My mother has a saying.
Where you spend your time is one of the most important decisions you can make.
And, though she was referring to life, not project management, applying this perspective to stakeholder management will help you focus on getting projects from initiation to closure- engaging the right people along the way.
As a professional in any industry, you will interact with people. How is it possible that we collaborate with people on a regular basis, yet one of the primary reasons projects fail is mismanaged expectations and unclear roles?
Let’s pretend you’re in charge of throwing a birthday party for your 8-year-old nephew. You know there needs to be a cake, decorations, a party location, invitations, and post-party clean up. You have a budget of $200 and your nephew’s birthday is in 4 weeks.
Your relatives, neighbors, and nephew’s classmates know you’re in charge of the party so you begin receiving a flood of opinions. The neighbors insist the theme should be trucks, while your relatives think it should be planes and rocket ships! You begin diverting your attention from securing a location, asking someone to create invitations, and baking a cake listening to highly interested, loud voices.
You don’t personally know your nephew’s classmates so you ask him who should be invited to the party. Once you get the guest list, you share this with your cousin who volunteered to create the invitation. Your cousin is a social butterfly who loves large gatherings and avoids conflict so when your nephew’s mom looks at the list, she tells your cousin to add some of her friends.
If you aren’t sensing some chaos, you should be! The project manager (party planner) began this project before identifying the stakeholders, detailing their expectations, and analyzing how they contribute to achieving the desired project outcome.
In your professional life, you may not be planning a birthday party, but you will be working with stakeholders. And, as my mother says, “Where you spend your time is one of the most important decisions you can make.” So, make sure you know who to spend your time with, who is distracting you from completing your tasks, and who truly has the power/interest in this specific project.
A firm grasp of stakeholder engagement will help you navigate through these failure points, engage the right people involved in your project and build long-standing relationships that set you up for future success.
Stakeholder Engagement Essentials was written to provide foundational essentials to engage stakeholders along with practical techniques and tools to successfully navigate projects and relationships with people in an organization. Readers can apply what they learn anytime they need to move a project, a conversation, or an initiative forward.
Key learning objectives also include
- Understanding of the fundamentals of engaging stakeholders
- Helpful approaches and strategies to apply
- How to build a Stakeholder Engagement plan
- Responding to stakeholder scenarios.
By the end of Stakeholder Engagement Essentials, you, your colleagues, or your students will have the tools and a people-first orientation to projects.
Stakeholder Engagement Essentials is now available for readers and is a part of Vibrant Publisher’s Self-Learning Management series. This Series provides a jump start to working professionals, where their job roles demand the knowledge and skills imparted in a business school. On the heels of Project Management Essentials, this latest book in the series takes a deep drive into stakeholder engagement.
About the author
Michelle Bartonico is an experienced, solution-driven marketer and project manager with more than a decade of experience in higher education and marketing agencies serving clients in a breadth of industry verticals from healthcare to manufacturing. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), PROSCI certified change practitioner, Six Sigma Yellow Belt, and has completed the Google Project Management Career Certificate program. Michelle also earned a Search Engine Optimization specialization from UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education.