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Merriam-Webster indicates that the combined term “Best Practices” is on the bottom 50% of words searched on their website. They offer this definition for Best Practices “a procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results and that is established or proposed as a standard suitable for widespread adoption.” A search on project management best practices related to effective stakeholder management produced a handful of links that provided useful information on stakeholder management. Here are some of the key points that I believe are important when considering best practices for performing Stakeholder Management.

 Know your stakeholders. Who are your stakeholders? Why are they stakeholders? What do they care about with regard to your project? Develop ways to stay connected with your stakeholders and a strategy for managing their expectations. A stakeholder registry is a common tool used for stakeholder management.

 Understand your environments. There are a number of environments to pay attention to when it comes to stakeholder management. First, the project environment, some of your stakeholders operate within this environment and some of your stakeholders influence this environment. Second, the organizations internal environment which is forever changing due to forces that push from a number of directions. Your stakeholders may operate within this environment. It is important to know what happens in the internal environment because it may impact your stakeholders. Third, the external environment outside of the organization. Changes in the external environment impact your organization’s internal environment and your project environment and your stakeholders.

  Remember change is happening all of the time. None of us are the same person we were a day ago. Stakeholders’ expectations and attitudes toward your project will change from the beginning of the project to the end of the project and beyond.

     Engage your stakeholders in your project. Get them involved and keep them involved even if they don’t want to participate. It is important that a person is aware they are a stakeholder of your project and that their contributions and engagement are critical to the project’s success. This is a great way to find out if there is a gap in your stakeholder list especially if someone is adamant that they are not the right person to fill the role of stakeholder on your project.

  Stakeholder communication is key to successful stakeholder management. Here is a link to an article published a few years ago that has some relevant points on stakeholder communication.

Stakeholder management is a critical process within the project management discipline. What stakeholder management best practices work for you? What parts of the Stakeholder Management process seems to fit naturally into your daily practice? I welcome any insights you may have on this topic.

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