Importance of Communicating with Project Stakeholders

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By PM Center Administration 

Project stakeholders are people who are involved in or affected by project activities, and include the project sponsor, project team, support staff, customers, users, suppliers, and even opponents of the project.  Project stakeholder are considered to be an individual or the group of the people who dream, plan, convey, and change the intentional forthcoming of the organization.

Knowing who your stakeholders are is important and the process begins by developing healthy relationships. They help decide on issues from the beginning, during planning and at execution of the project. Therefore, stakeholders should understand how the project functions, including the project scope, milestones and goals.

Communication is a critical element that all project managers Acknowledge, strategically manage and overcome to ensure project completion and overall success of the project.  Development and implementation of a diversified communication plan which meets the needs of stakeholders from various companies and firms require an common understanding of language, tone, and terms of agreement.  A few examples the Terms of Agreement include instituting a common media form for all major communications, the responsibility for release of information, and the acknowledgment of receipt on information by stakeholders.

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Project Managers, by the nature of their role must be excellent communicators, additionally they must be adept relationship builders.  Relationships are key to understanding the culture and values of a particular company or firm, as well as the culture of a country where these companies are located, as the employees are typically sourced from the nation where the firm is located.  Implementing communications mechanisms will have to work collectively with the integration of people, devices and products.  Project Managers of course cannot simply build a communications infrastructure on a basis of phone calls and emails.  The employment of telephony devices, presentations, reports and a network of stakeholders contributing with one another and a control point for acquiring, collecting, tracking, analyzing data points and continuous strategy development are also necessary for ensuring a robust communication plan.

The project manager should consider the number of potential communication channels or paths as an indicator of the complexity of a project’s communication. Identifying stakeholders allows for clear communications during updates or project progress meetings. Knowing who the stakeholders are and where they fit in the development and deployment phases of the project is vital to understanding and effectively addressing their expectations or concerns.  After obtaining this understanding, the next course of action is to develop a sound Communications Plan. The project communication plan sets the standards for how and when communication takes place. As the project manager, you want to set the tone for all communication concerning the project. This allows you to maintain control of the project and ensure all stakeholders receive the necessary information (Frost, 2015).

References

Schwalbe, K. (2011). Information Technology Project Management, Revised Sixth Edition. Boston, Ma. Central Learning. (pp.10-11)

Frost, S. (2015) How Important Are Communication Plans for Project Managers? Retrieved August 30, 2015 from:  http://smallbusiness.chron.com/important-communication-plans-project-managers-37520.html