The Ultimate Guide to Stakeholder Engagement

Whether your organization is an early-stage startup or a large, multinational corporation, properly managing and engaging with your stakeholders is a non-negotiable. However, this is easier said than done as no two stakeholders are fully alike. Each stakeholder brings different perspectives, needs, and expectations to the table, which all need to be accounted for, but when taken advantage of properly, your projects stand to benefit for the better.

If you find yourself struggling with stakeholder engagement or are just curious about the topic, we invite you to read on as we’ll cover what it is before going deep into how to facilitate it.

What is Stakeholder Engagement?

Stakeholder engagement is the process of managing and interacting with individuals who play an influential role in determining the direction and outcome of your projects.

Properly engaging with stakeholders involves several steps. These include identifying who they are, understanding their needs, wants, pain points, and expectations, and strategizing how best to communicate with them.

Stakeholders can be divided into two categories

Internal Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders include individuals within your organization, such as team members and decision-makers. Team members here are directly involved in completing the project while decision-makers are responsible for shaping the direction and priorities of your projects.

External Stakeholders

External stakeholders are individuals who are not directly part of your organization. This group includes contractors, suppliers, government bodies, and customers, though this is not exhaustive. External stakeholders either benefit as end users from the project’s outcome or play a role in influencing your project’s direction, execution, and scope.

Why Is Communication Important with Key Stakeholders?

Clear and effective communication with stakeholders is a necessity in most cases and here’s why:

Builds stakeholder trust and support: Clear and open communication goes a long way in building trust amongst stakeholders. Not only does this make them feel informed, but it can also lead to them feeling valued, resulting in stronger support that can benefit your projects.

Improves decision-making processes: Each stakeholder brings a unique set of skills and experiences, which, when taken advantage of properly, will lead to more informed decision-making that only serves to benefit the outcome and execution of your projects.

Clear accountability and ownership: Good stakeholder engagement means everyone involved should have a clear sense of ownership and accountability, thereby minimizing the risk of confusion and any related errors and delays.

How to Facilitate Effective Stakeholder Engagement

We’ve established how important stakeholder engagement is when it comes to projects, but let’s leave behind the whys and now turn our attention to the hows.

Atlassian tools should be used here as they can significantly facilitate good stakeholder engagement in the following ways:

1. Developing Roadmaps
Roadmaps are what keep projects on track to successful completion and keep stakeholders aligned, which is why you should take advantage of Jira Product Discovery (JPD) to initiate new ideas and gather insights. That said, roadmaps need to be detailed and cover all bases, from ideation to execution. When done right, they can provide transparency for all stakeholders involved, keeping everyone aligned.

To fully get the most out of JPD, you should consider using it alongside Confluence for collaboration and documentation, and Jira for the minute execution and delegation of tasks.

2. Encouraging Customer Feedback
To identify business opportunities, customer feedback should also be collected where possible. This matters because not only can it help you refine your project scope, but it also plays a role in bridging the communication gap with external stakeholders like clients and customers, influencing decision-making and the direction of your projects.

Solutions like Jira Service Management (JSM) can be leveraged here to enhance customer engagement. JSM can be used as a channel for customers to share feedback, make requests, or receive support, ultimately providing invaluable insights into their experiences and preferences.

3. Documenting Requirements in Confluence
Collecting and ensuring that the full list of project requirements is comprehensive can be difficult, especially when they’re extensive. But this is where Confluence and project posters come into play by providing a way to document requirements effectively.

In addition, apps like Excel-like Tables for Confluence prove invaluable here. They allow for the creation of templates, tables, and charts, as well as the sharing and embedding of data sheets and charts directly into Confluence, eliminating the need for third-party platforms like Google Drive. This helps maintain a single source of truth.

4. Planning with Gantt Charts in Jira
Keeping all stakeholders informed is probably the most important thing to achieve when it comes to stakeholder engagement. In this context, using visuals like Gantt charts is invaluable for visualizing timelines and dependencies while managing expectations with stakeholders.

Apps like WBS Gantt-Chart for Jira can be used here as they provide a simple yet intuitive and powerful way to visualize project plans.

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5. Engaging External Stakeholders
Engaging with external stakeholders is just as important as engaging with internal stakeholders, which is why keeping them in the loop and providing them access to necessary information and documentation is key.

Confluence can be used to set up guest spaces that are separate from your normal work environment, though this can be time-consuming at times. Space Sync for Confluence can help you save time on this otherwise arduous task by giving you the ability to copy, synchronize, and publish pages across different spaces as needed.

Keep Stakeholders Engaged for Project Success

Keeping your stakeholders informed, involved, and ultimately engaged, is the bedrock of success for any project. Stakeholders play a dual role: as both direct influencers to the outcome of your projects and as decision-makers, which is why their active and effective participation is key to success.
To help you better engage with your stakeholders, why not see firsthand how our apps can benefit you today?

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