early stakeholder engagement

Early stakeholder engagement is hard

Never underestimate the value of early stakeholder engagement to a project.
Not engaging the right stakeholders early enough in your project creates added headaches and problems with project delivery.

In previous posts I have discussed the value of good communication, and of creating what I call ‘the one team‘ mentality, this post ties in with those.

The benefits of early stakeholder engagement

A smoother and easily run project is the value of early engagement.

How often have you been working with the SME’s for your project where you think you’ve got all the connection points in the process you are replacing identified and scoped, then out of the blue they say “oh yeah, there is this other group who, are involved somehow too!”

This then creates difficulties for you, whereas if you’d been able to take a deep breath, give the business that little bit more time to review your process maps (assuming of course you’ve bothered to develop them),  and work with you to develop their detailed requirements this may not have happened.

Mapping a process is invaluable for finding invisible stakeholders.

In documenting a process map it starts to take form but just doesn’t look right (to the business), and that’s when your invisible will become visible.

At this point, you see there is another branch of the process that no one really knew or understood.

Mapping this part of the process shows the full end to end process.

Through clarification, you find that you have another key stakeholder identified for your project.

Mapping the process early means that you identify and have all of your key stakeholders involved from the start.

Early identification of stakeholders means that more meaningful dialogue occurs early on in the project.

Thes conversations help the stakeholders realise their dependencies or inter-dependencies by identifying key touch points and where their work overlaps, interlocks and just works together.

If this ‘mapping’ hasn’t taken place early enough, it is important to start asking questions early.

Ask the question ‘Have we identified all of the areas/people/business units that need to be involved?

When you think you have asked this question enough times, ask again.

Develop a RACI matrix for your project

Once I’ve gotten to the point of identifying all of the stakeholders I find that developing a RACI showing who is Responsible, Accountable, (to be) Consulted  and Informed useful,  as it helps me to identify who I need to be engaging with and in what way.

By doing a RACI it allows you to also understand the sort of communication, or should I say ‘level’ of communication that you need to have too, which ties in with the change management concept of good project management.

If you spend at least twice as much time engaging with your stakeholders as you do planning your project, you have a better chance of achieving success.

Sign up for a FREE one-hour webinar where we walk through the easiest way to identify ALL your stakeholders.


Written by Karen Cherrett