Navigating the S’s:Engaging Stakeholders for Project Success
Project Stakeholder Management has now been added to the 5th Edition of PMBOK Guide, and is in the new ISO PM Standard 21,500. But this is not a new topic; identification of and management to stakeholder expectations has been a best practice of competent and performing project managers for years. The Challenge: Some know the challenge of driving the “Esses;” the series of curves on a racetrack. Just as this shows mastery for skilled drivers, skilled project managers appropriately navigate their S’s: Engaging Stakeholders early and often is a key differentiator for outstanding project managers. But just how do outstanding performers engage stakeholders? Are their actions intuitive? Can they be learned? How do we know if the actions we take are effective? And, whose job is it to achieve all this? A Solution: Early stakeholder engagement is a critical success factor in all projects. There are excellent ways to achieve that engagement. This is a key insight, because without early engagement, stakeholders are not on board. Given that insight, the proper timing and processes for achieving later engagement can easily follow. Of course, the right roles must take responsibility for this initial stakeholder engagement, and the ongoing care of that engagement, all the way through Benefits Realization. The Result: Just as navigating the “Esses” in racing differentiates winning drivers from others, the same applies in managing the SSS’s in the world of project managers. Engaged Stakeholders know the business results they seek, and evaluate all in-project actions needed to assure a winning project at the time of Benefit Realization.
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