Dealing with stakeholders, especially difficult ones, can be among a project manager’s more frustrating responsibilities. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) 2013 PMBOK, a project stakeholder is “an individual, group, or organization, who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project.”
Most project managers depend on the old model of “managing stakeholders,” which entails keeping project stakeholders informed, updated, and monitored to ensure steady, efficient progress. As you can imagine, communication is key. So is consistent engagement:
Stakeholder management needs to focus more on engagement in order to move projects from installation to implementation. …Projects should start with the premise that identifying a range of stakeholders and engaging with them in a consistent and organized manner will improve project success. (Engaging Stakeholders for Project Success, pmi.org 2015)
In her insightful article How to Train Your Sponsor, Laura Barnard, PMP (PMOstrategies.com) indicates that “the number one factor in determining success or failure of your change initiative is…sponsor engagement.” Barnard goes beyond communication and trust to provide several ways that sponsors—who can be considered stakeholders themselves—can be motivated and engaged to become an effective part of project management.
But what about the difficult stakeholders?
Effective project management requires learning how to move beyond the traditional approach of “managing stakeholders” to a more modern approach: making stakeholders your partners. Partnership creates a sense of ownership that allows intuitive buy-in from all stakeholders on the project. Successful partnerships also mitigate risk.
There is a strong correlation between stakeholder management and risk management. Without the buy-in and full commitment from stakeholders, projects, regardless of their success factors, are at high risk for failure. (7 tips to transform difficult stakeholders into project partners, by Moira Alexander, via CIO.com)
The Educational Alliance of NOVA Workforce Development Division and PMIWDC are presenting a Project Management Training Seminar for project managers and PMPs to discover a new approach of making stakeholders your partners.
- Examine recommendations in the PMBOK Guide for providing foundational structures and processes that can save you and your organization time and money.
- Introduce negotiating and conflict management techniques that have proven track records.
- Provide tips for dealing with difficult stakeholders and situations.
This workshop is presented by Ron Taylor, an internationally-known leader, lecturer, author, and consultant, as well as the principal and founder of the Ron Taylor Group. He is a past President of the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMIWDC.org), the largest PMI Chapter in the world with over 10,000 members.
This course has passed.
I originally wrote this post for NOVA Workforce Development Division’s blog.