For the final installment of Stakeholder Management, I’ll look at ongoing communication. You’ve identified stakeholders, built trust with them, and now it’s time to continually communicate with them. Though identification and building trust can be challenging, ongoing communication can be exhausting. Everyone seems to want different information at different times in different formats. You’re asked to provide updates at various intervals. Keeping track of all that can make your head spin. Though you cannot avoid some of these requests, I’m hoping to give advice that will mitigate it.
The Stakeholder Kick-off. I started doing this a long time ago for larger and/or more complex projects and programs. However, I now feel it can be done for any and all initiatives. The goal would be to get all stakeholders together to review the following:
- Goals of the project – what “DONE” looks like and how will it impact THEM
- Bullet points of what’s in scope and maybe even more importantly, what’s out
- A high level overview of the process and key milestones
- Ongoing communication updates – status reports, status meetings, etc
Establishing “Formal” Communication updates. Formal communication are those things you can be assessed on. Did you deliver your status report on time? Are you reporting those KPI’s like everyone wants? Can you articulate status in regularly scheduled meetings? These are the things that show up on your review.
“Informal” Communication; Where Sh!t Gets Done!! I believe this is more important than formal communication. Informal communication cashes in on relationship capital you’ve built with stakeholders. When issues or needs arise on the project, instead of waiting for a status report or scheduled meeting, I would rather talk to the right stakeholder(s) and get resolution fast. This approach keeps thing moving and doesn’t require pulling in a large group (unless of course it truly requires it).
I hope you enjoyed Stakeholder Manager (now called Stakeholder Engagement in PMBOK’s 6th edition). Next up, Team Dynamics!