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Effective Stakeholder Management For Software Teams

August 30, 2023
Effective Stakeholder Management For Software Teams
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Stakeholder engagement entails fostering positive connections with individuals who wield significant influence over your endeavors. Crafting tailored communications for each stakeholder can substantially contribute to maintaining their alignment with your objectives.

In this article we delve into the art of effective stakeholder communication. However, before delving into techniques, it's crucial to ascertain the identity of these crucial figures.

To initiate, we suggest acquainting yourself with proper Stakeholder Analysis. By writing down a graph and pinpointing key stakeholders evaluating their potency, sway, and vested interest, you can have a better track of the professional relationship methods which are more suitable for each individual.

Like many of you, we use JIRA for our project management, and confluence docs linked to each project are comfortable to store proper information about the goals and the stakeholders involved.

Nearly every project involves collaboration with other individuals. Chances are high that you'll rely on several of them for pivotal support, investment, and resources.

The manner in which you oversee your stakeholders hinges on:

  1. The project's scale and intricacy. This assessment could involve comparing it to prior undertakings, scrutinizing project milestones, evaluating the resource demand, or considering the allocated time.
  2. The extent of assistance necessary to attain your desired outcomes. This encompasses sponsorship, expert counsel, physical resources, quality evaluations, and more.
  3. The time available for communication. It's essential to manage the time allocated for communication, particularly if your project hinges on substantial stakeholder input. Allocating ample time for communication is often more beneficial than attempting to proceed without the requisite aid or input.

Stakeholder Interaction

You can commence devising a communication strategy for your stakeholders after plotting them on a impact/Interest Grid, such as our interactive example.

Remember, the objective of your stakeholder communication is to secure and retain their backing for your project. Follow these five steps to achieve this goal:

  1. Summarize Each Stakeholder's Position

Use our Stakeholder Communications worksheet and populate the Stakeholder Name column with the names of principal stakeholders identified on your Impact/Interest Grid.

In the Key Interests and Issues column, incorporate each stakeholder's level of influence and their focal points concerning your task or project. Subsequently, in the Current Status column, input your evaluation of their stance: "Advocate," "Supporter," "Neutral," "Critic," or "Blocker."

  1. Determine Your Expectations from Each Stakeholder

Examine your roster of stakeholders and contemplate the level of backing you desire from each one: High, Medium, or Low. Record this value in the Desired Support column on your worksheet.

Additionally, consider the role you envision for each stakeholder in your project, if any. Do you require constant technical support, or sporadic guidance? Detail this in the Desired Project Roles column.

Strive to be explicit about your expectations from stakeholders. If certain actions are imperative to project progress, document them in the Actions Desired column of your worksheet. Ensure you can elucidate the significance of these actions.

  1. Pinpoint Your Principal Message for Each Stakeholder

Subsequently, ponder over what you must convey to convince stakeholders to rally behind your project and actively engage with it.

What's the payoff for them? Accentuate the advantages your project will bestow upon the organization or the individuals involved. Emphasize pivotal performance catalysts, such as bolstering profitability or effecting tangible enhancements.

Note the main details in the Required column of your worksheet.

  1. Determine Your Approach to Stakeholder Communication

How will you oversee communication with stakeholders and solicit their input?

In each column, outline the most suitable strategy for each stakeholder. Choices encompass "Close Management," "Satisfaction Maintenance," "Informed Updates," or "Monitoring."

Start with the most pivotal stakeholders and address less critical ones subsequently (revisit your Impact/Interest Grid if necessary). Construct a plan that conveys information as succinctly and effectively as feasible, offering apt information quantities.

Ponder how frequently each stakeholder anticipates updates and in which format. Would they prefer emails, face-to-face meetings, visual presentations like Gantt charts, etc.? Remember, the aim is to sustain stakeholder engagement and backing, hence, avoid overwhelming them or squandering their time.

Likewise, strategize on converting skeptics into supporters or neutral parties. For instances where their active backing is indispensable, contemplate methods to pique their interest. Perhaps showcasing a prototype of your novel product or enlisting another influential stakeholder to present the project could prove efficacious.

Capture your strategies in the Action and Communication column of your worksheet.

  1. Execute Your Stakeholder Management Plan

With your plan primed, you can commence execution.

Aim to integrate Stakeholder Management seamlessly into your project's framework, rather than relegating it to a peripheral task. As with any strategy, breaking it down into manageable, sequential steps simplifies implementation.

Recall that projects often evolve en route. Consequently, stakeholders' demands may also shift. Regularly reassess your plan to ensure sustained, effective communication with the most influential stakeholders throughout your project's lifespan.

Originally published on linkedin

Anastasia Romashkan

Experienced account growth specialist and project manager at Onectus technologies

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