How do you align internal Stakeholders?
Alignment of internal stakeholders for a specific project/initiative is important to ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives & goals.
Here are a few ways I drive stakeholder alignment:
- Define what are you solving for (ie. what are the goals & objectives of a specific initiative). Ensure that your stakeholders understand the goals & objectives, and what success looks like.
- Identify the role of each stakeholder in the project/initiative, and align on the roles & responsibilities with each stakeholder. Explain how the contribution of each stakeholder ladders up to the overall project/initiative goals & objectives. This will help to remove confusion or friction.
- Align with each stakeholder on timelines and deliverables.
- Develop a clear project plan that outlines key deliverables, timelines, and scope. Conduct proactive & regular communication with all stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page about progress on key workstreams.
- Regularly meet with each of the key stakeholders to understand their feedback, what blockers & challenges are they facing, and what actions you will take as the next steps based on the feedback shared.
- Foster collaboration among stakeholders (for eg, using a shared project workspace).
The above are steps that I take when aligning internal stakeholders.
Please feel free to reach out to me directly via LinkedIn message if you would like to discuss this further.
Whenever possible, have all stakeholders in a scoping meeting to agree on the project fundamentals:
What is the problem that we're trying to solve?
What is in-scope for developing the solution? What is out-of-scope?
What are timelines for delivery?
Who is responsible for various aspects of the project - and what are the agreed delivery dates for those elements?
These elements are documented and put in a centralized place. They're referenced at every follow up meeting. And, if there are adjustments to scope, those adjustments and their impacts on timeline are addressed with the group.
The most important is to first listen to their worries regarding your project and determine the core problem that could be tackled solving more than the worries of one of the stakeholder, but most of the worries of nearly all the stakeholder.
The stakeholders are as the users giving feedback, they see the problems from their point of view and express the solution that they would like to be implemented.
I usually use the following process:
- Listen to all stakeholders
- Analyze the information received in term of worries not in term of solution (detect what they want you to solve for them, don't consider the solution they may have given you)
- Map all the information received from the stakeholders to see the trends and the common worries
- Verify if the product or project you are presenting them solves these worries
- if it doesn't, you need to find a strong data argument to sustain your project or pivot and adjust your project to better fit to the expectations and worries of the stakeholders.
- if your project solve some of the worries of the stakeholders, then present it in those terms
- as far as their worries will be addressed, the stakeholders will be naturally aligned
But don't allow the stakeholders to tell you the solution, it would be biaised.
In fact, this is not so far from what a product manager does with the user feedback.