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Stakeholder Engagement


Am Aishwarya. This is my first blog. I have 7+ years of experience in project management(traditional/agile/hybrid) Most part of project management is stakeholder engagement. For a project to turn out successful, stakeholder engagement is key. In this blog, let us learn


1. What is a stakeholder

2. Who are stakeholders,

3. What does it mean to engage a stakeholder effectively

4. Critical soft skills required to engage a stakeholder and

5. How does engaging stakeholder impact project/product success


1. Who is called a stakeholder?

A stakeholder is anyone who can impact the project positively

and negatively. A Stakeholder is anyone whose interest is positively or negatively impacted by project outcomes.


2. Who are your stakeholders? They could be internal or external.

Internal stakeholders: product owners, project team, sponsors, and Board

External stakeholders: Customer, competitors, suppliers, partners etc


3. What does it mean to engage your stakeholder?


It means to keep them participated. It means keeping them involved. Speak to them, gather their requirements, feedback, ask them

Do you like this?

Do you not like this?

Should I change this?

Should I change them?


Stakeholder engagement is not something that is done at the beginning of the project.

It is something that should be done all throughout the project. Effective engagement of stakeholders early and throughout the project is an important success factor for agile teams.


4. Critical soft skills required to engage a stakeholder effectively


Emotional Intelligence


Our skill or the ability to identify, assess, influence, the emotions of ourselves and others around us. We need to recognize our own feeling so that we can learn how to response to others and how they feel

When you are communicating with your stakeholders you need to understand they are happy, they are concerned about something. Therefore, agile teams prefer face to face communication becomes it really allows you to see emotions.



Negotiation


Good negotiations will allow everyone to investigate the options and the trade offs.

You are going to be negotiating with users for requirements and how to get it done.

You are going to be negotiating with team members. You are going to be negotiating with vendors, senior management, and so on.



Active listening


Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. It is an important first step to defuse the situation and seek solutions to problems. Active listening enables better facilitation and helps in building bond and trust among team members and stakeholders



Facilitation


Facilitation is a service of assistance you provide to a group of people to make decisions and achieve goals collaboratively based on those decisions. The action of facilitation smoothens and optimizes the process of achieving the goal. Facilitation helps

  • Help identify the problems,

  • Solve the problems and

  • Make decisions.



Conflict resolution


All projects will have conflicts. People have conflicts and disagreements. Its just human nature. Some level of conflicts are good because they give way to problem solving and sharing lot of information. Some conflicts may not be good for the project and so we shouldn’t let it escalate too much.


Participatory decision model


It's just easy ways of getting them to participate and get them engaging in on your decision making. Engaging stakeholders in participatory decision models can be done by simple voting, thumbs up/down/sideways, fist of five and sever other methods



5. How effectively engaging stakeholders contribute to project success



· They are going to give you requirements. Understanding their requirements can enable better outcome.

· Stakeholders impact the performance. They may speed you up or slow you

down because they may say something is good or something is not good.

You may have to redo a lot of work or you may just keep going fast.

· They affect the outcome because it is the customers that really defines if the project is going to be successful or not.

· They help identifying risk and issues early in the project

· Value at the end of the project is going to be high if stakeholders are engaged why because they were more participating in the development of the product.


Effective stakeholder management can make or break a project


I hope this quick read provided insight about importance of stakeholder engagement in any project.



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