The best way to work effectively with your project’s different stakeholders is to first of all find out their expectations, what works (and doesn’t) for them. You may think you already know this, because a) you’ve worked with this person before on a different project, or b) you’ve worked with their colleague who does a similar job.
Beware making assumptions: the actor Henry Winkler said, “Assumptions are the termites of relationships”. So here are some smart questions for you to find out what makes your stakeholders tick, the better to be able to work with them and delivery your project brilliantly.
This isn’t about being manipulative: smart project managers get to know their stakeholders from the start, the better to communicate with and involve them.
Consider the following 10 questions about your key stakeholders:
- What do they want from this project, personally?
- How will they know it’s been a well-run project?
- What matters to them most about how this project is run?
- What information do they need?
- How do they prefer to get this information?
- What is the best way to communicate with them?
- What motivates them?
- What is their interest in this project?
- If their view of this project isn’t positive, should they be won round, if so how?
- What are their expectations of you?
The best way to answer these questions? Talk to your key stakeholders.
Most people will be only too happy to enlighten you.