As a small business owner, you have projects. Projects are events that are planned to achieve a particular goal. A renovation, move, or conducting business planning are just a few quick examples. Projects have stakeholders. These are people that have interest in and influence on a project. I’m Elise with Woodworth Enterprises. Follow us for weekly insights on innovation, business, and leadership. If you find yourself in a project, this is a good video to watch.
Here is a link for external information on analyzing and classifying stakeholders: MindTools.com: Stakeholder Analysis. For this article I’d like to focus this time on interacting with stakeholders. Managing stakeholders can present major rewards and serious complications for a project. By identifying the people with interest in and influence over your project, you can determine how to communicate with them. You can use the Simplified Stakeholder Map in the article to plot where your stakeholders are.
If a project manager doesn’t have a good understanding of the stakeholders in any given project, there are bound to be complications. Another stumbling block is found when a stakeholder isn’t interacted with appropriately. Stakeholders are not limited to team members. There may be any number of people interested in completing the project, also consider who is paying the bills, who is being impacted by the project and its outcomes. A big mistake I often see, and want you to avoid, is miscommunicating with a stakeholder. When there is a problem with the people involved in your project, it could be a case of not communicating well. Maybe they think they have more power than you do, maybe they are more interested than you initially perceived. Addressing problems as they arise will help the project continue to run smoothly.
Successfully managing interactions with stakeholders can have amazing benefits. Timeline, scope, and budget are easier to meet when everyone is on the same page. This is where, as a project manager, you will have to be flexible. Your style might not always, blend well with the styles of your stakeholders. Try to identify that early, and adapt to keep the most important stakeholders satisfied and engaged.
Big or small, projects are a normal part of business. Stakeholders are a part of projects. Managing them effectively is important for any project to be successful. If you find yourself with a problem in your project, remember we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out. WE look forward to working with you.