Project Stakeholders are often neglected. Even the most obvious ones, such as users are sometimes ignored. This deprives a project of a valuable resource.
At the bare minimum, stakeholders can put the project into context or at least provide a perspective. What do I mean? Well, even with well managed requirements, projects can often set off, like a clockwork mouse, and exist in a bubble, cut off from the real business world.
Proper engagement with project stakeholders can provide that real world view.
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Project communication plans are the answer, you say. Yes, we should have good communication plans in place, but sometimes those plans should go further than they usually do.
Apart from the reports, progress meetings and newsletters identified for the various stakeholders, how about tailoring project issue management sessions at the correct level for selected groups? It’s very easy to categorize certain stakeholders as “to be informed” only.
The usual objection is that certain stakeholders just don’t have the time to attend meetings. If the stakeholders are vital to the project, then the challenge is to get to know what really matters to them. If the subject is painful enough, they will attend!
An example could be a marketing manager whose advertising budget may be affected by a new product that absolutely must get out the door to keep the company competitive. The development costs are not an issue here, but in order to realize the benefits, money must be spent on advertising. Any issues which may affect the nature of the product could affect the ad copy, so marketing need to be kept in the loop.
It is far better to get people actively involved in issues affecting them than for them merely to get a report. It allows for immediate interaction and feedback, raises awareness and keeps people in touch.
Keep it Relevant
To be effective, involvement needs to be relevant. There is nothing worse than to go to an issues management meeting and have to sit through dozens of issues that don’t affect you. So, make sure these sessions are “stakeholder sensitive”!
Get it right and turbo boost your project!