Stakeholders management is one of the most important chapters in PmBok. You have been reading a lot of articles about stakeholders management. I decided to bring a community viewpoint based on their experiences.
So, I conducted a survey among various famous groups and communities of Project Management and got very interesting and thought-provoking answers indicating community concepts of project management.
Our question was “How to Satisfy all Stakeholders as a Project Manager”. Although it’s a very complicated task but not an impossible one.
Let’s have a look below on detailed answers we got on Linkedin:
Linkedin Community Response:
It is the official group of multi-award-winning association of project management which is considered as a recognized body in the international project management community.
Gideon Ebelebe. (COREN R. Engr.) , a Nigerian Mechanical Engineer shares his own Definition of Stakeholders Satisfaction as:
“You may need to define satisfy. Generally, when terms of service or contract are met, then you have satisfied the contract requirement(s).”
Gideon Ebelebe. (COREN R. Engr.) Further added:
“Define the word satisfied. 2) Stay through to the contract requirements and remember if you try to please everyone, you may not achieve your goal.”
Kjetil Kalla, Innovation Manager from the United Kingdom Emphasis on Timely Engagement with Stakeholders as:
“You can’t necessarily satisfy everyone. Unfortunately, stakeholders importance needs to be prioritized alongside with what your project’s goals are. But a good starting point is to identify and engage with stakeholders as early as possible and throughout.”
Shweta Shah, IT Project Manager at Accenture Emphasizes on Stakeholders Engagement as:
“I guess keeping them engaged throughout really helps.”
Shweta Shah then further added her statement as:
“Yes, I would correct this to engage the way they want or need to be! I guess a PM would know how and how much to engage them so that their happiness is under review always..any noise and a PM has to be proactive to handle it along with the planned work.”
Deborah Walker is the owner of this group. It contains more than 2 lac followers. Its a popular group among the international project management community.
Jason Orsloske, VP of Operations at Immuno Precise Antibodies Summarizes Stakeholders Management quite Interestingly as:
“In short, it won’t happen. You’ll need to ensure you have all stakeholders identified and stay true to your communication with them, but you cannot satisfy them all.”
Kiran Bondale, Canadian Project Management Coach and Advisor share his Expert Opinion as:
“That is not your responsibility – project success doesn’t always mean that all stakeholders are satisfied. Almost any disruptive change is going to have at least some dissatisfied stakeholders. However, it is your responsibility to identify and engage with all key stakeholders so that the project’s outcomes can be achieved.”
Sreekala Balasubramanian, Project Manager at UST Global Recommends the Solution as:
“As everybody or most highlighted, not all stakeholders can be satisfied. My suggestion would be to identify key stakeholders and establish Transparency and Commitment through continuous collaboration with them. Doesn’t mean there won’t be any issues but we will be covered and Project should do okay.”
Federico Salvadores, Senior Project Manager from Latin America gave a very Precise yet Interesting Response as:
“Making them participate, listening to them and informing them”
Stanimir Sotirov, Director Operations at Visrez shares a reality based upon his Experience as:
“Тhe goal justifies the means. Not every stakeholder will be happy, agree with or engaged in your project. It’s only up to you how you will manage the work process, and how you will determine all of them around one purpose.
Remember to achieve success, they need to believe in what you believe – the project success and been rewarded at the end for their efforts.”
Nicolas Donaldio, Program and Project Manager at Spaces, Argentina gave a Brief and Interesting Response as:
“Well, in fact, as hard as it sounds, you don’t need to satisfy all stakeholders, even when it will be great, it is almost impossible, and obviously all come with a cost (money and effort) and you usually have a hard restriction on budget.
so, you have to manage stakeholders and classify them, usually considering its power or capacity to influence the project vs their interest/commitment to the project.
So, you have to be absolutely certain that any stakeholder very interested in the project and with enough power is 100% satisfied.
they are the stakeholders that promote and support the project, so you have to work very closely to them. You also need to keep satisfied stakeholders with power but without interest, because they can be a headache if went against your project, and it would be great if you can make them more interested.
As for the low power ones, just monitor those uninterested, keep an eye on them; and keep informed the interested ones. Don’t forget that in long projects, the power game is always present, therefore power and interest may and will change. You have to be very aware of that and manage stakeholders relations in concordance.”
Thomas white, IT Project Management Consultant at Pride one says:
“Skin in the game! Those that have it will expect to be satisfied. Be transparent by not only providing status but track your projects in a way that is accessible to all stakeholders and other team members, wiki, Sharepoint, Jira, if stakeholders have access to the projects progress you will avoid surprises.
Sergio Luis Conte, project manager at Pepsico, Argentina clarifies the Job roles as:
“Satisfaction is “fulfillment of a need or want”. The project will not address it. The product/service/result created by the project will address it. Business Analyst is accountable for the product/service/result definition. The way a project contributes is by keeping project quality to assure that the product/service/result will be created as defined.”
Thomas White then Further added that:
“This is true in larger organizations but some SMB companies do not have the luxury of having true Business Analysts. However, I have never seen a company lacking stakeholders. LOL.
Which brings up a question, stakeholders in an ideal world should be defined by the “product/service/result created by the project”, but that is not always the case.
