Projects can be engaging and even enjoyable, or it can be a source of aggravation and stress. If you put some care and time into identifying, analyzing, and managing your project stakeholders, you’ll have a better project experience and improve your chance of success.
Remember what Charles Schulz said through the character of Linus: “I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand!!” Schulz is saying that he loves mankind. But the problem is that individuals have flaws that can make life difficult.
One of the most critical elements of project management is developing relationships with key stakeholders—individuals, groups, and organizations. It is through these relationships that we can better define and control scope, understand requirements, mitigate risks, and improve project processes. One of the top reasons that projects succeed is stakeholder involvement.
15 Ways to Manage Project Stakeholders
- Identify project stakeholders including individuals, groups, and organizations.
- Use more than one tool to identify stakeholders. For example, you could conduct an online survey stakeholders and follow up with interviews.
- Ask each stakeholder that you meet with to identify others who may be impacted or may impact the project.
- Ask and capture the stakeholder’s needs and concerns in your stakeholder register.
- Use a tool such as the power/interest grid to analyze your stakeholders. This will help you determine where to invest your time.
- Engage the key stakeholders early. You and your sponsor may wish to meet with these stakeholders while developing the project charter.
- Use the stakeholder register as an input in the development of your communications plan.
- Additionally, use the stakeholder register when identifying risks.
- Use an issues log to capture matters or questions over which there are opposing views.
- Keep your stakeholder register private. There may be sensitive information.
- Identify non-supporters or naysayers and determine how you will manage them.
- Don’t annoy your stakeholders.
- Identify, evaluate, and manage external stakeholders.
- Realize that some stakeholders may act irrationally or in an unpredictable manner.
- Review and update your stakeholder register periodically.
It’s Your Turn
Why not review the project stakeholders in one of your projects? If you haven’t created a stakeholder register, consider creating one. Then take a look at your communications plan. What can you do to improve the communication with your stakeholders?
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