In Stakeholder-led Project Management: Changing the Way We Manage Projects Louise M. Worsley sets out 6 principles for engaging project stakeholders.
I thought they were tenets worth sharing, so here they are along with my explanation of what they each mean to me. (Plus there’s a handy infographic if you scroll down.)
1. Stakeholders should have a say in decisions that affect them
You can’t do projects to people. Actually, you can try. I guarantee it won’t turn out well.
Talk to the people whose lives you are changing, even if the change appears to you to be very small.
2. Stakeholder participation includes the promise that their contributions will influence decisions… and they are told how
It isn’t enough to talk to people. You have to listen as well. When people give you their input, they deserve to have it incorporated where you can.
If you can’t incorporate it, at least let people know the reasons why so they aren’t disappointed later or feel that they have been ignored.
3. Stakeholder engagement seeks out those potentially affected by, or interested in, a decision
You have to go out and find your stakeholders. The easiest way to do this is to ask the stakeholders you know about to suggest other people you should be talking to. Keep expanding your network. There is nearly always someone else whom you could get involved.
4. Stakeholder engagement seeks input on how they may wish to participate
And accepts that some people may not wish to participate. Talk to your stakeholders about what engagement looks like to them and offer a range of ways for people to get involved with your project.
5. Stakeholder engagement provides information, time, and space to allow stakeholders to participate in a meaningful way
The important thing here – the takeaway for me – is space. Often stakeholders need longer than you expect to absorb the changes proposed by the project. Give them the space to reflect and the time to make the right choices.
6. It never hurts to be polite
I think Worsley has that one pretty sewn up!
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