8 Tips for Managing Stakeholder Expectations
Why Stakeholder Management? As the name suggests, Project Management involves everything that is required to manage a project and drive it towards successful completion of a project in hand. There are several aspects concerning Project Management that one ought to follow if they really want to succeed in their job. However, one of the most important aspects of it is to do what is necessary to develop a strong and cordial relationship with all the individuals that the project affects and control the relationship accordingly. The present article aims to list the critical techniques that the readers can learn to identify stakeholders of the company, analyze their impact on the project, and in the same manner develop efficient strategies for communication, setting boundaries, and managing competing expectations of potential stakeholders. If you are good at successfully managing the stakeholders of the company, you will be in a better position to keep a lid on scope creep, understand tolerance for risk, make sure all project requirements are met with, and also be able to mitigate the risks and issues that may delay the completion of a project. It is said that good stakeholder management and their expectations is a testimony to your influential position in a company, and a critical component to lead a healthy project environment. Being Project Manager for a coveted account, you must have mixed feelings. On one hand, you are excited to grab the opportunity to work on a new project but are also anxious about giving a desired outcome out of it that is about the benefit of the organization. The entire project team is assembled and you, as a project manager, have gained every required confidence that they will aid you in successfully meeting and exceeding the expectations of clients. You have been in this situation before and you must know that even the best made plans don’t even take a second to go wrong. When this happens, you need to regain control of the project management, fast enough, before the entire team loses motivation. But the master trick is that you have to become competent enough to properly manage the stakeholders’ expectations from the very beginning when you start working on the project so that there is little chance left for any hassle. We understand the importance of meeting up to the expectations of stakeholders, so here we have provided 8 tips for Managing Stakeholder Expectations for Project Management Professionals (PMPs). These tips are effective in helping you keep your stakeholders calm and reassured throughout the journey of working on a project. So, without further ado, let us begin with this informative article: Identify who the stakeholders are. It is not always possible to know every possible stakeholder involved in a project. Most of the projects have several stakeholders and recognizing each one of them is not mostly easy. To begin in a systematic manner, you will first need to identify the non-obvious stakeholders involved in the project like for example; you can start with who are investors of the project? The investors of a project normally tend to take a back seat but you cannot afford to ignore their expectations out of the project. And if you do, there are chances of you losing an important influencer. So, it becomes imperative that you consider the opinion of all stakeholders. Identify preferred method of communication. You need to identify the preferred method of communication with the stakeholders of the company. If you use the most effective mode of communication, it makes sure that your stakeholders remain content. However, it is to note that if you make mistake regarding use of wrong or non-preferred communication method, it causes frustration and lack of confidence and showcases that you ignore their initial direction. Keep stakeholders engaged You need to keep your stakeholders engaged throughout the journey of a project and give them timely updates about the progress of the processes so that they are in loop. You should always ask them the right questions throughout the project completion. This ensures that the stakeholders of the company also remain content and involved in the decision-making process. Accurately map expectations. You need to be completely sure about the expectations of stakeholders from their point of view if you really want to manage it. So, ask them how they want to measure the success of a project. This helps in deciding between conflicting definitions of success which are different for every other stakeholder. Some might feel that meeting the final deadline should be the top priority while others might consider the end user functionality of the final product to be more important. To manage between these conflicts, you need to facilitate a meeting of all stakeholders and help them come to a mutually satisfying agreement. Further, you need to make classification of the level of communication required for each stakeholder. Explore the expectations as to who requires handholding, who wants a basic and occasional overview, and who prefer daily or weekly communication. Once you know about everyone’s preference you can accordingly engage with them. Identify stakeholders as per their possible role in the project: as an advocate or as a road blocker so that you can make your strategy accordingly. You must engage all the stakeholders in the decision-making process of a project. It is most important to make the stakeholders feel they have been involved in the process. The manner of completion of the project is equally important, not just delivering on the required specifications. Stakeholders are someone who remembers the overall mood of the entire process as their measure of success is how you have achieved the end goal and not just the end product.