Project Management Guide
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What Is Project Stakeholder Management?

Managing stakeholder expectations is often difficult due to conflicting objectives. For example: say one key stakeholder (the CFO) wants a new IT system that costs the least, while another stakeholder group (the IT team) wants the system with the most powerful functionality. How do you resolve these conflicting demands? Generally, the solution should be resolved to meet the customer's needs as the customer will be using the product or service. However, this does not negate the needs and expectations of other stakeholders. A project manager will have to resolve differences like these amicably. It's one reason why project management can sometimes be a challenging job.

What is stakeholder analysis in project management?

Before any stakeholder management can occur, you need to know who your key stakeholders are. Stakeholder analysis is where you classify stakeholders and identify all their needs and requirements. Part of this analysis includes their information needs. Once you're assembling the project communications plan, you must know:

  • What information they will need
  • The sources for that information
  • The methods and technology you will use to deliver the info

Why is project stakeholder management important?

Any project is a success if it meets its objectives and fulfills (or ideally, exceeds) the expectations of its project stakeholders. It is the project manager's responsibility to manage — and even influence — key stakeholders' expectations as well as requirements. This is why project stakeholder management is crucial for project success. To fully understand who stakeholders are and how they wield so much influence over a project, visit our ‘who is a stakeholder in project management’ page.

Strategies for project stakeholder management

How do you deal with specific key stakeholders? What are some good strategies for managing their expectations and reporting to them? We've outlined a few helpful tips below.

  • Customers: The key here is knowledge. Gathering data on the customer's needs, culture, business pains and then documenting it all before the project execution starts will always help when conflicts arise.
  • Project team members: The key to managing team expectations is constant communication. Schedule informal one-on-one meetings with each member to get insight into the group's mood. Let them know you can be approached any time.
  • Executives: The key here is presenting them with a comprehensive plan with milestones. Then continually update them on project risks based on their information needs.
  • Resource managers: The key here is establishing a good relationship. If you are in good standing with a resource manager, your requests for equipment or manpower will never be roadblocked.

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