Understanding the Relevance of Project Stakeholder Management
Completing a project successfully requires efficient management and fulfilling a lot of conditions. You would have heard the word project several times. How can we define a project? It is a temporary endeavour undertaken by a group of people to develop a product, service or any desired end characterized by a set of goals.
Project is usually carried out by a team that works together for a certain period and the process goes through different stages. Every process should have proper planning and management to ensure that it will attain the predetermined goals.
Project management is ‘the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements’. Let's have a look at the different aspects of project management.
Five steps in project management
Following are the five major steps in project management:
- Project initiation: This is the first stage in project management and it defines the project at a broad level. The key personalities will determine the feasibility of the project to decide if it is possible or not. Once the project gets a nod from the concerned decision-makers, they will need to figure out its purpose and requirements.
- Project planning: The next step is to define the scope, the timeline, and the cost of a project. Though this may change during different stages of the project, it is necessary to go ahead with a proper plan.
- Project execution: This stage involves the most important ‘action’ as everything which was planned earlier will be implemented here. Usually, this stage starts with a meeting wherein the team members are informed about their duties and responsibilities.
- Project monitoring and control: Every procedure needs to be monitored consistently to ensure that everything progresses as per the plan. Project managers will rely on the KPIs to confirm that the project is on the right track.
- Project closure: This is the final stage in project management when the project is completed and approved. The important task which the project managers have to do here is the evaluation of the project. They will conduct a meeting to analyze the benefits and also the shortfalls that can be improved in future projects.
What is project stakeholder management
Every project will have stakeholders and it is the responsibility of the project managers to satisfy their needs and requirements. Who is a stakeholder in project management? Any person who has a vested interest in the project can be called a stakeholder. There will be stakeholders who have benefits as a result of the project and also those who may have a negative impact. While those in the first category will support the project, the latter category may hinder the development.
A project will have several stakeholders which include the person in an organization who is responsible for decision-making and allocating resources for a project, the customer, subcontractors, and suppliers. Though the project manager may not be able to satisfy all the stakeholders, it is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the key stakeholders as they have the authority to make or break the project.
When managing a stakeholder, a project manager should take all factors into consideration and satisfy both the categories for the smooth progress of the project.
Types of stakeholders
There are mainly two types of stakeholders in project management—internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders are the people inside an organization who are directly affected by the project outcome, as the employees. External stakeholders are the people who are not part of an organization like the vendors and suppliers.
Why is project stakeholder management important
The project managers should identify all the stakeholders involved in a project to ensure that their expectations and requirements are properly fulfilled. Good project managers will identify the stakeholders, understand their roles, expectations and resolve the conflicts in the early stages. Understanding the needs of the stakeholders and how it influences the success of the project is the responsibility of the project managers as well as all the team members.
Another important aspect to consider is that all stakeholders don’t require the same information at the same time. The project manager should know who should be informed about what. Good stakeholder management also helps to identify all the risks associated with the project and resolve them at the right time. Communication with them will enable the project managers to understand the factors that can have a direct or indirect impact on the project.
Engaging the key stakeholders throughout the project is beneficial in creating a perception of success. Efficient communication with them will make them feel as their expectations are taken into consideration and the project will serve its purpose at the end. As the project may not be able to deliver exactly what they promised, the communication with the stakeholders will help them maintain realistic expectations about the project outcome.
Once the project is approved and the product or service is delivered to the customers, the chances of rejection are rare since they have been involved in each stage of the project development. Effective stakeholder management is an important part of project management and plays a pivotal role in determining the success of the project.