So satisfying the stakeholders may be a moot point. I have seen everything from tangential stakeholders, those that just need to be part of everything, to proxy stakeholders, those that fill-in for the person who is too busy to actually be involved in something they should be. Any good articles on “who are the REAL stakeholders”?
Sergio Luis Conte Further made the Discussion more Interesting by replying to Thomas as:
“Thomas White Business Analyst is a role (obvious by the way), then the same person could perform more than a role. Most of us in the beginning (and sometimes today) performed both roles: project manager and business analyst.
Same person in the same role or one person for the role is not a situation on larger organizations only (I am working in a large organization today) The important thing is clear understand what belongs to the whole solution and what belongs to the project component inside the solution.
I am not saying that both roles must not work together. What I am saying that like happen on project objectives definition things that are related to product/service/result are assigned as a project and it is wrong because is outside project scope. of accomplishment.”
Brett Maytom is the owner of a group. This group has more than 1 million members. Its a quite popular group among Scrum lovers.
Dave Smith, Trainer from the United Kingdom questions the Job role of a Project Manager as:
“Am I missing the point here? Is the job of a PM to satisfy ALL stakeholders? What do we mean by “satisfaction” here? Can another individual stick their oar in as someone with a vested interest and introduce yet another requirement, causing more scope creep? “satisfying all stakeholders” sounds like the job of a sycophant that’ll waste needless effort on pretty graphs and dazzling presentations to create the illusion that all diner expectations will be catered for when the kitchen has no clue where to start.
This isn’t the job of a PM that’s mandated to manage and deliver value as agreed with the project sponsor. There’s a reason the role is called “project manager” and not “stakeholder satisfier”.
Craig Imlach, Infrastructure delivery Manager at National Australia Bank, Melbourne Australia says:
“Listen to what they say, Incorporate there concern into the product vision and roadmap, Show them how they can access the team, Advise them about the review and how to provide feedback, and Coach them about changing the scope and making adjustments and that it is natural in Agile.
The last point gets out of the way and allows the team to work directly with all stakeholders. The role of a PM if used in Agile is that of a facilitator, you do not manage or control.”
Steve Gordon Former Scrum Coach says:
“It is the team who delivers what will or will not satisfy the stakeholders. Under Agile, the PM is not the conduit of communication between stakeholders and the team(s) nor is the PM actually delivering anything or telling anybody what to do, Management may be able to do things to facilitate the stakeholders getting what they need, such as removing impediments to constructive communication, collaboration, and feedback, but cannot and should not be responsible for satisfying the stakeholders.”
Hafeez O. Product Manager at Copper, Dallas says:
“It’s simple, 1. listen listen listen listen to them for problems/growing pains but don’t listen to them for solutions.
2. solve complex problems and back it up with results. You may not be able to satisfy every stakeholder, but managing relationship is also key in getting results.”
Brad Black Agile coach and product owner from Canada says:
“You don’t. Start with yourself and drop any silly notion that you’re going to satisfy all stakeholders. That’s the pathway to near constant disappointment.”
Paul Oldfield Team Member at Youth Manage HR LTD says:
“Identify the needs; prioritize them. Identify the conflicting needs, get down to the underlying commonality; work up towards the specific needs from that commonality, eliminating the conflict.”
Wayne Mack Agile Specialist at ManTech International Suggest the following Approach:
* First, identify the aim to be addressed. This will be the unifying concept. * Second, realize satisfaction is not a binary. Seek to achieve degrees of satisfaction.
* Third, carefully review who is included in the list of stakeholders, eliminate any who are not directly engaged in the effort. A good starting list would be Users, General Business, and the Work Team.
Most lists of stakeholders are way too long and still fail to include key roles. By having a unifying aim and reducing the number of participants, it is possible to have discussions of trade-offs that may benefit the whole without unduly affecting anyone.”
Bob Jacobs Agile coach at Kinetix ltd says:
“Do you mean as a Product Owner? And is your question in the context of satisfying multiple stakeholders with competing demands?”
Brett Maytom Professional Scrum Trainer from Melbourne Australia says:
“Your stakeholder will be satisfied when he/she gets the product they wanted. This product is built by the development team. Your job is to remove all obstacles that slow the team down.
Those are the obstacles the teams want you to remove. don’t interfere with the team. Let them do their craft. don’t micromanage them. See them as another manager that does not report into you.
Treat them with that respect and professionalism. Create an environment that allows them to focus on building the product that will satisfy your stakeholder. Don’t ask the team for relentless status reports.
Encourage change and help make that change happen, even if you are uncomfortable. Engage in feedback during the sprint review ONLY or when approached by the team.”
In this article, we included community viewpoint across various regions of the world including Australia, Canada, Argentina, USA. and from the people working in different industries.
In the light of the above discussion, it can be concluded that its neither desirable nor compulsory to keep all stakeholders happy but it’s entirely important to listen to them and communicate with them effectively.
Moreover, Keeping stakeholders engaged is very much important. Few of the people even think that it’s not the responsibility to keep all stakeholders happy in fact to achieve the milestones is desirable.
Keeping transparency in processes is however important and use of tools like TaskQue can be a plus in it. Micromanagement is also a bad idea to implement in stakeholders management and it has more drawbacks than advantages.