Managing Stakeholder Expectations

Managing Stakeholder Expectations
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  • 0:04 A Look at Stakeholders
  • 0:42 How to Manage Stakeholders
  • 2:10 Acceptance Criteria
  • 2:54 The Plan
  • 3:56 Support for Stakeholders
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brianna Whiting
Programs need assistance from a large group of people in order to be completed successfully. But making sure that everyone that has a stake in the program is happy can be a difficult task. Come along as we learn about managing stakeholder expectations.

A Look at Stakeholders

While it is obvious that the employees and management make a company function, what may be less obvious are the behind-the-scenes individuals who also play a role. Such roles include investors, suppliers, the government, and even the community itself. Basically, anyone who has an interest in the company and has power over the company is a vital asset to the company, so they are known as stakeholders. Because a company can't succeed without the help of all stakeholders, management and executives alike need to make sure the stakeholders are not only happy, but that their expectations are met and their concerns are addressed.

How to Manage Stakeholders

Managing a stakeholder's expectations can make the difference between a project or program that runs smoothly and one that has constant interference with unhappy stakeholders. Here are some ways to manage expectations of stakeholders:

  1. Keep the stakeholder involved: From the very beginning of the program or project, stakeholders need to be involved. They need to know how much it will cost, how long it will take, and the details of the project. When stakeholders know what is going on, they are more willing to offer their support.
  2. Seek stakeholder input: When stakeholders communicate their needs and wants to the company, they feel more satisfied and feel a part of the program or project. They also feel that their opinions and thoughts matter and are more likely to give support.
  3. Identify concerns: One way to keep everyone calm and happy is to identify a problem before it happens. This may mean addressing why something can't be done and explaining why it can't be done. By communicating back and forth, an issue can be resolved before it becomes a conflict.
  4. Act timely: Sometimes conflicts and problems happen no matter how prepared you are and how proactive you are. When this happens, resolving it quickly is best for both the stakeholder and the company, as conflicts can slow or stop the process of a program. Resolving conflicts in a timely manner can be helpful in avoiding further conflicts.

Acceptance Criteria

Like many new products, programs also go through a trial-like phase. This means that they must meet conditions and specifications before a customer can utilize it. This process is known as acceptance criteria. Because this process can be long and trying, stakeholders can become frustrated, antsy, and even angry because they are not seeing immediate results. In order to manage their expectations, companies need to communicate with the stakeholders. This may mean talking with them face to face or meeting with them separately to discuss the program in detail and address their concerns. By walking a stakeholder through the acceptance criteria, they may better understand the conditions the program needs to meet and why those conditions are important.

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