Three Mistakes Project Managers Make with Their Stakeholders
“This isn’t exactly what I was expecting.”
After delivering the final product to a customer, that’s not something a project manager wants. This is often due to poor stakeholder management.
Project managers make a lot of mistakes when dealing with stakeholders. We have identified three of these errors and created a template for project manager to use when dealing directly with one of their most important assets.
First, what is a stakeholder?
Stakeholders are people or groups who have a “stake” in the project. Stakeholders could be a sponsor or creditor, employee of a community, supplier, or customer. They can also be affected by the project in any other way.
Mistake #1: Not prioritizing and identifying the wrong stakeholders
Stakeholder analysis involves identifying your stakeholders and assessing their influence on your project. You can lose important opinions if you don’t identify your stakeholders when designing your project plan. Long-term consequences can be caused by failure to identify stakeholders. They have been and will continue to be devalued.
It is difficult to objectively and accurately assess the opinions of stakeholder on how a project should proceed if you misunderstand their importance.
To avoid this mistake, you should first create a list of organizations and people that might be affected by the project. You might be surprised at the number of stakeholders that are not disclosed, such as the CEO’s spouse, analysts, media, and analysts.
Once you have identified your stakeholders, chart their influence and power over your project. Mindtools is a great tool to do this.
Mindtools suggests that you use a stakeholder’s position in the chart to decide how to communicate with them. Keep an eye on people with low power and interest. However, you should only update them with the most important information. People with high power and low interests should work to satisfy them, but not overwhelm them with too many communications.
Information is the most important thing for those with low power and high interest. Keep them updated about the progress of the project and keep them informed. Let them know about any roadblocks or successes.
For high-interest, high power stakeholders, also known as “key stakeholders”, fully engage them in the process and do all you can to satisfy their needs.
Mistake #2: Be unrealistic with your key stakeholders.
This mistake is more common that many project managers realize. Project managers are known for overpromising and underdelivering on projects, even though they know they are being optimistic. These conditions can lead to sloppy, ill-tested and rushed work that may even result in project failure. This can leave you and your stakeholders unhappy and disappointed.
While it’s okay to have high expectations for your team, it’s important to be open to learning from them. However, it is important to be objective when analyzing deadlines and the ability of your team to complete the work you have set for them. As I mentioned in my previous post about project schedule mistakes,
“Do your best to meet stakeholder requirements, but be mindful of the risks associated with pushing deadlines so hard. Your candor will be appreciated by all stakeholders, including your team, if it is impossible.
Failure to establish a communication plan for all stakeholders.
You now understand the importance of communication in working with stakeholders. This is based on the power and interest of your stakeholders. Project managers need to decide how and when they want to communicate with stakeholders.