A project’s success depends on how it effectively attains its scope and exceeds the stakeholders’ expectations and satisfaction. Suppose you have been in the construction industry for a while now. In that case, you probably know that your stakeholders’ decisions and influences can either make or break the project’s outcome. Incorporating a practical and comprehensive project stakeholder management strategy when managing construction projects is a critical tool in determining your project’s success.
Most construction project managers focus on the more technical parts of project management, such as scope, baselines, project durations, budget and costs, quality control, inventory, and workforce management. However, being a manager means you have to be involved with all parts of the project – including working with and reporting back to different groups of people. Often, the project stakeholders get little attention. This scenario often results in the valued partners feeling left out and losing interest – causing possible delays and negatively impacting the project. We should consider both the client’s turnover and acceptance of the project deliverables and the overall satisfaction of everyone involved when determining a project’s success.
Now, you must be having a lot of questions on how you can incorporate stakeholder management in your next project. Well, we have got you covered. We will dive in on the definition of a project stakeholder and share a few tips to strategize your stakeholder management to effectively achieve your well-deserved project success.
What is a Project Stakeholder?
So, the first step to effective stakeholder management is to know what a project stakeholder is and the people included in this group. By definition, a project stakeholder may be an individual or an organization that can affect and influence the project. Or, they could also be a group of people that can be affected by the project. It does not matter if they are affected positively or negatively. As long as they might significantly impact the project results, they are considered a stakeholder.
In this section, let us define who are the possible stakeholders for a construction project. Typically, there are two categories in determining our stakeholders, namely internal and external project stakeholders.
Internal Project Stakeholders
Internal project stakeholders are those who connect from within your company and organization.
These are a group of people that have a direct hand and influence when it comes to making decisions or approving strategies that may have any additional positive or negative implications on the project. From the CEOs, COOs to the department heads, supervisors, and team leaders – they can dictate what resources can be available to the project manager.
It is essential to include them when strategizing on managing your project and keeping track of your accomplishments – this is to make sure that they are aware of what is happening with the project and see how it affects the whole company and organization. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Always prepare a detailed report and status of the project – from progress, remaining budgets and timeline, and inventories.
- Set regular coordination meetings for updates and any possible problems and causes of delays on site.
- Develop comprehensive plans or documents for approval of every change order.
There are two categories for customers: internal and external customers. For internal customers, they are stakeholders that need assistance from other departments to get their job done. For example, if the project manager cannot submit a contractor’s progress accomplishments and billings on time in construction, the accounting department cannot process it for payment. Sadly, these results in the contractor’s late fees and thus, interrupting their cash flow system. Therefore, each department must be able to do their task assignments efficiently to prevent such delays.
A construction project team is in charge of turning the project into a reality – from putting the project’s concept into paper and finally topping it off once construction is complete. This team usually consists of a design architect or engineer, a project manager, a project site engineer, and other professionals such as cost engineers, quality control engineers, landscape architects – depending on your project scope. Each project team member has a clearly defined role in ensuring that the project deliverables are complete.
Internal Resource Managers
These are groups of people that can contribute to your project’s result. They identify, control, and manage the resources you may need, including professionals, digital or technological systems, budgets, and contracts that may affect your project timelines. Have a clearly defined operation process can significantly help keep the transactions smooth.
External Project Stakeholders
On the other hand, external project stakeholders are outside of your organization but may be affected by your construction project.
The government places specific rules and laws for any business or industry to ensure that each project does not violate human, social, and economic rights.
Contractors, Subcontractors, and Suppliers
Contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers are also project stakeholders because they directly affect the project by providing labor and work quality essential in building a construction project. However, since you are working with an external organization, these transactions are often prone to mismanagement and miscommunication. Thus, it is essential to have open communication and proper documentation for the duration of the project.
As discussed earlier, another type of customer is the external customer. Ultimately, they are the end-users of the construction project that you will deliver. They are probably the most critical stakeholder as they provide support to the company through every purchase.
7 Strategies to Effectively Manage Your Stakeholders For A Successful Project
Now that we have defined the project stakeholders and how they affect your construction management. Project stakeholders play an essential role during projects, and it is necessary always to incorporate them into every step of the project. In this section, we listed down seven tips to manage your stakeholders for a successful project.
1. Define Each Stakeholder’s Roles in the Project
It is vital to define all roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder in the project. That way, you will know where the information should be coming from and who you should report it to. The trick here is to balance all the needs and requirements of each stakeholder – to keep them happy and productive throughout the project.
2. Do A Stakeholder Analysis
Keep in mind that per construction phase – your priority stakeholders may vary from time to time. For example, your contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers are the priority only during the pre-construction and construction phase. Once construction is complete, your focus may shift to the external customers, on which you will commence the turnover of the project.
3. Keep Your Project Stakeholders Motivated and Engaged
It is essential to keep your stakeholders motivated and engaged during the project’s duration to participate actively. Learn what your stakeholders want to see in the project and plan out your management strategy from there. You may set your expectations with them and deliver reports and updates based on their interests and what they want to see.
4. Ensure Open Communication
Always keep open communication with everyone in the team. You want to make sure that your stakeholders are comfortable in sharing their opinions and insights on the project. As a project manager, you want to foster a good relationship with everyone you are transacting with. One way to do so is through listening actively to all their concerns and issues to build effective communication and team collaboration.
5. Schedule Regular Coordination Meetings
Having regular coordination meetings is an efficient way to discuss and strategize on any potential changes or problems that need some problem-solving. As discussed previously, some decisions and strategies need to have other parties involved, not just the project manager. This way, everyone is engaged in the critical decision-making sessions.
6. Plan for Risk-Management Schemes
Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and solving any possible risk that may come during the duration of the project. Involving the project stakeholder during the risk management planning can help significantly decrease losses and increase productivity and potential opportunities.
7. Use a Construction Scheduling Software
With the construction industry slowly becoming digitalized, you can use construction scheduling software – it is a great tool that ensures that all information about the project is online – and accessed by everyone in the team. With the overall project status and updates readily available, you can assure that managing your project in the right direction – and all the right people can also monitor the project and be well-informed.
Project stakeholders have a significant impact on your construction project. They can significantly dictate your project outcomes and can either make it or break it. As such, the project manager’s focus should not be limited to the project scope, timelines, budget constraints, crew, and inventory management. Instead, he must also keep his stakeholders well-informed and engaged in every step of the construction project through effective stakeholder management. Applying these seven strategies can help you ensure your project’s success.