Managing Stakeholders’ Expectations in Projects

A tale that echoes through the corridors of every boardroom and office is a story of expectations, and the delicate dance between expectations and people. To manage expectations one must create an atmosphere of collaboration, communication, and compromise.

This is where Stakeholder Management comes into play, a process of maintaining good relationships with the people who have the most impact on your work. Communicating with each one in the right way can play a vital part in keeping them “on board.”

Developing a communications strategy

According to recent research by the Project Management Institute (PMI), 56% of project failures can be attributed to poor communication, with stakeholders often left adrift in a sea of uncertainty. This underscores the critical importance of clear, consistent communication in managing stakeholders’ expectations. As a project manager or sponsor, your role extends far beyond the confines of spreadsheets and Gantt charts; you are the beacon guiding the ship through turbulent waters.

Developing an effective communication strategy for stakeholder engagement is essential in project management. These are ways to ensure great stakeholder management.

1.   Assess Stakeholder Status

Utilize tools like the Power/Interest Grid to identify key stakeholders. Summarize each stakeholder’s status by evaluating their level of influence and interest in the project, categorizing them as “Advocate,” “Supporter,” “Neutral,” “Critic,” or “Blocker.”

2.   Determine Desired Support and Roles

Define the level of support needed from each stakeholder and outline the desired role they should play in the project. Specify actions required from them and articulate the significance of their involvement.

3.  Craft Persuasive Messages

Tailor key messages to each stakeholder, emphasizing the benefits the project brings to them or the organization. Utilize tools like the Persuasion Tools Model to ensure messages resonate effectively with stakeholders’ needs and preferences.

4.   Choose a Communication Approach

Select appropriate communication strategies for each stakeholder, considering factors such as frequency of updates and preferred communication channels. Prioritize important stakeholders and tailor communication plans to keep them engaged and informed while avoiding overload.

5.   Implement Stakeholder Management Plan

Research from the International Journal of Project Management suggests that organizations with strong stakeholder engagement practices are 64% more likely to meet project objectives. Cultivating meaningful relationships with stakeholders, not only mitigate risks but also unlock new opportunities for innovation and collaboration. Integrate stakeholder management as a core aspect of the project rather than an ancillary task. Break down the plan into manageable steps and execute them systematically to ensure effective stakeholder engagement throughout the project lifecycle.

iCentra’s project management solution shines, offering tailored communication strategies and customizable solutions to address the unique needs of each organization. With iCentra’s customized project management and sourcing solutions at your disposal, you possess the tools to navigate the choppy waters of stakeholder expectations with confidence. Whether it’s streamlining communication channels, tracking progress in real-time, or proactively identifying potential roadblocks, iCentra empowers you to steer your projects toward success.

As you embark on your next project, remember managing stakeholders’ expectations is about forging enduring partnerships and charting a course toward shared prosperity. So, set sail with purpose, navigate with care, and always keep your compass pointed toward the horizon of possibility. After all, in the grand adventure of project management, the journey is just as important as the destination.


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