Categorized | Management

Great communications and stakeholder management go hand in hand

One of the key aspects of project control is stakeholder management. With a large and diverse set of individuals with different agendas and requirements, stakeholder management can be complex, time consuming and in some cases disheartening where resistance to the project deliverable is high.

Robust preparation can be key. Understanding stakeholder needs and meeting these is the best way to success. In carrying this out successfully many projects will include a communications work stream/activity package. Managing stakeholders can be a significant task on large projects and is often too great for one single project manager.

Successful stakeholder management is a mix of the right message at the right time to the right individual. There are a number of tactics that you can employ to make things easier;

1. Don’t assume that people already know the information that you have. Make communication regular and informative and assume nothing!

2. Don’t rush your communications. Take time to fully explain in enough detail to the individual stakeholder groups

3. Do consider asking your stakeholders for support this is especially important where the project scope requires clarification

4. Within your stakeholder groups make communications a level playing field. Don’t be selective to whom you pass on information.

5. Be prepared to take criticism. Projects can be difficult places at times don’t take things personally if your stakeholders disagree with you.
6. Use a myriad of communication methods. Don’t rely on one single communication tool, make sure you include plenty of face-to-face interaction.

Don’t underestimate the need to plan your communications within your project. Successful planning can really make the difference in effective stakeholder management. Take time at the start of the project to carry out a thorough stakeholder assessment. Follow this up by developing a communications plan. Finally, monitor how the communications plan is executed.

For a project to be successful the project manager will need to successfully manage the expectations and issues of stakeholders that are positive about the project and its benefits, and those that may be resistant.

Managing peoples expectations isn’t always easy. It helps for the project manager to be conversant in enough detail with regards to the project its benefits, and its timeline in order to convey these to the project community. Remember that communications is a team game include your project team in both developing a communications plan and executing it.

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