Join Terri Wagner for an in-depth discussion in this video Implementing stakeholder engagement strategies, part of Project Management Foundations: Stakeholders.
- To review our process steps for managing our project stakeholders, we started with the identification step to determine who our stakeholders are. Next, we did an analysis profile to sort out power, interest, and salience. Then, we reviewed how and when to engage management and interpersonal skills. Implementing stakeholder engagement strategies is not just for the project manager. When our key team members and our coalition of leaders all work together, apply solid management and interpersonal skills, along with clear communication techniques, we'll get our best results.
Our goal is to enhance organizational performance, create desired changes, and sustain the outcomes. Engaging our stakeholders and gaining their support through communication, consultation, and involvement will help ensure healthy project portfolio delivery. Stakeholder briefings, communication of project milestones, along with periodic pulse checks to measure the degree of buy-in and engagement, are all good steps to implement throughout the project.
Any issues or concerns can then be identified early and addressed promptly. We want our approach to emphasize inclusivity and continuous stakeholder engagement. Engagement is not an end in itself, but a means to help build better relationships, ultimately resulting in improved project initiating, planning, implementation, monitoring, and closure. When you have a large group of stakeholders, the typical approach includes pushing information to them through one-way engagement or allowing them to poll information important to them from various channels, such as websites, local media, letters, emails, or brochures.
Remember our freeway build-out that included bridge explosions? The wide populous of stakeholders included all daily commuters and homeowners in ear shot of the blast. Road closures and bridge explosions were well communicated on the project website and also included in all major TV news broadcasts to keep the public informed through both pull and push techniques. When attempting to engage this wider group of stakeholders, two-way communication might be managed through a survey or a town-hall meeting.
The more power, influence, and interest the stakeholder group has, the more interactive you want your engagement to be. The next level up from our broad group of stakeholders may require some consultation. This group, you may want to involve, but they may not be responsible, and not necessarily able to influence outside of their consultation area. Limited two-way engagement may occur here, where the project manager, business analyst, or task lead asks questions and documents a subject matter expert's stakeholders answers.
At the participant level of stakeholder, our group again shrinks in size, yet gains more power, interest, and influence. This group is typically part of the team engaged in delivering tasks or with responsibilities for a particular activity or area. Two-way engagement will typically occur within the limits of the participant's area of responsibility. Our top-level stakeholders will want to engage as partners, sharing accountability and responsibility.
Here, we have two-way engagement, joint decision making and actions within the scope and limits of the projects. Activities undertaken to implement our wind energy project will need the engagement of a broad range of diverse stakeholders. Residents concerned about the size, visibility, and noise of the wind turbines, we may engage early with a town-hall meeting for the two-way communication. Surveys may also be sent for their input.
We will consult with legal as needed, while accounting and finance, along with IT, will be participant stakeholders. We will be partnering with our vendors and internal key project stakeholders throughout the project. The project team will need to put in place various processes to reach out to, notify, and engage different stakeholder groups and individuals in order to ensure that all relevant stakeholders have adequate opportunities to participate.
Implementing the right stakeholder engagement strategies requires understanding each stakeholder's power, interest, influence, and role, and understanding what communication technique works best for that individual or group. Remember, engaging our stakeholders and gaining their support through communication, consultation, and involvement, will help ensure healthy project portfolio delivery.
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