Keeping Stakeholders Happy without Compromising Progress
The project management process requires considerable communication with a wide range of individuals including stakeholders. Stakeholders have a vested interest in the project, and you’ll find that you have to deal with them in myriad ways, on an almost constant basis. Keeping your stakeholders happy is vital, not just for the sake of your peace of mind, but for the success of your overall project.
Unhappy Stakeholders Cause Problems
First, it’s important that you understand just how vital it is that your stakeholders are kept satisfied – an unhappy stakeholder can cause a wide range of problems. These include:
- Constant, unnecessary communication
- Hindering the completion of core tasks
- Constantly changing metrics of the project
- Changing tasks in the middle of the project
- Causing problems with supervisors or managers
How to Keep a Stakeholder Happy
So, given the importance of satisfying stakeholders, how do you do that? It’s both one of the simplest things you’ll face and one of the most challenging. There are several ways to do this, some of which are so simple that you might have overlooked them.
1. Communicate – Communication is one of the most essential skills of a project manager, and if you’re unable to communicate progress and performance of key areas within your project to the appropriate stakeholders regularly, you’ll find that they’re definitely not a happy bunch. Dedicate yourself to keeping all relevant stakeholders apprised of important milestones, progress, and results.
2. Actively Listen – If your stakeholders have important concerns about the project (with any aspect of that project), they will speak up. However, if you’re not actively listening to them, it’s easy to let these comments “go in one ear and out the other”. They’re not talking just to hear their own voice. They’re trying to tell you something important, something that matters to them and to your project. Do yourself a favor and really listen.
3. Know Their Roles – Any project will have a wide range of stakeholders involved. Different stakeholders will be involved for different reasons; they all have different roles. Knowing what role each plays in your project will help you keep them happy and satisfied. For instance, upper management within your own company wants to see progress and a few problems. Managers from the client company want to see progress and results that impact their success. Customers want to see results that matter to them or hear that you’re actively working on a task that will improve their experience. Know their roles and tailor your communications to match them.
4. Ensuring Agreement – Finally, you must ensure that all the various stakeholders are on the same page as far as project goals are concerned. Obviously, you can’t keep them happy if different stakeholders view the outcome of the project differently. Goals must be firmly set and planned long before your project goes live, or there won’t be any satisfaction for anyone involved.
With the right steps and dedication to communication, you can satisfy your stakeholders and ensure that your project runs smoothly.