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How to build strong relationships with your stakeholders?

I remember the moment I became a project manager, my immediate manager told me that if you want to succeed as a project manager, you have to build strong relationships with your stakeholders, so that your projects succeed. And if you have close relationships with your stakeholders, even if you have a lot of failed projects, you will be forgiven.

I'm fully convinced of the above, but how do I create these strong relationships and maintain them throughout my career?
asked 11 years ago by anonymous

1 Answer

Here's what I recommend:

- See them often: Don't restrict your relationship with your stakeholders to status meetings and email updates. Go to their offices, have coffee, chat with them not only about the project but about what they love, be it their family, their hobbies, etc...

- Never send mean emails: Try to consult with each and everyone of them before sending an email, so that they can have an idea what you're sending.

- Discuss indecision/conflicting requirements privately: In most status meetings, some stakeholders will just throw new conflicting requirements or are simply indecisive on some key issues. Don't start an argument in the status meeting and try to outsmart your stakeholder, just talk to him privately after the meeting and see what you can do to resolve this issue while keeping him happy.

- Smile: Smiling will instantly disarm the other party. Smile in status meetings, smile in private meetings, etc... Just make sure that your smile is not considered sarcastic and disrespectful.

- Don't be the teacher's pet: While this works in high school, it doesn't really work in organizations. Projects have several stakeholders, and you can't be the teacher's pet of everyone of them, you can only be the teacher's pet of only one stakeholder. Now imagine if there are problems between this stakeholder and all the other stakeholders, where will that put you?
answered 11 years ago by humblepm (17,390 points)

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