Stakeholder engagement includes implementing strategies and actions to promote the productive involvement of stakeholders. there are six ways to navigate effective stakeholder engagement that we will discuss. All lessons are based on the PMBOK®, 7th Edition.
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Stakeholder engagement includes implementing strategies and actions to promote the productive involvement of stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement activities start way before the project starts or it can continue throughout the project lifecycle because stakeholders can come and go.
According to PMI, there are six ways in navigating effective stakeholder engagement: Identify, understand, analyze, prioritize, engage and monitor. Let’s quickly tackle each one:
● Identify: Pretty simple, look for people who will be affected by your project. This could be the sponsor, customer, end users and even your project team. These are pretty easy, but others can be difficult to identify when they are not directly connected to the project. For example, you may have a project to revamp your office space, but someone like the cleaning crew that comes in every day will be affected, even though they are not part of the overall construction
● Understand and Analyze: Once you identified the stakeholders, you should understand the stakeholders’ feelings, emotions, beliefs and values. These elements can lead to additional threats or even opportunities for the project outcomes. Let’s say that your sponsor’s son is in hockey..now you are like Kaye, what the hell does this have to do with anything…hear me out. Going back to the example of the office renovation your sponsor may want to have some sort of hockey theme like motivational quotes by hockey players or the conference rooms needs to be names of hockey teams. If you decide to use a Tennis theme, your stakeholder will be mad and think the renovation is a bad idea. These little nuances can really make or break a project. And please let your entire team know about the stakeholder's feelings because they will build everything out accordingly. If you are asking yes, something similar happened to me on a project.
● Prioritize. This is a big one. Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen or too many stakeholders. And often times, they contradict the direction the project should go. Your best best is to focus on the stakeholder with the most power and interest and prioritize any requirements from them. If anyone has an issue, you can always say, take it up with the big boss.
● Engage. You got all this information about the stakeholder, now what do you do. You must engage with the stakeholder to manage their expectations, resolve issues, negotiate, prioritize, problem sold and make decisions. You need a mix of soft skills such as active listening, interpersonal skills and conflict management as well as leadership skills. Engaging can be written like an email status or verbal like a meeting. Always find the way the stakeholder likes to engage.
● And finally, monitor. Stakeholders will change, some may drop off, or new ones may be added. This cycle is something that you are always doing to ensure that you have the right people in the room to keep your project going. You can also use this to assess if the engagement strategy is working. For example, one of your stakeholders may say that they like getting emails but they never respond to questions. Then you can suggest to have a weekly status meeting with the stakeholder.
That is your pmp in a snap. Next week we’re talking about Team performance domain.