Manage All Project Stakeholders


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Our blog series – “Master Project Management” covers some of the essentials of the art and science of project management. It talks about defining true needs, building a solid team, and performing a financial analysis. It addresses how you can find the right balance points between extremes like “managing everything vs. managing nothing” and “doing work yourself vs. letting the team do everything.” This series will help develop the foundation you need to become a high performing project manager.

Manage All Project Stakeholders

One of the most important things you can do as a project manager is recognize that interfaces are a big part of project life. Learning to recognize and deal with interfaces can have a profound effect on your project. From a practical viewpoint, the interfaces you need to care about most are people—or, in project management lingo, stakeholders.

What makes people stakeholders? Perhaps they stand to gain or lose something with the success (or failure) of the project. They may control resources that you need to accomplish the project. Perhaps they will be affected by or use the project outputs. Or they may be accountable for the results to others in your company’s management structure. Working well with stakeholders can make your project flow more smoothly. Ignoring them can almost guarantee failure.

Improve the odds of success by actively managing stakeholder relationships:
Get to know your stakeholders: Identify every group or individual that can influence or could be affected by the project. Consider people both inside and outside the company. Meet with them individually (if feasible) to find out what they expect from you and discover their priorities.

Understand your power and influence over them: Whether formal (positional authority) or informal (implied authority), you will have at least some control over some stakeholders simply by virtue of being the project leader. You will likely be able to influence those you can’t control.

Develop strategies for dealing with each stakeholder: Not all stakeholders are created equal. Combine your knowledge of stakeholders and their power with your knowledge of your own needs and power to develop appropriate tactics for communicating with and/or directly involving stakeholders.

WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.

Next Step: Measure Against a Baseline

“Project Management: 24 Lessons to Help You Master Any Project” by Gary R. Heerkens is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. Purchase the book on Amazon.