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To ensure the success of their projects, project managers should initially identify all the people or groups that have the potential to affect the work in progress, either positively or negatively. Keeping a list of specific interests helps the project manager anticipate stakeholder feedback at subsequent checkpoints. Project managers rate stakeholder importance so that input provided can be prioritized. Additionally, project managers should consider establishing a contract with stakeholders so everyone knows what roles they can be expected to play during the project life cycle, such reviewing documents, contributing resources, and approving reports.
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Conducting Online Surveys
Using surveys to gather and measure stakeholder satisfaction with project progress involves selecting a tool, such as Zoomerang, SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics, to create and deploy an online survey. To design an effective survey, the project manager should generate a short list of questions to gather input. For example, for a project designed to create a training program that ensures compliance with health and safety regulations and certification, a project manager might make a statement, such as “This training outline covers all the content required to pass the exam." The project manager should provide a menu of choices, such as a satisfaction rating scale including the options “Completely Satisfied," “Satisfied," “No Opinion," Dissatisfied," and “Completely Dissatisfied." Then, the project manager must provide clear instructions on how to complete the survey, when feedback is requested and how the feedback will be used. This method of measuring stakeholder satisfaction allows project managers to create sophisticated charts of responses and analyze input to take decisive action.
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Running Focus Groups
Running brainstorming sessions to get input from stakeholders involves scheduling meetings and facilitating discussions about the team’s progress toward achieving the project’s goals. Topics typically include the presentation of status reports, quality data and project outcomes, such as prototype products. Conducting an effective focus group usually involves comprehensive planning including setting an agenda, preparing specific questions to ask stakeholders, encouraging collaboration, and calling for action from participants. Project managers should encourage all participants to provide candid input reflecting their perspective. This method of measuring stakeholder satisfaction with progress allows project managers to get timely input for all stakeholders at once, enabling the project team to avoid costly mistakes or rework later on.
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Interviewing stakeholders individually allows project managers to gather feedback privately from people who have the ability to impact the project. Project managers should use this opportunity to handle both negative and positive input in a more controlled environment. Taking the time to interview stakeholders or sponsors makes sense when a stakeholder cannot attend a group meeting due to time constraints or other scheduling conflicts. This method of grading stakeholder satisfaction with progress allows project managers to receive potentially sensitive information out of public view,such as a recommendation that a project should be canceled, resources be terminated, or a project’s scope be significantly altered.
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Project managers use a variety of methods to measure stakeholder satisfaction. Each method allows the project manager to gather stakeholder input that ensures the project stays on track throughout each phase. Conducting surveys, meetings and interviews with stakeholders on a regular basis helps increase the likelihood of success.
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Reference and Image Credit
- Image Credit: Initiating Process Group Stakeholders (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Initiating_Process_Group_Stakeholders.jpg)
- Strategic Planning (in nonprofit or for-profit organizations) ." Free Management Library (SM). http://managementhelp.org/plan_dec/str_plan/str_plan.htm (accessed October 27, 2010).