There are so many good examples of project managers who are very successful managing the overall project team, other related staffs and various stakeholders (stakeholders are the individual or organizations who can influence the project positively or negatively). It is not easy to manage and control the stakeholders as their demands or changing requests can be out of scope for the project. As a project manager you should take care of these issues upfront.
You should document their requirement smartly and try to reach their expectation balancing the scope of the project. It is really a mixture of art and science for managing the stakeholder’s requirement. It takes a balance of huge knowledge, tools and techniques, and the project manager’s soft skills on the part of the project manager, and an environment that is conducive to success. But still it is a big question in front of each project manager - How successfully work with the stakeholders on project?
First of all, a project manager should understand who else the stakeholders are. What can be the result in your project if you missed to consider someone’s stakeholders consent?
What or who is a stakeholder?
Let’s start by defining what a stakeholder is.
The Project Management Institute’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) describes a stakeholder as a person or organization that:
- Is actively and effectively involved in the project
- Has interests that may be positively or negatively affected by the performance or completion of the project
- May exert influence over the project, its deliverables or its project team members
Categorization of the stakeholders
Categorize your stakeholder as per their work or responsibility such as the customer, the project team, suppliers and vendors, program managers, functional managers, etc and based on their role and responsibilities document your database – how you will be managing any particular stakeholder for your project? Doing this you can judge who is your main stakeholders based on their influence in the projects. Prioritize the list of the stakeholders based on their influence. It will help you a lot. Try it!
How to resolve conflicts between stakeholders?
This is a big issue. When you are running a project, you will be facing these issues. The biggest issue that is all too common is the lack of a defined process for resolving conflict amongst stakeholders. A stakeholder influence diagram is often used to prioritize stakeholders; however, less influential stakeholders can have ideas that are discounted. Balancing the influence on decision-making to add benefit to the project is vital to success.
Prepare a Stakeholder Management Plan
It is always wise to prepare a stakeholder management plan in advance. It can be useful to create this type of plan, as long as it is then used by your team. Creating a stakeholder management plan just to get the project success is always a plus for any project management.
Best actions to influence your stakeholders
Using a few simple techniques and approaches to get your stakeholders on board will go a long way toward helping your initiative to succeed. In particular as a project manager you should take care of the following activities:
- Begin your process of identifying the stakeholders as early as possible. Try to not leave the same until you start the execution stage of the project.
- Be very clear with your communications.
- Be open and honest with all the related people in your project.
- Gain feedback and take it into account – Share the same to the concerned stakeholders.
Impact of the stakeholders on the projects
It can be very costly if you ignore any of the stakeholder’s expectations and it can hugely impact the project negatively like delay in deliveries. Suppose you need the resources for running the project as planned and if you have managed the expectations of HR manager positively then you will surely get a soft support from your HR manager because you’ve managed his/her expectations at the initial stage and the result can be vice-versa in case you have not managed his/her expectations initially.
Furthermore, a project manager must manage the influence of all the stakeholders in relation to project requirements to ensure a required output. The project manager should take care of the interests of the stakeholders balancing the requirements of the project.