Now you have worked out who your stakeholders are (if you need a reminder go to this article: What actually is a stakeholder?)!
Now let’s look at why is it so important to keep your focus on these people, your stakeholders?
In an ideal world all of our stakeholders have a great interest in the success of the project…
Sadly, that’s often not how it works in reality.
For you, the project manager, this means you need to be aware that:
- it is very common to have stakeholders with opposing priorities and interests
- those priorities and interests need to be identified
- critical stakeholders, that is people who can effectively fail the project, need to be given specific attention
- this will potentially have implications on both the route to follow and even the final goal.
What can happen without appropriate stakeholder management
Example: A building project
- Necessary planning permissions are not received -> The project gets delayed incurring expense and a very unhappy client.
- The relevant person at the bank does not authorise the necessary mortgage deal or loan payment-> the project may be delayed or stalled, potentially incurring more cost or losing key staff on-site
- Key people within the organisation can’t agree on aspects of the build -> Delay is in evitable and you may even have to revisit drawings, incurring cost as well as taking time
- People adjacent to the potential building site have made their worries clear to the council as they feel they have not been informed appropriately -> this can hold proceedings until the problem is solved, again incurring cost and delaying the project. Furthermore, neighbours will remain neighbours, so it is important that neighbourly relationships can be conducted in a positive way.
Example: A digital time project
- The management team stops the project until they feel that data security has been addressed appropriately
- Team members are creating a negative wind against the project as they perceive a huge amount of work coming towards them on top of their normal workload.
- The head of IT is not on board and blocks the project as the new technology does not fit in well or easily within her existing systems
So, what we are saying is:
- Identify your stakeholders
- Understand their priorities and responsibilities
- Communicate your view-point and what your project can achieve
- Make an effort to work together with everybody who has a stake in your project
If you have any queries, stories, suggestions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We are a friendly bunch and value communication with you guys!
Ricarda Baldock works as a freelance project manager and management consultant with experience in SMEs, the charity sector, in IT projects and in the finance sector.
Among her specialties are project planning, strategic analysis, process improvement, project branding and project marketing.