Are You a “Good” Stakeholder?

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?”.


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