No one in business can argue that stakeholder management is an important part of that business. When you develop a stakeholder engagement plan, it allows for continuous communication and interaction with stakeholders throughout the project, and it’s a more formal process than many people realize because it includes documents outlining the steps that will be taken as the project progresses. If you’re unfamiliar with this process, below are a few things you should know.
- It Is a Formal, Well-Documented Process
Businesses don’t just decide amongst their management teams to communicate with their stakeholders during the course of a particular project—they put everything in writing. Because of this, both sides will know exactly what to expect from day one. They outline just how the communication will take place and also how often. The best part is that the documents allow for the people involved to adjust or alter the specifics of the project whenever it needs to be adjusted, which means a more efficient project in the end.
- It Starts with Details about Each Stakeholder
One of the reasons a good stakeholder engagement plan is so effective is that it starts with identifying and meeting with every one of the stakeholders before the official plan is devised. This way, there will be no surprises once the project begins because everyone involved will know what their responsibilities are and what will be expected of them from start to finish. In the documentation, each stakeholder is mentioned, along with that particular stakeholder’s specific responsibilities throughout the project.
- Everything Is Documented from Start to Finish
Along with the initial document, other documents are devised during every step of the project so that, in the end, every meeting and every decision made will be mentioned and described in detail. It isn’t just the main goals of the projects that are well-documented; it’s every single interaction between stakeholders and those executing the project. From the initial step of the process until the project is completed, everything is put in writing so that in the future, anyone can read about what happened each step of the way.
- Stakeholders Can Be Almost Anyone
The word “stakeholder” in this instance doesn’t have to be anyone in particular; it simply indicates someone with an interest in the project. Stakeholders of construction projects can be customers, providers such as vendors and consultants, the main decision-makers of the project, and the influencers, which consist of labour unions, regulatory bodies, and others. You can decide for yourself who the stakeholders should be, and they can change from one project to the next.
- Everything Is Specific, Even the Forms of Communication
The average stakeholder engagement plan is very specific, including how and what to communicate to the stakeholders. Most times, stakeholders are assessed ahead of time so that certain things are known, which gives you a good starting point. Some of these things include what stakeholders already know about the project, what they need to know, how much power they have to influence or affect the project, and even their basic impression of the project. Communication has to be constant and spelled out in the document, but fortunately, communication can be via phone, texts, emails, and more.
- It Highlights Various Activities
Specific activities are laid out in detail in the engagement plan, including any conference calls, in-person meetings, and anything else that takes place. As you can see, these plans are very detail-oriented, but as long as all activities, communication, and events are spelled out and revised as needed, the project is more likely to run smoothly and be successful in the end. The option of revising the plan as needed is very important, but as you can see, so are all of the other features of this activity.