The first time I heard someone say ‘stakeholder engagement’ I thought they were just trying to show off by using some nifty management jargon but over the years, I’ve come to realise what a critical element this is in so many projects. Even seemingly small projects can be made or broken depending on how successfully the key stakeholders are engaged.

People having a discussion.

A project that has a good level of stakeholder engagement can smoothly ride over the bumps that inevitably crop up, likewise a project without stakeholder engagement can be derailed at the last minute even when things looked finalised.

I’ve been part of both types of projects, and I know which one I prefer.

At Braw Solutions here are some things we’ve done to ensure stakeholders are included in as much of the decision making as possible. If you’re embarking on a new project, such as a school website, think about these things and decide which ones would work best for your situation.

  1. Identify the stakeholders early on and meet with them to explain the project aims and intended outcomes. We’ve accompanied clients to meetings with their stakeholders and spoken to them directly. It’s a great way to make sure everyone is clear about the purpose of the project, and it gives them an opportunity for initial feedback and input.
  2. Continue to communicate with the stakeholders throughout the project. When we’re developing for a client, we always provide an accessible development version of the new site or app that they can access. This development system can be shared with whomever the client deems appropriate and can inform stakeholders about the progress being made and the direction.
  3. Solicit feedback as often as you feel is appropriate. In our develop versions we often include a link to a feedback system or questionnaire. This means that if at any point in the development someone wants to share their thoughts with us then they can do so immediately.

Stakeholder engagement is such a crucial element of a successful project that on larger projects it’s worth getting some professional advice and dedicating the role to a specific person. For smaller projects, hopefully, some of the steps above can provide a greater level of involvement from those important stakeholders.

Published on: 11 April 2016

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