When you think you have all the information necessary to form a project agreement letter, conduct a meeting of the key stakeholders to establish consensus. This meeting could take from half a day to two days, depending on the complexity of the issues involved.
The agenda items are bulleted below. Tips for conducting each agenda item appear below the item.
We suggest that the PI facilitator or key client describe the initial meeting and requests, to set the stage for the rest of the agenda.
This short review may be printed and distributed. As long as the primary client has been consulted during the initial series of meetings, there should not be any surprises at this project agreement meeting.
As part of this summary, the PI facilitator should point out areas of agreement, areas of disagreement and points where there are mixed messages. The PI facilitator should then lead a discussion of themes, especially in those areas where there may be disagreement or contradictory messages from different key stakeholders. The purpose of this discussion is to resolve these disagreements if possible, or to establish whether the project can move forward in spite of certain areas of disagreement.
This requires diplomacy on the part of the PI facilitator, since some areas of disagreement may involve the primary client. For example, the primary client may think there is greater agreement among stakeholders or donors than there actually is, or may prioritize performance improvement in areas that others see as marginal. These issues need to be addressed tactfully and directly. We suggest that potentially sensitive issues be discussed with the primary client before the meeting, since it is better for the PI leader to handle negative reactions before rather than during a meeting.
The PI facilitator should lead a discussion that allows participants to react to this summary of the desired improved or new performance. This discussion need not end in complete agreement at this point, because the data gathered during the PNA will help to complete the picture and make the performance issues more precise. The PNA results may also cause people to change their positions and reach consensus.
At this point, stakeholders should generally agree about an acceptable level of performance improvement. Exact measurements will be established during the Describe Actual Performance stage.
The facilitator keeps careful track of the agreements reached during these discussions, including the agreements to table certain decisions.
MEETING OUTPUT: A short project agreement letter (or similar document) that captures agreement on the performance issue(s) being addressed, the initial draft of the desired new or improved performance, and a description of next steps.
The meeting output should be produced as soon as possible after the meeting and distributed immediately. If people have questions or changes, they should be able to contact the PI leader to clarify and make changes (if appropriate).