A while ago we talked about reasons your end users might be unhappy (reasons-your-end-users-are-unhappy), but what about your stakeholders? Their reputation could be affected by your Project Team’s actions—before, during and after the project—and they often have their own perspective on what success looks like. Your team could be inadvertently cultivating displeased supporters if you…
…keep them in the dark. Failing to give stakeholders advance notice of significant news, potential problems, or project updates could be seriously damaging, especially when your team must announce something negative. Remember that your stakeholders may need to do their own level of damage control depending on what the latest developments mean to the organization’s bottom line, market position, or long-term competitive opportunities.
…ask for last-minute support. Stakeholders often have the right connections to rustle up additional funding or other resources when necessary, but if you’re constantly forcing them to call in right-now favors, their support is likely to dry up. The practice could backfire on you in another way, too: schedules are often so tight that your stakeholder may simply not have enough time to secure the support you need, putting you in even more of a bind.
…expect them to solve your problems. Stakeholders don’t want to be an alternative to the regular channels you’re supposed to follow for staffing requests, budget approvals, software authorizations, and anything else your project needs. It’s OK to ask for support, but if you’re constantly using stakeholders as a back up because your business case wasn’t good enough to net you the resources you need through the standard approval procedures, you could find yourself without a stakeholder.
…forget that your project’s success often reflects on them, too. Everything from overspending to disregarding the importance of end user satisfaction has the potential to make your stakeholders look bad.