Project Management

5 Steps for Better Stakeholder Management

Managing stakeholder expectations is rife with complications. Everyone has differing opinions, schedules, and preferred ways of communication. In a post for A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, Elizabeth Harrin lays out a simple process to follow to make stakeholder management a successful endeavor. There are five steps to follow for effective stakeholder management:

  1. Identify the stakeholders.
  2. Outline stakeholder goals.
  3. Prioritize the stakeholders’ level of influence.
  4. Engage the stakeholders.
  5. Communicate.

Work the Crowd

The first step of this process is to actually identify the invested stakeholders in this particular project. Make a list of all of them, even if their role seems insignificant. Additionally, work with the stakeholders whom you identify to find more people who may be impacted by this project.

When the project begins, it is a good time to uncover what each stakeholder’s goals might be. This may be an infuriating process that requires a few conversations, but this will help you in the long run to deliver exactly what they want. There is always the possibility that a stakeholder may actually be losing out because of what the project delivers. Conversations are essential and will provide the inspiration for the best outline of goals.

Every stakeholder has their own level of influence based on their role in delivering the project. Having a good grasp on who has the most influence can help balance all of the opinions that will surely be thrown at you. It is also important to keep in mind that sometimes the most influential person is actually the least important at the time. At any rate, it is important to fulfill stakeholder expectations and goals. By engaging them, you can help them achieve what they have set out to achieve.

If there is only one thing you can do effectively to engage your stakeholders, it is communication. Do not give them too much information because that may become distracting, but do convey to them updates periodically.

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