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Good Stakeholder Communication in Action

Whether you like it or not, communication is at the heart of most jobs, in varying degrees. In a post for A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, Elizabeth Harrin discusses some of the techniques she has perfected throughout the years to make stakeholder communication successful.

Use Every Channel Available

Sometimes, a good ole fashioned pen and paper can do just the trick to successfully communicate. For instance, a handwritten note goes a long way toward showing the company that you went the extra mile to wish them a happy holiday. But email is, of course, the cornerstone of communication in the modern business world. This form is especially beneficial when you are working with people from different time zones, because you never have to coordinate times for virtual meetings or worry about a message never being received. All the same, when possible Harrin enjoys using Skype, as it enables a more collaborative approach to completing work.

Keeping stakeholders in the loop is essential to a project’s success, but stakeholders do not need to be given the same level of detail as others involved. For example, the team working on the project should receive all of the pertinent information and continuously get updates about all these details, but stakeholders do not need such a finite look into the project’s workings. Senior management does not need information at this level either, but their position warrants more details than the stakeholders. Harrin uses a combination of emails, Word documents, spreadsheets, and templates to most completely convey her reporting. If you decide to use a project management software tool to communicate though, just make sure stakeholders understand how to use the technology first.

When problems arise, it is vital to report them as quickly as possible. Using a simple weekly meeting creates the perfect platform to inform people of any issues that have come up, and to even brainstorm solutions:

Weekly meetings provide an informal opportunity to raise problems, perhaps before they’ve even made it on to the issue log. It’s also an opportunity to remind stakeholders about what is coming up and to set their expectations. Meeting people regularly builds confidence and credibility – two things that can be in short supply at the beginning of a project with a new team, so anything I can do to get those quickly is good.

When it comes to communication, it is important to simply engage in it, no matter how you do it. You can read the original post here: http://www.girlsguidetopm.com/2016/01/how-i-do-it-stakeholder-communication/

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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