Tip of The Month
Four Tips to Manage Stakeholders
Are you responsible for "managing stakeholders"? This is a common phase and yet, what does it mean? Project Management Institute (PMI) thought this skill was so important that it recently added "Stakeholder Management" as a 10th Knowledge Area in the latest edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Even if you don't manage projects, many people have roles at work requiring them to manage or influence stakeholders to some degree.
In our August 2010 newsletter, we discussed how to identify stakeholders. Remember, stakeholders are people who are impacted by a project and/or have influence over its success. Once you've identified stakeholders, then you need to treat them as human beings who have their own needs and responsibilities to the project. Here are some best practices:
- Manage expectations. You can only do this if you know what their expectations are. Use your Business Analysis skills (aka consulting skills) to actively listen, understand their goals and objectives, gather their requirements, and build their trust and rapport.
- Communicate with them. Develop a stakeholder management plan which includes a communication management plan. Know who, when, what, how, and why you are communicating with each stakeholder. Make sure that they know the plan and buy-in to it.
- Be pro-active. Bring up potential issues and risks. Involve stakeholders early so that you can work together to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. Put yourself in their shoes to anticipate and address their concerns. No one likes surprises on any project.
- Gain consensus. Use your facilitation and negotiation skills to resolve conflicts and get agreements. Manage and communicate changes throughout the project. Ensure that your stakeholders are still committed to the project's success at each stage by focusing on the project objectives.
Projects are only completed by people, so continuing to hone your interpersonal, communication, and management skills will serve you in your career and increase your project success.
It's Ready2ACT's mission to help companies save time and money on projects through training and meeting facilitation. We hope these tips will contribute to your success!