5 Reasons Project Stakeholders Run Out of Steam

Stakeholder engagement can sometimes stall. There are many reasons this disconnect may happen, but most of them can be at least partially addressed by your project management team. Before you can devise a strategy to get these important players back on board, you need to identify why they lost touch with your project in the first place.

1 – Pessimism. A stakeholder may fear the necessary funding won’t be approved to execute the project the way they want. They might doubt your organization’s ability to achieve success on the project. It’s even possible they’re simply having trouble envisioning an end result that makes them happy.

2 – Dislike of the project. Perhaps they’re worried the project will uncover deeper, more systemic efficiency or operational issues within the organization, and are trying to distance themselves from the situation. They might even believe the project is unnecessary.

3 – They don’t want your group to be in charge. Rarely is this personal—more often it reflects a stakeholder’s desire to control expenditures, changes to processes or procedures, or just the environment they work in.

4 – Lack of understanding. A stakeholder may feel they don’t know what’s going on with the project—its objectives, timeframe, or what impact it will have on those they manage or work with. They might even think the project has already been completed (a problem more likely to plague very long projects or those where only a small portion affects the stakeholder).

5 – Lack of time or internal support. Stakeholders may be enthusiastic about your project, but if they don’t have time to participate they’re likely to drift away. Detachment might also occur if stakeholders have project responsibilities—packing for a move, gathering equipment specifications for new purchases, etc.—but don’t have time alongside their regular job to take on additional tasks.

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