How to engage project stakeholders

project manager engaging stakeholders

7 FAQs to help keep your PRINCE2 project on track

Project Stakeholders are crucial to any project. A lack of Project Stakeholder engagement can break a project. These questions and answers will help you understand all you need to know about Project Stakeholders, and how best to get them onboard and keep them there.

1.      What is a Project Stakeholder?

A Project Stakeholder is anyone who is affected by the project. This includes individuals, teams and organisations. It may even include the public. Project Stakeholders include customers, end-users, suppliers, contractors, shareholders, managers and their employees, etc.

2.      What is stakeholder engagement?

Stakeholder engagement is the management of stakeholders’ enthusiasm for the project. They must be identified and communicated with so they understand the benefits of the project and the value that it will bring to them. Without this understanding, it is likely that engagement will not happen – and this could lead to ambivalence, apathy, or, worse, active behaviours that scupper the project.

3.      How do you identify Project Stakeholders?

For stakeholder engagement to take place, you must first identify who the Project Stakeholders are. It’s not like you can ask people to put their hands up if they consider themselves a stakeholder: it is necessary to understand the project and who it affects. Brainstorming is a good starting point in the identification process, taking a systematic approach to who may be affected by the project both inside and outside an organisation.

4.      How will Project Stakeholders act?

In order to develop a strategy to engage Project Stakeholders, you will need to understand how they are likely to act and their position within the stakeholder hierarchy. You’ll need to discover motivations, objectives and ambitions. You’ll also need to understand that some stakeholders may feel threatened by the project (for example, where a major software upgrade is likely to lead to job losses). Hopes and fears need to be managed throughout the process of stakeholder engagement.

5.      What strategies should be used to engage Project Stakeholders?

While there are many strategies that can be used to engage Project Stakeholders, good communication planning is vital in stakeholder management. It is necessary to know who must receive project communications, how and when. Sometimes you will need to communicate with everyone. Other times communication with one or two stakeholders is all that is needed. Communication methods include face-to-face, social media, intranet and email – but should always provide and encourage a two-way dialogue.

6.      When should you engage Project Stakeholders?

The short answer is constantly – and from before the project starts. However, communication planning is essential. Consider how often communication is needed, and when it is likely to be received most effectively. There are three Cs to observe for effective communication: Constancy; Consistency; Clarity.

7.      Are Project Stakeholders still engaged?

Stakeholder engagement isn’t something that happens once. It must be delivered throughout the lifecycle of a project. Therefore, a Project Manager should seek to ensure that all Project Stakeholders are engaged in the project regularly. This may be by confirming that the stakeholder is receiving all they information they need, and in the format that they prefer. Ensuring that relevant stakeholders are involved in the design and delivery of project stages will also help to engage them.

By continually reviewing the state of stakeholder engagement, you can revise your strategy to ensure that stakeholders remain onboard and that expected project outcomes are delivered.

To discover how focused project management using PRINCE2 methodology can help your project be successful, contact Your Project Manager:

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