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By: Zana Green on December 1st, 2023

The Importance of Project Stakeholder Management

Your relationship with stakeholders can make or break your project’s success. So just who are your project stakeholders, and how can you make sure to build and maintain a strong relationship with them? Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have an impact on or are affected by a project. Having a strong relationship with stakeholders builds trust and support for a project, enables a speedy resolution of any potential conflicts, and fosters communication of timely updates and developments. In this article, we will cover how to organize, maintain, and improve relationships with project stakeholders.


Identify the Stakeholders

Knowing all the individuals or groups who are impacted by or have an impact on your project is key. These stakeholders could include customers, employees, suppliers, sponsors, regulators, or even investors. Knowing your stakeholders helps you understand their needs, interests, perspectives, and expectations. Identifying stakeholders is a crucial step in project management as it helps in determining the individuals or groups who have a vested interest in the project updates, who specifically have a say in the decision-making process, and who should be informed of project outcomes.

By identifying and engaging with these stakeholders early in the project planning process, project managers can ensure that their needs and expectations are considered and accounted for within the project plan itself. This can help to build trust, increase project support, and ultimately lead to a more successful project outcome. This can be an ongoing process throughout the project lifecycle, and it requires effective communication, active listening, and stakeholder engagement strategies.

Understand Their Needs

Stakeholders can have a significant impact on the success of a project, so understanding their needs is essential in order to implement a project plan, including scope and timeline, that meets their requirements. Stakeholders play an important role in defining the success criteria, often in measurable and tangible outcomes. These may include financial returns, number of event registrations, or customer engagement scores.

Understanding these needs involves gathering information, actively listening, setting expectations, and analyzing information gathered to identify their priorities, communication preferences, and expectations. Project managers must also consider the stakeholders’ interests, concerns, and constraints. Once the criteria are defined, the project manager can use this as a guide for planning, execution, and monitoring.


Regular Communication

Always communicate regularly with stakeholders as they must be kept informed and engaged throughout the project lifecycle to see progress. Project managers should establish a communication plan that defines the frequency and method of communication. This can include regular status updates, meetings, emails, or reports. Effective communication requires active listening, responsive feedback, and the ability to adapt to different communication styles for each stakeholder.

Manage expectations

Project managers should make sure that stakeholders have realistic and achievable expectations about the project’s outcomes and manage feedback or concerns as needed. This also means to be transparent about potential risks and challenges early on and as any arise. Being proactive goes a long way when addressing potential conflicts before they escalate. Sharing risks and mitigation approaches upfront will establish trust, increase collaboration, and, ultimately, lead to a more successful outcome.


Measure success

At the end of a project, the project manager should measure success by evaluating how well they were able to meet the needs and expectations of the stakeholders. This means looking beyond just the project deliverables and considering how they feel about the project overall. For example, did they feel heard and valued throughout the project? Were their concerns addressed in a timely and effective manner? Did they feel their input was taken into account during the decision-making process? It’s important to consider whether the project met its goals while keeping stakeholders happy. This means maintaining open lines of communication and demonstrating a willingness to collaborate. If stakeholders feel satisfied with the outcome of the project management, that is a strong indicator of success. If there were areas that were identified as needing improvement, offer to collaborate on an approach that can be implemented for future projects.


In conclusion, we’ve covered how best to organize, maintain, and improve stakeholder relationships through strong project management. From identifying stakeholders to understand their needs and expectations to communicating on a regular basis and keeping the stakeholders informed, all the way to evaluating the project’s success, by following these key strategies, project managers can forge strong relationships with stakeholders, build trust, and achieve project success.

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