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CHALLENGING STAKEHOLDERS! HOW TO EFFECTIVELY MANAGE STAKEHOLDERS

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
A lot of our clients ask for candidates, particularly Project Managers and Business Analysts, with strong stakeholder management skills but what does this actually mean? 

When candidates say “I am confident when dealing with difficult stakeholders” or “I have strong stakeholder management skills”, what is it that you are actually doing? 

What is it that you are doing to effectively manage your stakeholders? 

From speaking to both Project Managers and Business Analysts I have come up with a list of the most common and seemingly most effective ways to manage stakeholders. 

1. Ensure all project stakeholders agree on project deliverables by managing their expectations upfront: 
Doing this from the onset is possible the most important aspect of effectively managing stakeholders. Managing expectations and agreeing a set time scale that all involved can adhere to, ensures that that when there are issues with the project it has been agreed upfront how to handle these issues. 

Stakeholders will always demand “more” and “faster”.  The key challenge is managing those expectations in a manner which isn’t perceived to be negative. Stakeholders will never want a poor quality project at a high risk, so make sure that the compromises on quality or business risk are clear at the start and let the stakeholders feel they are driving the decision-making process.

2. Communication, communication, communication: 
Again this is something that needs to be decided before the project has started. Agreeing on the best method of communication from the onset makes sure that everyone is clear on the best from of contacting each member of the team, whether that be phone, email, IM or video conferencing. 

3. Keep stakeholders engaged throughout the process by demonstrating that you are in control: 
Stakeholder engagement is a must when you are working on any project, but demonstrating that you are in control throughout the process is just as important. This come from you understanding the projects details and being able to articulate and communicate these to the stakeholders. 

4. Empathise with the stakeholders and review the process: 
Having the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a key part of the process, it is crucial to the success or failure of the project. 

It would be great to hear your thoughts on how you effectively manage stakeholders and what you think is the most effective method of managing stakeholders. 
What challenges have you faced whilst handling stakeholders and how have you overcome then? 

Comment below or tweet me @Sophia_Amsource with your thoughts.

Read more of Sophia's blogs by clicking here. 
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