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Ah! That’s an interesting poser and a twisted one too. I was engrossed in a status update with a developer, and looking at the data on the table the achievements trailed way behind the projection. Puzzled, I probed “how will you manage to close the gap, even it means biting hard the weekend? My friend, it is still 24-hour day!” 

Staring hard at the table, he avoided my glare. “Realize what are the stakes?” He nodded, unable to frame a convincing response, he just employed body language. “Who are your stakeholders?” “You sir” “I am your Manager. Who are the stakeholders? What about the client” “Sir, as far I am concerned it is to you to whom I report.” Agreed. “But don’t you join me in the conference call with the client, and address the issues that lie in your scope of work?” This is the misconception about the basic premise about stakeholders as if they are the one seated way above. “Don’t you think you are one the stakeholders?” 

Raised eyebrows gave away his surprise, and I gently swivelled my chair to face him. Enough of data. We knew what exactly the progress is or rather how much of ground to cover. “Isn’t the stake high with regard to tasks assigned to you and the deliverables specified in the project plan?” 

“yes sir.”  

“What about your team mates, our management? Stakeholder doesn't focus the spotlight on the Client alone. You are as significant a stakeholder as an investor or the client. The people who directly or indirectly contribute and/or receive project deliverables. Right from Project Sponsors, Customers, the teams involved right from planning, scoping till end of the project closure.” Dispatching him to finish the pending work, I settle on my desk to share my thoughts about stakeholder management for the developer’s benefit and extended my audience by including you as well. Knowing your stakeholders is one of the key aspects of Risk Identification. If you don’t know all your stakeholders, that implicitly states an inherent risk already in your project. For every aspects of the project, identify the key stakeholder(s).

What is Stakeholder Management? 
Communicate the right things at the right time which will make the stakeholders in line with progress made in the Project. Last minute surprises are the least expected and any delay that’s visible should be informed well ahead. The worst would be an irate customer who might become bellicose but there won’t be any dent to your integrity. Good news can be deferred but bad news should never be delayed. Clear communication about respective stakeholder(s) in terms of expectation – what they expect and what’s expected of them - will provide clarity on their stake. Fair to set the right expectation – don’t go overboard or unrealistic. Its far better to buy time than fall behind to beseech for ‘few more days’. By managing the stakeholders throughout the project life cycle, ensure that risks are managed well. Stakeholder Management is one of the Mitigation for few of the risks. Specially, Risk transfer is one way through which risk can be mitigated, by effective stakeholder Management

Why do we have to manage Stakeholder?
Why do we manage the Project? We manage the project so that project is well organized for people to understand the plan, execution and tracked in all aspects (Scope, Cost, Schedule & Quality). Stakeholders are no different.

How do you do Manage Stakeholder?
Normally 90% of the stakeholder Management can be done with proper communication. By Proper Communication, we lay open the door and become transparent to earn the trust. So long there is nothing to hide, then nothing to fear about backlash. More often considerate clients offer counselling and even settle for trade-off in the good faith the goods will be delivered with ‘some delay’. Another important aspect of Stakeholder Management is to handle/address key stakeholder expectations formally in the projects. What do we mean Key Stakeholder? People who have authority to change the Project Scope, Cost or Schedule or who can influence in any of these three are considered as Key Stakeholders and they need to be consulted for every change in Scope, Schedule or Cost.

Engage your Stakeholder?  
The success of Stakeholder Management lies in the capacity to engage them throughout the project life cycle. If we fail to engage, then they may get disconnected from the project, which might turn to be a risk at a later point in time. Communication is important but not sufficient for successful Stakeholder Management. Engaging the stakeholders is considered as the key. 

How do you engage your Stakeholder?
Include key stakeholders in all decision making Get periodical feedback or review Incorporate the actions items into the project plan with the required changes recorded and necessary approvals from the concerned stakeholders. Get wish list/and future expectations and add it in backlog Anticipate expectation and get concurrence for due incorporation For more information, you can enroll for our Project Management certification training programs conducted at our site or your site or on-line class. View for more details.

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