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Here’s a joke question about stakeholder management:
Why did the stakeholder cross the road?
Because their project manager said everything was going well and they should come over to verify it with their own eyes…unannounced.
Ghosting a project manager is as easy as ignoring voicemails and ignoring email inquiries asking about content.
They were looking for a buzzword or trending method to bring back to their project manager so that they could immediately implement the mid-project.
It is illegal to apply for a job at a completely different company without informing their project manager and having a backup stakeholder available to take their place.
If you answered “A, B, C, D”, this article is for you.
What you’ll learn in this Stakeholder Management Article
After you have had a good laugh and before you start to roll your eyes at your stakeholders, I want you to understand my intent for this article.
First, I want you to be aware of the many stakeholder types and try to identify the most common ones with which I have worked in my career as project manager. These include:
Secondly, I want to provide insight on how to best approach these different types of stakeholders–whether you work with one or multiple per project.
Don’t judge your stakeholders
My goal is to inspire you, dear Project Manager, to look beyond judgment of your stakeholders–regardless of their title, preference to discuss everything over the phone instead of email, or that they still think a “hamburger menu” is something poorly laminated and found on a dirty table at their nearest dive bar. You will be able tap into empathy and see how you can improve your stakeholder management style to maximize the collaboration with each stakeholder.
Let’s get on with it! Let’s start with this:
What is a stakeholder?
A stakeholder can be an individual, group, or organization that is affected by the outcome of a project. They are interested in the success or failure of the project, regardless if they are part of the sponsoring organization.
This is a good definition of stakeholder. But if you don’t like it, this PMI article will provide a deeper definition. This definition clearly demonstrates the shared interest of stakeholder in the project. I am often confronted with project managers who treat their stakeholders like an entity whose sole purpose it is to slow down the process, rob the team of their assets, and make life difficult for everyone. Your stakeholders are affected by the project’s outcome (just like you!) Any conflict between you and your stakeholders is likely to be due to the unavoidable delta between their expectations, and reality. The outcome of any negotiation between stakeholders and you will be affected by how you manage their expectations.
How can we reduce or eliminate this delta? Communication, definition, internal communication, and then, you guessed it, some more communication.
Because communication is so important in managing stakeholders, I recommend you to check out this guide on creating a communication plan.
It is important to identify the stakeholders we are working with in order to determine how best we can collaborate with them.
Types of Stakeholders
Your client’s project might have multiple stakeholders depending on its size. The four types of stakeholders in the digital industry can be described in the same way product managers approach stakeholder management strategy.
Here are some bris