In times of stress and uncertainty, it can be tempting to focus internally to protect your team and reduce risk. For project managers, though, the end of the year provides a good opportunity to look outward to check-in and connect with your project stakeholders.
Pryor’s “Project Management Fundamentals” training series has three key videos on stakeholder management. The video “Types of Project Stakeholders” gives you a good place to start to identify key stakeholders to reach out to before the end of the year:
- Project Champions: Check in with your champions to see how they feel about how things are going, and to thank them for their support. Has their vision for the project shifted based on changes over the year? Now is a good time to find out.
- Customers: Who could you contact to represent your customers? Some projects have a small list of customers; others have many. Assess who you could and should connect with to assess how things are going. Check in with them about whether the needs for the project have shifted over time.
- Project Team: In addition to any group teambuilding or team events, check-in one-on-one with key project members – the whole team if possible! It’s a good time to calibrate on how they see the project’s current goals and progress, and to thank them for their work.
- Other Interested Groups: Who else has a stake in your project? Advocacy groups? Regulators? Investors? Key staff in the Finance or Marketing Department? Think about the people you have interacted with about the project over the last few months, and who may have been left out. Schedule check-ins to say thank you, to provide status updates, and to ask for feedback where needed.
Stakeholder management is an important project management activity – and the holidays is a great opportunity to realign and recalibrate with key people. Saying thank you, assessing ongoing support and needs, and celebrating success with them will help set you up for success in 2021!