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Managing Stakeholders Includes You: 4 Steps for Work-Life

Post-Digital Transformation

Stakeholder Management creates healthy relationships with stakeholders through the management of their expectations and agreed project objectives. Stakeholders can be groups or persons, internal or external, part of the project or not, for example law-makers or media.

Depending on the size and nature of your project, stakeholder management can be quite formal or a casual task (but important none-the-less). It should also include employees whom will be performing the work. Yes, this includes you; but, work-you is the one doing the work and life-you is not.

This is a part of the work-life balance and as Sharon Suchoval says “It allows us to be who we are, not just what we do.

Although you may not formally list life-you as a stakeholder, there is value to the thought:

  • Increased likelihood of a healthy work-life balance.
  • Increased probability of project success.
  • Improved professional objectivity.
  • Improved empathy for the other people performing the work.

This is a low investment / high value action. These steps do not have to take much time, but can be useful to both you and your project.

Stakeholders include me

For the good of my project, work me is thinking of life me.

Identify Stakeholders

During project start, list the stakeholders and their concerns. There you are. What are your issues, concerns, and interest with the project and the work-you? What are your pain points? How much influence will the life-you have over the work-you and your project?

Just like other stakeholder, put the life-you on a power/influence grid. Truly compare your life-self with the other stakeholders. There may be a time when you have to choose between a personal function and a meeting with a key project sponsor; the project sponsor shouldn’t be surprised by your choice.

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Get Informed

Consider how/when/where another stakeholder is in your personal life. This overlap is a relationship (ally or adversary) that can affect the project.

Stakeholders Plan

During project planning, list the techniques to be used to meet the needs of each stakeholder, avoid their pain points, and keep them engaged in the project. What techniques will the work-you use to keep the life-you satisfied?

Maybe you have a desire for a certain schedule, want to take personal calls during the day, or have large concerns like a family change in the future. Be honest, the work-you is a professional and for the benefit of the project, really wants to consider the life-you.

Just like all the other stakeholders, choose techniques that address the life-you. Choose a time that you will sit and reflect on your own needs. Track your time at work, count missed soccer games, or denote the quality of your lunches. This is up to you!

Stakeholders Engagement

During the project, have a regular cadence to engage each stakeholder to retain and build their ongoing support. Clearly, you won’t have required status reporting for yourself, but are you keeping to the plan?

All those little things during the week can be jotted down. There may be something systemic that gets lost in the chaos. Are you late for dinner every Tuesday, how much difficulty was getting away for holiday, is your health on the decline?

This sounds strange, but just like the other stakeholders, don’t put off a difficult talk with yourself!

I guarantee that (long-term) project success is dependent on life-you being happy just like all the other project stakeholders. We all know this but rarely keep it up with the other constant needs of project execution.

Stakeholders Review

During project monitoring and control, list stakeholder problems or issues. To keep their support, each project stakeholder expects you to respond to changes in their relationship with the project

Is there any reason to change the project plan or, has changes from other stakeholders impacted the needs of life-you? Kristin Brashares, in “The Perfect Time of Year to Consider Work-Life Balance,” explains that the balance should be reviewed from time to time.

I know that life-you is watching work-you, but is the reverse happening? Are you OK?

About the Author

With degrees in Analysis and Management, Mr. Kapalko has spent two decades in both project management of agile development and contract management of operations optimization. He is adept at managing the solution path - realizing business value from engineering projects, people, processes, and data.

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