Understanding the Needs of Stakeholders
How do you turn the needs of stakeholders into project success?
Well important to the needs of stakeholders are a short list of soft issues that do not cost a bundle, but make a significant difference when implementing projects. I consider these points to be a vital link in achieving successful organizational change. They really do make a difference.
I have listed these points from my experiences working as a change management consultant aiming to improve my client's business operational performance. Various types of stakeholders over time have expressed these points as important to me, and others I have learnt along the way.
You can depend on these points when dealing with the needs of stakeholders to provide you peace of mind.
In Summary the Key Needs of Stakeholders Are:-
Below I have explained each of these points in more detail.
Review with the Various Types of Stakeholders their Needs and Wants
All stakeholders have a need to know they are important to the business when making new plans etc. Provide stakeholders an understanding of both theirs and the projects impact on the business by involving them in the forming of the project and when planning implementation. This enhances their feelings about the likely hood of being successful and their willingness to perform their work effectively.
Benefits to the business are even greater because early involvement of the various types of stakeholders allows the project to reflect and balance their different needs and points of view. It help's to minimize the possibility of disagreements and conflict during the implementation about final decisions that have been made. And it further helps the company because it demonstrates that the needs of stakeholders are seen to be treated equitably.
Formation and implementation areas for early involvement of stakeholders include:
Project Evaluation Criteria and Risk
I have identified one of the needs of stakeholders is the communication of the 'go ahead'. This is a type of official notification to stakeholders that provides reassurances. It highlights the key project phases that are planned for, the project milestones that are in place, and that the company is capable of achieving them. This could be delivered as part of standard company communication methods, or as some type of special get together or 'state of the nation'.
A Steering Committee They Feel Considers and Respects Their Views.
Needs of stakeholders include having a steering committee responsible for the development of implementation activities and to maintain any aspects that can affect the stakeholders well being.
Assessment of the projects current status against the original project objectives is one of the fundamental needs of stakeholders. This includes reassurances for the future, the 'where to from here' to address future relevance concerns.
When possible tie this reporting and evaluation feedback in with ongoing future plans that are to be communicated.
Stakeholder satisfaction surveys may be undertaken at the end of the project to be included in feedback to all stakeholders. The overall level of satisfaction from all types of stakeholders and how well they believe the objectives have been achieved is collated. Sharing the combined results further addresses the information and reporting needs of stakeholders and improves the likelihood of achieving sustainable and successful organizational change.
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