A stakeholder might be an individual or group that is concerned with any decision or activity of an organization. Stakeholders may include suppliers, internal staff, members, customers, regulators, and local and regional communities. Moreover, stakeholders also include purchasers, clients, owners, and non-governmental organizations. The task of managing project stakeholders can become a project in itself, as it requires time, experience and skills to find the right stakeholder.
Stakeholder management is crucial for any project success. If ignored, the project might get into trouble situations like deficiency of resources, delayed timelines etc.
Here are five tips that an organization can use to effectively manage stakeholders.
Identification and Prioritization
As soon as the project is assigned to an organization, it should start mapping out its stakeholders. Identify who really is suitable for the project development and prioritize among the list of stakeholders. Usually when a project starts, there is a list of stakeholders that could assist but this marks the first step of managing stakeholders that is identification and prioritization. Keep examining and documenting information about the stakeholders that you have gathered over and know the interest and influence of every stakeholder that it might have on the project. If you are a part of a complex project then stakeholder prioritization is recommended. Not every stakeholder is of your concern this rules out those who have no say in the assigned project.
Effective communication is key to every project and similarly while dealing with stakeholders, communication matters a lot. If you interact with a number of groups or individuals, then you have to tackle every stakeholder in a different manner, and tackling through words is what you need to master while dealing with others. Discussion, negotiation, transparency, clarity, two-way flow of communication, all these aspects of communication should be kept in mind while dealing with stakeholders.
When stakeholders are engaged throughout the process, the success rate of the project gets ultimately high. Keep the stakeholders aware of every turning point that the project takes. The stakeholders should be in touch with the project from its start till end. Engaging stakeholders has become easier now due to the usage of stakeholder engagement software that helps the organizations to stay connected with its stakeholders. Such software keeps a track of your stakeholders and keeps them engaged with you. Each stakeholder has its own hopes regarding the project thus the information collected during stakeholder identification should be utilized to guide further stakeholder engagement.
It is very important to map out realistic commitments with one’s stakeholders. One should never jump so high that one might fall. The project goals and objectives should be achievable and realistic and not uncertain. Make sure that stakeholders are briefed about the project’s objectives clearly before they become a part of the project. If there comes a lack of information transfer between stakeholder and project head then things might get uncomfortable. Even if certain commitments cannot be met, communicate it in time.
Monitor and Report
Some stakeholders often divert from the project half way through, causing a lot of trouble to the project. Thus monitor the activities of the stakeholder. Set up meetings, brief them and get briefed from them. Regularly assess how the stakeholder has been performing and develop strategies for evolving professional relationships with stakeholders. Make sure to extract and report any aspect of your stakeholder meeting. Good reporting will lessen risk and maximize transparency and accountability. Keep your activities and communication at pace with the expectations of your stakeholders, and you’ll yield much more efficient consequences.