Define the Problems
What are all the relevant facts?
What are the underlying assumptions (both True and False)?
What is Reality?
Develop Solutions that Work
Avoid premature solutions that don't account for the four steps above
Obtain user buy-in to the solution
Obtain Sponsor buy-in to the solution
Test and Refine the Solutions
Initial solutions are tough and usually difficult to sell
Continually refine and test your solution
Get sign-off from all relevant stakeholders and your sponsor
PROJECT MANAGEMENT FACT
A solution that does not take the realities of the political environment into account will fail. Don't be naive when it comes to internal politics.