How To Manage Stakeholders Relationships And Expectations
Actively managing stakeholders’ relationships and expectations will ensure that your stakeholders understand the progress your project is making. Managing stakeholder expectations will support your team’s project schedule, enhance team performance, and decrease project interruption.
To effectively manage stakeholders, you have to follow these guidelines…
#1 Communication plan
During the planning phase of the project, the communications plan for each stakeholder is developed. When managing stakeholders, the project manager needs to follow the plan and periodically obtain stakeholder feedback to make any required adjustments to the plan.
#2 Face to Face meeting
Also, face-to-face meetings with stakeholders is most effective. Assessing body language provides the project manager with an opportunity to determine if the stakeholder is pleased or not with the project progress. For example, if during a project update the stakeholder is frowning, his arms folded, and is looking at his shoes, it is essential that the project manager determines stakeholders’ concerns. By managing stakeholders’ expectations, the project will continue to have the buy-in.
#3 Practical meeting
Also, when a face-to-face meeting is not practical, as in global projects, video/web conferencing, webinars, desktop sharing, net meetings, and video chat can be useful substitutes to the project team. What I am saying is that if it is not feasible for all the team members to be together at the same time, you can always consider these options for virtual teams.
#4 Stakeholder expectations
There is a need for you to create a stakeholder expectations matrix to help the project team members ensure that all of the stakeholder expectations are implemented in the project. You to ensure that the stakeholder expectations are collected and updated frequently.
#5 Project updates
As part of the measures to ensure that your stakeholders are always happy with the project, there is a need for you to always update the status of the project. You have to make sure that the status of your project is updated regulated. Also, you need to share reports of the project progress to your project stakeholders based on your communication management plan.
#6 Be flexible
You also have to be flexible when communicating with the project sponsor or other members of senior management. Be prepared to provide a summary of project status in five minutes or less if the need arises.
Flexible communication is the ability to meet the specific communication requirements of each stakeholder. For example, one may prefer extensive numerical data while some others may prefer just a synopsis.
#7 Issue log
There is a need for you to use an issue log to assign, track, and resolve open issues that are of interest to stakeholders. Issues that remain unresolved can lead to project delays. You need to keep a record of all the issues that happen in the course of running the project. You also have to make sure that you are keeping track of the status of all issues and updating your stakeholders as at when due.
#8 Change requests
Another document that might be of interest to your stakeholders is your change requests. You have to make sure that every change requests follow formal procedures. No change must have happened unless it has passed through the Change Control Board. Therefore, all change needs to be processed to update the communication plan reflecting changes in project staffing.
You need to take corrective actions needed to bring project performance in line with customer expectations. You must also document the lesson learned to reflect the causes of issues and changes made to rectify them.
Alex is a Project Manager in an insurance company. His team has been developing a new type of insurance plan for car owners. When the project kicked off, Alex created a communication plan and handed it off to the project stakeholders for their review. He met with them and got their feedback, so now a communication plan is in place that seems to be working well.
The communication plan set up a regular status meeting. Before each meeting, Alex prepares a summary of project status. The stakeholders appreciate this brief summary. Alex always gives the stakeholders an opportunity to bring up concerns. In the most recent meeting, the stakeholders had an issue with the discount the new insurance plan offers to people with clean driving records. While the stakeholders think this is a good offer, they will like to extend this offer to single-car owners with no co-ownership.
Alex agreed that this change is manageable and immediately logged this change in requirements into the database for it to be analyzed and processed the integrated change control system.
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