A key to project success

Stakeholder engagement is recognised as one of the keys to project and programme success. Stakeholders range from people directly involved or impacted such as: project & programme leadership, clients and end user communities, the implementation team and contractors; to those not involved but interested in the outcomes, such as regulators, media and general communities. 

Stakeholders are all different, bring different perspectives and expertise, operate in different cultures and environments, and often have different views about what the outcomes should be. It's no wonder that project management is fraught with people-related challenges.

The benefits of developing a stakeholder strategy as early as possible include:

  • Understanding who stakeholders are: identifying who all the stakeholders are, their levels of interest, influence. motivations etc, enables project managers to get ahead of stakeholder-related risks such as conflicts of interest, and to identify project champions who can help and influence.
  • Involving stakeholders early: involving stakeholders is not just a good idea to avoid bruised egos. It is essential to establish a shared understanding of objectives before people potentially start pulling in different directions. It is also the opportunity for gathering ideas and input from people with different perspectives and experience, and for developing and adjusting plans to incorporate alternative solutions and address risks.
  • Establishing central assumptions: establishing operating principles, common language and central assumptions as early as possible avoids people working at cross purposes and minimises risk of failure.
  • Planning for implementation: involving delivery and operational teams early helps to set expectations, understand and respond to issues, embed best practice, design for the end user and benefits-realisation, and plan capabilities and resources.

One of the challenges for project & programme managers is where to start. Our services are designed to support project and programme managers and their teams through the process. We use the ABCDE analysis model to help develop stakeholder strategies, communications plans and communications materials that will engage and maintain stakeholder relationships through each stage of project life cycle.

Anyone who has managed an enterprise-wide program will know that such efforts are fraught with challenges, not least how to get real buy-in and active participation from key stakeholders. Neglecting to engage stakeholders early and often is one of the most common points of failure in such initiatives.
— Supply Chain Management Review

The complexity of stakeholders

The Global Risk Assessment and Strategic Planning (GRASP) framework suggests 7 factors for stakeholder analysis:

  • Motivation
  • Objectives
  • Perceptions
  • Perspectives
  • Assumptions
  • Agendas (overt or covert)
  • Experience
Stakeholder engagement is different to stakeholder management: engagement implies a willingness to listen; to discuss issues; and of being prepared to consider changing aims and operations as a result of stakeholder engagement.
— Cranfield School of Management

Stakeholder Communications

Ask about our communications planning workshop.


Our Customer Relations Services

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Customer insight

Understanding how well customers have been able to meet their needs requires more than a customer satisfaction survey. However, gathering information may not be straight-forward as your customers may not 'tell it as it is' directly to a supplier; and survey wording may reflect the supplier's perspective rather than the end user's.

We provide an impartial interface for qualitative interviews, and an external perspective for designing and analysing research, enabling you to learn more about

  • your customers: their needs and expectations
  • the customer experience: how good is your service, support, communication, interaction and recovery
 

Customer perceptions

A challenge facing many vendors is ensuring customers understand and value the supplier's contribution when the service contract needs to be renewed. Executives who authorise purchases may not have direct experience of the technology or service itself; users change roles and administrators who recommend purchases may not have been the original specifier; and customers have other priorities and may not understand the supplier's role behind the scenes.

Regular, targeted communications can help to manage customer perceptions so that you have the advantage when the contract comes round for renewal. We can help your team

  • develop regular touch point communications to remain visible to users and influencers
  • use communications such as Quarterly Value Reviews (QVRs) to manage perceptions
 

Delivering benefits

Simple reminders and follow-up communications can be an effective way to ensure customers get the benefits from their purchase. Reminders about key messages from training courses can help to transfer knowledge and embed new skills. Tips and tricks about how to use product functions ensures that users get the best performance from new systems.

Our customer communications services can help you stay connected with your customers through:

  • follow-up communications to deliver outcomes
  • regular touch-point communications to share product information and advice
  • case studies and solution guides to support users
 

Customer experience

Customer perceptions and expectations are strongly influenced by the consistency and accuracy of information and behaviour across the multitude of touch-points - documents, online, team member behaviour.

Our communications services can help you see the view from the other side and develop communications skills within your team:

  • Communications audit: information and service consistency, accuracy, timeliness, usability
  • Communications training: how to use the ABCDE tool to improve communications quality

Contact us for more details

Please get in touch for a no-obligation discussion about how to manage your customer relationships.