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Category Archives for Stakeholder Engagement

Communication Skills for Project Managers | The Best Books

Communication Skills for Project Managers - The Best Books

A large part of your job as a Project Manager is communication; arguably the largest part. So, only focusing on technical skills will not serve you. It’s essential that you develop excellent communication skills. Luckily, there are many great books to help you.

Increasingly, this is the area my training business is focussed on. My clients are learning the value of giving their project managers – and general managers – great communications skills. And my experience as a project manager taught me two things:

  1. Your success as a Project Manager depends more on your ability to communicate well (with stakeholders, team members, and bosses or clients) than on anything else
  2. There is no better context than Project Management in which to learn, practice and hone your communication skills

So, in this article, I have set out to share some of the brilliant books that have helped me learn along the way. In reviewing them, I have selected the ones that are most likely to help you, today.

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This Set of Stakeholder Engagement Strategies will Power You up

Stakeholder Engagement Strategies

Stakeholder engagement and management is one of the essential Project Management disciplines. But it is often taught in a simplistic manner. The standard ‘four-box’ approach to deriving stakeholder engagement strategies can easily leave newer project managers believing there are just four basic strategies they can use.

But this is far from the truth. In fact, there are many stakeholder engagement strategies you can choose from. And you can apply each of these with a wide range of tactics and approaches to suit your situation.

But, if you don’t know the full range of strategies, you’ll find yourself responding in too coarse-grained a way. So in this article, we’ll delve deeply into the full range of Stakeholder Engagement Strategies.

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How to Plan Your Stakeholder Engagement Campaign

As a Project manager, you need to be prepared to learn from many different places. And, from the world of marketing, you can learn a lot about how to plan your stakeholder engagement campaign.

You are a project manager. You care about getting things right. So you plan meticulously, identify threats and take steps to mitigate them. The only thing that can get in your way now is one thing: people.

What all experienced project managers know is this:

It is your stakeholders who will ultimately determine whether your project is deemed a success… or not.

So you need to be equally rigorous in planning your stakeholder engagement campaign. You will need to learn from them, build their trust, and ultimately influence their attitudes.

So what are the components of a stakeholder engagement campaign, and how can you determine the best strategy for each?

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Guide to Negotiation: Don’t Lose when You Can Win

Guide to Negotiation

A large part of Project Management is negotiation. The need to negotiate is not negotiable. Whether you are negotiating for resources, settling scope, or trying to agree a compromise with a stakeholder, it’s a skill you’ll need, if you want to be successful.

But the prominence and practices of negotiation vary widely from culture to culture. In the Arabic souk, or in the north of the Indian subcontinent, it is more than a way of life, it is ritual to be savoured. Everyone is familiar with its ploys and gambits, and is comfortable with the give and take, the spirited competition, and the feigned offence. Not negotiating is what gives real offence.

In other cultures, the idea of negotiating to settle the price of that next consumer purchase is alien to us. And we don’t think of haggling over whether to eat at the Italian, Indian, North African, or Chinese restaurant as a negotiation: it feels more like an argument. So, not every Project Manager feels comfortable with the idea of negotiating.

So, how can you negotiate well, and feel confident at the same time?

The good news is that negotiation is a learnable process. Once you assimilate the four basic steps, you can practice each, carrying them out diligently, and you will get a result every time. Note, that it won’t always be the result you hoped for at the outset: that’s not the goal of negotiating. There are, after all, two (or more) parties to please.

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Podcast: Politics and Stakeholders

Politics and Stakeholders | Podcast Interview

Two of the things that put off many project managers are Politics and Stakeholders. Yet they are intertwined and a necessary part of project management. You cannot escape either so you may as well embrace them.

In this podcast, Andy Kaufman of the People and Projects Podcast, interviewed me about Politics and Stakeholders – an interest we share.

This interview ranged wider than politics and stakeholders, but for me, that is at its heart. Andy’s case study questions tapped into real ad tricky situations.

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4 Steps to Engage Difficult Stakeholders

Difficult Stakeholders- 4 Steps to Engage Them

One of the things Project Managers fear most is resistance. When we encounter difficult stakeholders, it triggers deep emotions. It’s easy to feel out of your depth professionally, and challenged, personally.

This is a common problem for all project managers. And it can be unsettling for newer PMs. So we asked an expert in this topic to write an article for you.

Elise Stevens runs the fabulous FixMyProjectChaos.com website, with over 100 podcasts for you to listen to. We like podcasts. And she is a seasoned practitioner who now coaches, mentors and trains project managers. Hear Elise’s interview with OnlinePMCourses founder, Mike Clayton.

But most important, Elise has thought deeply about the challenges posed by difficult stakeholder. She even has an eCourse available. So why don’t we turn this article over to Elise, and let her tell her story…

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Do You Know the Top 20 Techniques for Stakeholder Analysis?

Stakeholder Analysis: Do You Know the Top 20 Techniques

Regular readers will know that stakeholders are a big part of my essential project management rules. So, Stakeholder Analysis is a vital Project Management activity. It is how you learn about and understand your project stakeholders.

Rule 6: Stakeholders will determine the success, or not, of your #Project. Click To Tweet

So, it is high time we gave you one of our comprehensive ‘how to…’ articles on the subject of stakeholder analysis. So, buckle up for a big read, because here is everything you need to know – and some more – about stakeholder analysis.

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Project Politics: How to Win The Game of Projects

Project Politics: How to Win the Game of Projects

A seasoned Project Manager, you quickly learn that there’s no escaping project politics.

It’s a fact of life.

When you play a game of projects you deliver or you fail.’

But you may find yourself tempted to say something like: ‘Hang on, I’m a project manager: not a politician.’

That would be nice, wouldn’t it? You could spend your days focusing on the basic management principles.

Except, what are the Basic Project Management Principles?

The Game of Projects: You Deliver or You Fail
Well, pretty near the top is… Stakeholder Engagement. And what’s that all about? Politics.

So, you’ll always came back to the political dimension.

Because it’s always there in real life. No matter how much you may want to; you cannot escape project politics. So you do need to understand the basics.
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What is Stakeholder Management? | Video

What is Stakeholder Management?

Stakeholders will determine the success (or not) of your project. So you need to engage with them. Stakeholder Engagement – or more often known as Stakeholder Management – is one of the most important parts of Project Management.

So what is Stakeholder Management?

Dr Mike Clayton is founder of OnlinePMCourses.com.
Here, he answers this question, in under 5 minutes.

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Conflict Management: Ways to Get it Right | Part 2

Conflict Management

When relationships start to go wrong, it is often your job to fix them. Conflict management is not always a welcome part of a Project Manage’s role. But it is an important part.

Because conflict is an inevitable part of projects. Stakeholders will resist change, sponsors will want different things, and team members will care passionately about how to implement your project. Indeed, I could argue that conflict is a good thing.

Without creative challenge, you won’t get the best solutions to the problems your project is set-up to address. If stakeholders don’t don’t care enough to argue about what you are doing, they may not care enough when you deliver it. Conflict is not just inevitable: it’s desirable.

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