What’s at Stake?

March 25, 2021 by FlexPro

Last month Rose spoke about “Change Management” as a necessary discipline that must work within the project to ensure its overall success. She explained the importance of managing the people side as well as the technical side and to incorporate elements of change management into the project plan. In order to accomplish this, communication is key in making sure everyone is on the same page. 

This month I thought I’d revisit the topic of “Stakeholder Management”, which is something we haven’t talked about for a while. Just as with change management, stakeholder management should also be incorporated into the project plan. Each and every project will involve a number of interested parties, both internal and external. These parties, whether individuals or groups, can have a great impact on the project and their expectations need to be managed. The Project Management Institute (Project Management Institute (PMI®), 1996) defines “Stakeholder Management” as: “individuals and organizations who are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected as a result of project execution or successful project completion”. In other words, someone with a vested interest in what you are doing.

In project management, we stress the importance of “Stakeholder Management”. It’s simply keeping the right people informed and engaged at the right times and managing their expectations. Once again, as in change management, the key is communicating regularly and often with the people who care about the success of the project. This could be a boss, sponsor, investor, board member, colleague, or a number of other interested parties.

Here are some key components of an effective stakeholder management plan:

  • WHO:  Decide who your stakeholders are. There are often more than you realize. Mapping or charting can often help with your stakeholder management plan. This provides a visual resource of who is involved and at what level.
  • WHAT:  Agree on what will be shared. Schedule/timeline progress, budget status, key accomplishments or setbacks since last update, risks or opportunities the team is facing?
  • WHEN:  Pick a regular schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Consistent communication is a tool for building stakeholder trust.
  • HOW or WHERE:  Let them know how you will keep them informed. An in-person meeting, written report, PowerPoint slide, or teleconference?

Looking at things from another point of view, as a stakeholder, wouldn’t you expect regular progress updates and information on any changes or setbacks? A certain level of trust is built and the project tends to move along better with regular and consistent communication. Just as you and your team are impacted, stakeholders are also impacted by a project’s success or failure. As a PM your challenge is to manage their expectations while moving the project along. 

If you haven’t given stakeholder management too much thought in the past, give it some careful attention now. It’s never too late to step this up (even on a current project).

The FlexPro Group is an expert group of project managers in the life science industry. We provide guidance in 4 strategic areas: Supply Chain Optimization, Product Development & Commercialization, Integration Management and Early Stage Acceleration. Book a call with Jade today to find out how we can help deliver your next project on-time and on-budget.

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