Good stakeholder management is essential to the success of a project.
If you take the time to properly involve and structure your stakeholder group, all stakeholders will agree on their respective roles, influence and duties, and how these fit into the bigger picture.
This article presents tactics that project managers can use to implement a solid stakeholder management strategy and include internal and external stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.
Stakeholder management: what is it ?
The process of locating, assessing, interacting with and supervising stakeholders in order to bring a project to fruition is known as stakeholder management. It’s about finding ways to exceed their expectations and understand their interests.
- Determine: Discover who will be involved in the project as a stakeholder.
- Examine: Analyze the function of each stakeholder. What actions will they undertake as part of the project? What is their reason for participating in the project, and what do they hope to gain from it?
- Participate: Meet the stakeholders, give an overview of your project strategy and explain how you’ll stay in touch with them throughout the project. Do your best to build trust and give them the assurance that you’ll be there for them throughout the journey – you’ll need it later!
- Control: Communicate with stakeholders throughout the project, report on progress and take note of hazards or obstacles before they become major problems. Transparency and clarity are essential!
Why is stakeholder management essential ?
Stakeholder management plans must be in place for projects to be successful, as they :
- ensure that everyone working on the project is aware of their respective roles and duties.
- define communication expectations with other project team members, and what to expect at each stage. This helps avoid problems or disagreements before they arise, and keeps everyone on track.
- set the standard for future communication on the project as a whole.
- give internal stakeholders a voice and a sense of responsibility. For the best possible result, this may encourage team members to work together.
Any strategy developed by project managers must be thorough, and must allow internal stakeholders to express themselves and take responsibility. To achieve the best possible result, this may encourage team members to work together.
11 stakeholder management techniques
1. Identify the parties involved
The first step in the stakeholder management process is to identify the project’s stakeholders, their responsibilities and interests. This enables all parties concerned to participate in project decision-making. All you control is what you’re aware of! This is the initial phase in the development of a practical stakeholder map that will guide your stakeholder management throughout the project.
2. Conduct in-depth stakeholder research
Understanding the different categories of stakeholders, their interests and how they will be affected by the conclusion of the project is crucial to project management. They can use this information to develop plans that will satisfy stakeholders.
In order to assess how to work and interact with your stakeholders most effectively, you need to understand what motivates each of them. Let’s say your stakeholder analysis reveals that you have a slow-moving person who values people. In this case, you need to focus on positive, people-oriented updates, alongside project data, to satisfy their demands and give the impression that the project is being approached from their point of view.
In general, simply find out whether someone is more task-oriented or people-oriented.
In addition, take note of their questions and the way they communicate. Talking about deadlines and extra effort indicates they’re probably task-oriented. They’re most likely people-focused if they talk about maintaining a sustainable work pace and ensuring that individuals have the resources they need to thrive.
3. Include stakeholders
Stakeholder participation is essential to the success of a project, as is stakeholder analysis. Relationships can be cultivated and trust increased by involving stakeholders in decision-making processes and keeping them informed of developments.
Influencing decision-making enables managers and stakeholders to better understand the project when they present it to their peers. Therefore, involving stakeholders in important decision-making in a planned way is an excellent way to get them on board.
4. Clearly define your objectives and goals
To set expectations from the outset and ensure that everyone is aware of what needs to be done to succeed, clear objectives need to be created at every stage of a project’s lifecycle. Stakeholders must clearly understand what is expected of them, what is not, and what happens next.
5. Establish a solid relationship with stakeholders
Establishing links is essential for effective stakeholder management. It ensures that everyone is aware of each other’s expectations and agrees with the project’s objectives. When things don’t go according to plan, your relationships with stakeholders will stand you in good stead. Build trust – it’s essential. When something serious happens, you need people to trust you.
6. Use effective communication
Successful project completion depends on keeping stakeholders at all levels informed. This means that everyone can be informed of any changes or developments as soon as they occur.
One option would be to use a capacity planning tool, or to create a shared area where all members of the project team can consult high-level, constantly-updated information. People want to know where to find the information they need, so providing up-to-date information of this kind can be crucial to a project’s success.
In addition, you can set up discussion forums or specific channels where stakeholders can communicate with each other to exchange ideas and provide answers without always going through the project manager. These channels should have an explicit policy on their use, and a moderator should be appointed to monitor discussions if necessary.
7. Consult often
Your most valuable resource is your staff, so make the most of them! All important stakeholders should be consulted regularly by project management. Before recommending anything to the team, consider talking to a stakeholder who has knowledge in a certain area of your project.
To keep stakeholders informed of the project’s progress, and to respond to any questions or problems that may arise, you can also organize frequent updates or meetings. These organized meetings encourage cooperation and enable everyone to express their ideas, voice their criticisms and, where appropriate, propose solutions.
8. Include stakeholders in decision-making
Wherever possible, stakeholders should be involved in decision-making processes, so that they feel in control of how initiatives are carried out from start to finish.
As a result, teams are able to build better relationships with stakeholders and make better-informed, more goal-oriented decisions. To help everyone get organized, informed and synchronized so they can make choices quickly, I propose an approach that presents the scenario, the context, the decision, the needs and the options.
9. Designate a project stakeholder management manager
For larger projects, it is useful to assign responsibility for stakeholder interaction to a project coordinator or support staff. Combined with an experienced project manager who can facilitate these activities, this is an excellent opportunity for a younger member of the project team to acquire exceptional project and stakeholder management skills.
10. Respond immediately to problems
It’s important to resolve any work-related or decision-making issues promptly in order to maintain positive working relationships with all parties concerned.
Take a look at what’s going on when you pick up the phone, make a video call or have a coffee! To get to the heart of the matter, ask questions. Listen carefully and think about what you can do to help everyone fall into line.
11. Adjust if necessary
Project managers know that they often have to pivot.
Situations are usually complex and unexpected; for example, if you were setting up a system and hired a new director or product manager, they may decide they need a lot more functionality! Or a key person may leave or be made redundant… Everything changes.
It is essential for the project manager to keep all stakeholders informed of developments as the project progresses. Even stakeholder requirements may change as the project progresses, so you’ll need to modify and repeat the actions and procedures you’ve implemented to develop your stakeholder management strategy in the past.
Never forget to communicate
The most effective project managers set up their teams and procedures with the needs of their stakeholders in mind. This can only be achieved by creating open channels of communication between all parties concerned.
The most crucial tactic for managing stakeholders is effective communication, which will guarantee you the opportunity to foster lasting involvement and trust.
There’s nothing like using a resource management tool to best pilot your teams and stakeholders. Try Teambook for free and advise!