How to Manage Stakeholder Expectations and Ensure Project Success

Managing stakeholder expectations is a crucial part of any project. Failure to manage stakeholder expectations can lead to misunderstandings, dissatisfaction, and project failure. In this article, we will discuss the importance of identifying stakeholders, managing their expectations, and building positive relationships with them.

The first step in managing stakeholder expectations is to identify all stakeholders involved in the project. Stakeholders can be sponsors, customers, team members, and suppliers. It is important to map out all stakeholders and keep an eye on this activity throughout the project. This is because stakeholders can change over time, and new stakeholders can emerge as the project progresses.

Once all stakeholders have been identified, it is essential to start managing their expectations through regular communication and follow-up. Establish an open line of communication with stakeholders to ensure they are aware of the project’s progress, risks, and issues. Regular updates through emails, meetings, or other means of communication can help manage stakeholder expectations. However, it is important to note that the goal is not to keep everyone happy, as this can cause the project to go outside the predetermined scope. The primary aim is to ensure that everyone understands the project’s status and why certain decisions are made.

Another critical aspect of managing stakeholder expectations is being prepared for any changes that might occur. Every time you give feedback on specific topics of the project, the answer can entail a potential scope change. Be proactive in communicating these changes and their impact on the project.

In addition, it is particularly important to build positive relationships with everyone involved. You will need their trust and support to achieve project success. This doesn’t mean that you have to pamper everyone, but rather that you need to communicate clearly, to the point, and at regular intervals. If stakeholders have not received status updates for a long time, this can sour the relationship. Building a positive relationship can help solve problems before they arise.