Practical Stakeholder Engagement

Must read

Embrace the change: Getting to grips with new IT systems

New IT systems for a growing business can be an exciting prospect and deliver many benefits, but how do you convince employees to embrace...

5 Skills Needed To Drive Future Projects

Why do projects fail? It's a question that invites a lot of interest and significant statistics. And there are no wrong answers here. Skills shortages...

Does a Project Manager Need PM Qualifications?

What makes a successful project manager is a combination of their academic abilities, experience and skills, both "soft" and "hard" skills i.e. communication skills...

It’s good to talk but difficult to communicate

One of the insights from this year’s AXELOS PPM benchmark report was that poor communication continues to be the biggest challenge hampering projects and...
Lynda Bournehttp://mosaicprojects.wordpress.com
Lynda is Director of Training with Mosaic Project Services focusing on the delivery of CAPM, PMP, Stakeholder Circle® and other project related workshops, training and mentoring services. She is also the CEO of Stakeholder Management Pty Ltd. She was the first student to gain a Doctorate in Project Management from the RMIT University and has extensive experience as a Senior Project Manager and Project Director specialising in delivery of IT and other business-related projects within the telecomms sector.

stakeholder-collaborationAs we all know the problem with good practice is it slowly slips away as we respond to time pressures and expediency and bad habits take root. We know what’s supposed to be done but settle for a comfortable second best until it’s too late.  Well, this is a New Year and a new opportunity to refocus on implementing basic good practice in all areas of project management, including stakeholder engagement.

Four of the basic ‘good practices’ that help you engage with your team and other stakeholders are:

  1. Listen well and respond promptly

This is the first lesson in stakeholder engagement for a project manager dealing with demanding and influential stakeholders: listen well ((link active listening), and respond promptly to stakeholder requests, as appropriate to the level of need and the stakeholder priority. Responding promptly to a request shows you respect the person making the request; but responding does not mean ‘agreeing’ or ‘dropping everything else’. An appropriate response may be to say ‘no’ or to schedule an action at an appropriate future date.

  1. Connect with others who share your goals

Stakeholder engagement is required when you cannot achieve your goals alone, particularly goals that you share with others. You cannot achieve these goals without ongoing, effective stakeholder dialogue. This includes connecting with your team, networking with your peers and building ‘organizational currency’ for use in the future when you need to influence others (see: Influence Without Authority).

  1. Commit to consultation before decision-making

Don’t try and engineer in advance the outcomes of stakeholder dialogue. An open discussion, without prejudicing any of the outcomes in advance, almost always results in a better decision. If stakeholders think you are just trying to persuade them to accept an outcome that is already set in stone, they will turn off and become cynical. (link to decision making) However, if you’ve already made a decision respect your team and pass on the information, don’t pretend to consult.

  1. Keep the focus on common goals

In project management this is easy – a successful project outcome benefits everyone. Project managers sometimes fear that stakeholder engagement will force them into doing things they may not want to do. This is unlikely to happen if you focus your communication and engagement activities on the common goals you share with your stakeholders. The dialogue then becomes a discussion about options for achieving shared goals, not a series of demands by either party.

None of this is ‘rocket science’, but achieving an effective engagement with your stakeholders, leading to a constructive dialogue that helps create project success does need planning, processes and time.  It’s all too easy with all of the other pressures to see these simple steps as ‘low priority’ activities and ignore your stakeholder community until it’s too late and you have a major crisis on your hands – make 2016 the year you move beyond crisis management.

- Advertisement -

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

- Advertisement -

Latest article

Project Accelerator Website Has a Makeover

I have been running this project management news website for over 10 years now, the domain was registered in 2008. Today we...

Project Management Strategies Every Tech Leader Can Use

As a tech leader, you're responsible for leading a development team. Thus you're in control of all the technology deliverables that contribute...

Parallel LIVE! Part 2. APM Project Roles in the 7th Edition of the APM BoK

This week Parallel's Matt Bolton and Jan Underdown discussed the roles in the 7th edition of the Body of Knowlege from the...

Parallel LIVE Again

So this week, we did our second live stream. This time John Bolton and I discussed linear, iterative and hybrid lifecycles. It's...

How Are Tech Solutions Improving Project Management?

The professional environment for a modern project manager is a diverse, multi-disciplined landscape. This complex fusion of information maintenance, personnel leadership, cost...