ran across an interesting blog post this week from Chris Woodill on how to be an effective stakeholder. This post intrigued me because it examined the project team/stakeholder relations dynamic from the stakeholder angle rather than the putting all of the onus on the project team. I have summarized some of Chris’ vision of the expected stakeholder roles and his counsel to stakeholders on “how not to drop the ball”.
“Good” stakeholders need to:
- Make decisions – making decisions is the stakeholder’s primary responsibility
- Approve documents – timely approvals of decisions and documents
- Offer opinion and feedback -provide actionable feedback that can be translated into actions, revisions or improvements
- Solicit feedback – help explain, sell concepts and capture feedback from the broader community
- Support the team externally – evangelize the project, boost team confidence and help get organizational buy-in
- Maintain a high bar of expectations – demand excellence from the team
In addition, “good” stakeholders should:
- Be prepared for all meetings – take the time to do your homework before all meetings
- Make decisions and offer feedback in a timely manner – don’t delay the project by being late
- Be nice to the team – don’t bully the team
- Articulate requirements clearly – if you are the domain expert, you need to provide clear and complete requirements to the team
- Embed themselves into the team as much as possible – refrain from making us and them distinctions
Being a “good” stakeholder can make a massive difference in the success of a project and minimize project risk at the same time.
If you’re on a project team, you may want to forward this to your stakeholder. If you’re a stakeholder, you may want to look in a mirror and ask yourself “am I a good stakeholder?”.