Must-Dos for Stakeholder Engagement
How stakeholders perceive the results is crucial to the success of a project. This includes whether they are satisfied with the outcome and whether their expectations, needs, and agendas are being met. Effective stakeholder engagement is essential for professional project managers to be able to successfully manage projects. An engaging stakeholder is a method of influencing outcomes using a variety of communication channels. This is in addition to stakeholder management, which is the process of identifying stakeholders and managing them. This article will help you increase your chances of a successful project outcome.
All levels of the organization should have buy-in.
Stakeholders need to feel that their time and contribution are valued for project success and that they will receive the benefits. While senior executives view change as an opportunity to benefit the business and their personal interests, employees see it as a threat that could lead to a loss. You can combat this by identifying key executives and creating a “what’s in the for the” proposition for each one. This will encourage early buy-in and support. To ensure that a positive message is sent to all employees, make sure they are aware of the expectations. Make it clear to all stakeholders that your organization is open to them and set up frequent communication checkpoints to allow them to voice their concerns and make sure they are addressed.
Participate in the entire project
Stakeholders are often only involved in the initial stages of a project and not again until they receive the final deliverable. This increases the likelihood of unmet needs. Regular board meetings can be used to discuss status and concerns. However, it is essential to position yourself in a way that proposes solutions rather than advising problems. Use business language, not jargon that they wouldn’t understand. Don’t make it difficult for them to look good. You should also plan stakeholder engagement tasks around essential milestones. This could include reviewing requirements, design, and testing results throughout the development cycle. This will ensure that they are involved in all core activities, not just with high-level updates.
Provide clarity and R&R
Many stakeholders think their role is passive and that they only need to attend a few meetings to keep up with the progress. By looking for shared ownership and purpose, you can create a partnership between key stakeholders. This will ensure that both parties agree on what success looks like and what it takes to achieve it. This partnership can be strengthened by clearly defining roles, responsibilities, and deliverables. This will provide clarity and eliminate uncertainty about ownership expectations. Stakeholders should be able to see how their contributions and involvement can directly impact the outcome. This can be done by focusing on the partnership and collaboration aspects of the project. It will create a strong foundation for the delivery.
Keep an eye out for rules of engagement.
To ensure that you are regularly monitoring the health of your stakeholders’ engagement levels, set up a monitoring system. It could be as simple as setting up reminders on your calendar or using a more complex tool, depending on how mature your project is. Through regular reviews and engagements, always remember the following questions: Why are they considered a stakeholder? What are their expectations? And what is their attitude towards the project? Positive, neutral, or negative?
These essential tips will increase the chances of a project’s success and allow the project manager to improve the process of keeping all stakeholders engaged throughout its lifecycle.