My Stakeholders Aren’t Involved – How Do I Change That?

It can be easy to lose sight of things and take the view that the most important people in your project are those who make up your team. However, that’s not the case. While you and your team are certainly central to the success of the project, there are many others that need to be involved. These are your stakeholders. If they’re not involved, you can face many different issues, and run the risk of your project falling flat on its face. What should you do if your stakeholders aren’t involved?
Include Them
A lack of stakeholder involvement might have nothing to do with a lack of interest on their part. It might be something as simple as you not including them in your communications. Actively involving your stakeholders in regular communications not only shows them that they are vital to the project, but that their input is valued. Of course, communicating with stakeholders can be time consuming, particularly if you’re using outmoded methods (like actually calling them on the phone or speaking in person). To foster the best engagement with them, make sure you have project management software that offers collaborative capabilities, and then engage your stakeholders though that medium.
Foster Trust
Project managers should not find this surprising, but many stakeholders don’t trust them or their teams. This is because traditional project management hasn’t always provided good results (failure is all too common). However, you can foster better trust with your stakeholders in a number of ways, including implementing Agile concepts in your project, providing better functionality, and actively including them in conversation, decisions and other project areas (such as using software as mentioned previously).
Outflank Dissenters
It’s natural to have at least one stakeholder that you simply cannot engage, that resolutely refuses to come around. When this occurs, it’s important that you find a workaround. You can do this easily by ensuring that the other stakeholders involved with the project are in agreement and on the same page as you. In most instances, the dissenting stakeholder will be forced to go along with the general consensus.
Define Your Stakeholders at the Outset
In order to ensure that you are doing your job and engaging your stakeholders, you obviously have to know who they are. You need to determine this from the very outset of your project. Stakeholders come in all types, but you’ll find that these are all individuals who have an interest in the project, have ownership in or of it, or who exert influence over part of or the entire project. They can be within your own company, within a client company, or they can even be end consumers or product testers.
With the information above, you should find engaging your stakeholders and keeping them interested and involved in your project a simpler process. However, it is vital that you take active steps to engage your stakeholders from the beginning of the project to avoid serious problems down the road.

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