Every team should include stakeholders who can contribute and help it achieve its aims and objectives.
Project managers are crucial in ensuring everyone involved contributes positively and plays their role effectively. To help with this, we will look at strategies they can use to ensure inclusive collaboration.
Identifying, Understanding, and Mapping Stakeholders
Every project has different stakeholders depending on what it entails and the expected outcome.
Ensuring everyone can collaborate efficiently starts with understanding who they are, what motivates them, the role they will play in a project, and their relationship with other stakeholders.
You should identify the stakeholders to include in a project as early as possible. Remember, they could be groups, individuals, or organizations with a stake in the project and who could be affected by it, provide input, or influence it.
Next, you should analyze the stakeholders to understand their expectations, needs, and influence.
This exercise’s purpose is to help you prioritize everyone involved according to their level of urgency and importance, as well as tailor your communication with them to ensure successful collaboration.
Lastly, map the stakeholders to show their interactions, dependencies, and relationships. For this, you can use a stakeholder map template that makes doing so much easier.
In addition to helping you identify gaps and thus the need for other stakeholders, mapping can highlight collaboration and innovation opportunities.
Stakeholder mapping can also help you identify those who can persuade or influence others, be involved in different partnerships, and provide insights and the resources the project might need.
Get Everyone On The Same Page
Projects are more likely to succeed if everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.
Many project managers find it challenging to engage stakeholders at this level, but the best thing you can do is not to be afraid of over-communicating.
It is better to do this than assume things and find out people do not know what they are responsible for too late into the project.
Start by telling everyone their responsibilities when the project starts. Things will go much better if everyone understands this, the required deliverables, and how their tasks and roles affect the project and the rest of the team.
It also helps hold people accountable, avoiding the finger-pointing that can happen when something goes wrong.
If everyone understands their roles and that of others, it is much easier for them to understand where they fit into the team and project and where their collaborative efforts can have a positive impact.
Involve Everyone In Problem Solving
Projects typically face at least one issue before completion. In many cases, a single team member or two are tasked with resolving them.
However, there is a need to recognize that sometimes the whole team needs to be involved in solving some of the most challenging issues.
Also, encouraging people to help others in cases where they are not directly responsible for a task helps avoid a situation where groups of a few people work on a p[art of the project in isolation.
By encouraging collaboration like this, a project manager can open up the project so everyone contributes.
The added benefit of doing this is better outcomes because the project will benefit from everyone’s knowledge, expertise, and experience.
Encourage All Stakeholders To Pitch Their Ideas
Just because a stakeholder is not involved in a specific part of a project does not mean they do not have thoughts about it.
Encourage openness and the willingness to pitch ideas regardless of the stakeholder’s position or role. Similar to involving everyone in problem-solving, doing this can lead to better outcomes that benefit everyone.
Ask For and Provide Feedback
Feedback is essential for understanding the progress of a project as well as for its improvement. It is, therefore, crucial to be open to receiving and giving feedback.
However, it is important that feedback does not attack or vilify anyone, but rather ensures everyone is doing their best and working towards the same goals. This type of feedback works particularly well with internal teams.
Unfortunately, some external stakeholders might not be so open to receiving feedback, especially if they have a lot of influence over the project.,
In such cases, you can provide feedback within reports that show them how their involvement impacts the project.
Since they are invested in its success, they are much more likely to receive such information positively when presented in this format.
Collaboration is a critical part of any project in the modern age. Project managers and business leaders should promote it by making sure stakeholders are as involved as possible and contribute wherever they can.
However, there is also a need to carefully include them where their expertise is valuable, so they do not become bottlenecks.