When it comes to organising a PRINCE2 project, keeping your stakeholders interested can be a real problem. Whether they’re simply losing interest with the project or are becoming disenchanted with the changes you’re making, it is really important to ensure that these problems don’t mean you lose their support.
If you find this useful, you might also like our recent post on what to do when projects go wrong.
The best way to keep your stakeholders involved is by keeping up good communications with them – if you tell them what you’re doing and why, they’ll feel a part of the process and you will gain more of that valuable support.
Here are five great tips to help you communicate with your stakeholders.
5 Tips for Communicating with Project Stakeholders
1: Plan your Journey
Imagine the act of communication with your stakeholders as taking them on a journey. You will need to work out where the stakeholders currently are, as well as where you want them to be once you have explained your project to them. Once you have done this, you can plan the journey in between the two points, deciding on the amount of information you need to give them as well as when to give it.
2: The Four Steps
The journey mentioned before can be planned easily with the use of four steps. These four steps will help you decide what information needs to be given and what needs to be asked for at which times:
- Increase Knowledge. It is very important that the stakeholders know what is happening with your project, since this will make them feel involved.
- Increase Positivity. Make your stakeholders feel more positive about the project, thus increasing their interest and willingness to give support.
- Increase Support. This comes as part of increasing positivity, but may require some nudging on your part. You want your stakeholders to publicise your project, after all!
- Increase Involvement. Encourage your stakeholders to be involved with the project. This should have the added benefit of increasing the outcomes of the first three steps.
Using the four steps as a rough guide to your communications with your stakeholders will help you to focus on what is most important in your relationship, while moving the stakeholders further along the path to involvement.
3: Tailor your product to the stakeholder
If you want your stakeholders to be involved with your project, support it and endorse it, you are going to have to make it relevant for them (otherwise they won’t be interested). In order to do this properly, you need to take the time to understand your stakeholders. Here are some ways of doing this:
- Think of your stakeholders as individuals – try to find out what they think about and how they will react to changes to your product
- Find out their working interests – this will give you ideas on what to include in your project
- Balance your stakeholders – your sponsors and the consumers of the product will have different things they need from it
4: Stay Flexible
When you’re working on a project, you can’t always predict what will happen. Keep this in mind, and make your communications with your stakeholders flexible – it will really help if any unexpected setbacks occur.
Flexibility is also essential when you are attempting to tailor the product to your stakeholders. It will help you make changes without causing disruption to the work being done.
5: Keep Things Simple
Don’t overcomplicate anything! When you are communicating with your stakeholders, the most important thing is to make sure they understand what you are doing, and why.
Simplicity is also key when you are thinking about setting up your communications network. Make sure you are clear on
- What the purpose of each communications activity is
- Which stakeholders it is most important to communicate with
- Which methods of communications shall be used
- Who is responsible for each communications activity
If your structure stays simple, it will take a lot less time and a lot less effort.
Following these tips is not guaranteed to keep all you stakeholders involved – you will need a great deal of experience before that is possible! However, the tips will give you a good starting point to better communications and successful projects.
To learn more about stakeholder management in PRINCE2 projects, why not attend one of our PRINCE2 courses?
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