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The Value of Taking Time for Stakeholder Assessments

Effective Skills AssessmentsA stakeholder assessment is one way to understand your stakeholders and their expectations on the project. Stakeholder assessments enables for sharing information about the initiative with the stakeholders but also ensuring you understand their concerns about the initiative. This is the opportunity to get champions on the project and to determine who are resisters – those you will need to win over. And, stakeholder assessments enables for relationship building overall. The stronger relationships with stakeholders, the more easily you can influence them to participate in the initiative.

Take these best practice steps in assessing your stakeholders on your next initiative:

  1. Identify your stakeholders and determine how the project will impact them, or how they might impact the project. Categorize them by leadership, individual contributors, middle management, vendors and other appropriate categories for your organization.
  2. Prioritize your list of stakeholders – those who can most affect the project, or who need to be most involved in the project should be at a higher priority. The higher the power and higher the interest they have, the more you will need to focus on keeping them engaged in the project. However, don’t assume that an individual contributor may not be worth focusing on to engage in the project. Individual contributors may have great influence in the organization and could derail your project if not kept engaged.
  3. Get to know your stakeholders – communicate with them in a variety of ways whether via email, a project portal, small groups meetings or one-on-one. Your goal is to get to know them and their interest in the project, as well as their perceptions of the project through asking a variety of questions and engaging them in the project. Regular and consistent communications is essential from the early stages through to project implementation.

By taking the time to get to know your stakeholders and understand how the project may impact them, you are better able to get what you need for a successful project. You will also be better able to convert resisters to the initiative into champions who support your project.

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