Successful projects can be transformational. However when people are not given a chance to feedback on a project during its development stages, the final project outcomes are always at risk. Poor or low levels of project stakeholder engagement can lead to final outcomes easily becoming misaligned to Client or End User expectations.
When all stakeholders are fully engaged in your project, and when everyone fully understands the context of proposals in development, when they are asked to contribute ideas towards or feedback on the project, the feedback is properly contextualised and the chances of project success increase. Ultimately, this is better value for the Client and End Users.
Successful Project Leaders Know The Value Of Good Engagement & Feedback
Poor Engagement & Feedback
Good Engagement & Feedback
Engaging everyone you need to contribute ideas and feedback at key stages has become costly and is often impractical.
The trouble is, when you work on important projects, with lots of different stakeholders who represent so many different interests or expertise, engaging and involving everyone you need at the key stages as the project progresses can become a gruelling, costly and impractical process.
- The room is not big enough.
- People are too busy and travel costs go up.
- You need to present and discuss too much information in a short space of time.
Existing Project Collaboration Tools Ignore Wider Stakeholders
So when you consider the importance of wider stakeholders to your projects, it is odd that there are so few tools to address this problem. Project management and file sharing tools are great for task management and file sharing. However they often don't help you in three key challenge areas.
- Engage and explain proposals to a wider stakeholders
- Invite everyone's feedback within specified timeframes
- Capture timely feedback needed for building confidence
Similarly, surveys can be a great way to capture large volumes of feedback on a wide range of topics. However, even the best surveys are usually:
- Lacking visual context needed for complex projects
- Restricted to one-way feedback
- Only as good as the questions you think of
So What Are The Basic Challenges?
There are key challenges to overcome.
People's calendars almost always clash. It seems almost impossible to get everyone you need into the same room at the same time. This stretches out the project duration and drives up costs.
You need to invite people to engage in your project in the right way. People need to understand the context of your request to contribute and feedback, and to understand how their contributions will be used.
You need to prepare the right material to set the context, explain the various parts of your proposal to different groups of people. Often there's not sufficient time in meetings to discuss ideas in full detail.
You need a way to for people to engage and offer feedback and suggestions. You need to set different rules of engagement, sometimes at early stages you want to encourage discussion. Other times you need more structured decisive one way feedback.
Once you have some feedback, you need to review what people have told you and make a decision about what to do next. Should you make small tweaks or radical changes?
You need to report back to your stakeholders what the outcome is and ensure everyone is aware of the way forward. You need to do this in a way that creates a transparent searchable audit trail of decision making.
Only when you have transparency across these 6 elements can you be sure that you've got your project consultation covered.