Who are your key stakeholders and how should you manage your relationships with them?
Who Is a Stakeholder?
Project stakeholder management is a key stakeholder skill – as your stakeholders can either make or break your project. Who are your project stakeholders? Your stakeholders are the people that have an interest in the project outcome or process. That interest can either be positive, wanting the benefits of the outcomes or process of your project, or negative, seeing the outcomes or process as a hindrance to them.
Project stakeholders will include:
- project sponsors
- steering committee members
- business unit and line managers
- project team members
- end users of the products or services resulting from your project
- contractors and consultants supplying services to your project
- material and product suppliers
- departments supplying resources, infrastructure and expertise (such as IT and HR)
Tips for Managing Stakeholders
Your stakeholders will need to be managed through every phase of your project. Start with involving them in clarifying the scope of your project and identifying possible solutions to the organization’s problem that the project is designed to solve. As the project proceeds, draw up a communication strategy and a communication plan that identifies how, when and what to communicate to each stakeholder group. Part of this involves project reporting. Think about how and when and to what level of detail you will deliver project reports to each group.
You will find that different stakeholders will want very different outcomes from your project. A vital part of stakeholder management is managing these competing expectations from the initial phase through to final implementation. Finally, in the evaluation phase of your project, find out from your stakeholders how well the project satisfied their needs. There will be valuable lessons in there for your future projects.