Collecting feedback from both internal and external stakeholders is fundamental to successful project completion. Project managers understand that when disharmony exists in stakeholders, it can cause significant barriers in their ability to carry out the project to completion. Project managers need an established protocol of best practices for their team to collect stakeholder feedback.
Why Stakeholder Feedback Is Important to Your Project
Project managers shoulder the responsibility for gathering and applying stakeholder feedback through each stage of the project. Doing this ensures those with influence over your project are being heard and what they say is taken into consideration as the project moves forward. Without attention to this process, you risk losing valuable stakeholders.
Project managers can employ specific strategies for collecting and applying stakeholder feedback, including taking some of the weight off their own shoulders by assigning and coaching primary team members in how to effectively solicit feedback from stakeholders. Here are a few additional strategies for receiving input and effectively using it in your project development and management.
Start by Identifying Stakeholders Who Will Be Involved Throughout the Project
You can’t collect stakeholder feedback if you or your primary team members aren’t sure who to reach out to. For the most part, internal stakeholders are easy to identify. It’s identifying external team members that presents more of a challenge.
External stakeholders may include shareholders, creditors, suppliers, members of the government or key representatives of the general public. The first step is to identify all external stakeholders, including getting names of key contacts from invested organizations. The next step is to begin a dialogue that opens the door for feedback.
Developing a Channel of Regular Communication to Collect and Apply Information
Once all your stakeholders have been identified, next comes the challenge of developing and implementing a strategy that encourages stakeholders to share their feedback. A few ideas include:
- Regular stakeholder meetings
- Initiating communications via email or professional chat platforms
- Coach team members in active listening techniques for stakeholder dialogues
- Create surveys for stakeholders periodically throughout the project as a way to continue the flow of feedback between meetings
- Develop a system for tracking and organizing feedback so team members can easily access and reference it when communicating with individual stakeholders
Equally important is being prepared and having a strategy in place for dealing with disagreements or tension between stakeholders in meetings. Not all of your stakeholders are going to share the same view about how your project is progressing or which direction it should take. Coaching your team on mediation strategies can alleviate the discomfort of these moments and keep stakeholders focused on the project’s goals.
Stakeholder Feedback Is Crucial
If collecting stakeholder feedback is proving to be a challenge, we’re here to help by offering PMO solutions that will simplify project management for your organization. We provide services in the Boston area and are waiting to help you identify strategies for more efficient project management. Contact PMO Partners today to learn more.