What are key principles of stakeholder engagement

Answered by Dipesh Bhardwaj

Stakeholder engagement and stakeholder management are arguably the most important ingredients for successful project delivery, and yet are often regarded as a fringe activity or one that can be outsourced to business-as-usual functions. Project managers depend on people to respond to the outputs and benefits that they deliver. People will only respond if they are engaged. The phrase “stakeholder management" implies that these people can be made to respond positively to a project, but the truth is that a project manager frequently has no formal power of authority and therefore must rely on engagement to achieve his/her objectives.

1. Communicate

Before aiming to engage and influence stakeholders, it’s crucial to seek to understand the people you will be working with and relying on throughout the phases of the project lifecycle. Sharing information with stakeholders is important, but it is equally important to first gather information about your stakeholders

2.Remember, they’re only human

Accept that humans do not always behave in a rational, reasonable, consistent or predictable way and operate with an awareness of human feelings and potential personal agendas. By understanding the root cause of stakeholder behavior, you can assess if there is a better way to work together to maintain a productive relationship

3.Plan it!

A more conscientious and measured approach to stakeholder engagement is essential and therefore encouraged. Investment in careful planning before engaging stakeholders can bring significant benefits.

Simple, but not easy

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