When it comes to managing projects, we’ve all had great and not so great relationships with our stakeholders. And while we’ve all heard the term “stakeholder engagement” to death, how often do we consider boundaries as a strategy to achieve greater success?
Boundaries are a great way for project teams to increase their chance of a successful relationship with their stakeholders.
Let’s explore why they work, how you can use them with stakeholders on your project, and how they can help you minimise risk and maximise success.
Boundaries are there to maintain the integrity of decisions we have previously made across our project.
They keep us from getting distracted from the project purpose and stop us from taking on new things within a project that present risks and issues we haven’t already considered.
Vikki Kapoor, a recent guest on my podcast Chat Time, summed it up perfectly when he described boundaries as “a safe enclosure… where we have evaluated the risks that could impact us”.
And when it comes to our stakeholders, boundaries help to keep the team and stakeholders united to the project’s goals and actions.
The best way to determine stakeholder boundaries is to make a list of the past problems we have faced that are related to stakeholders, and use this experience to consider what could possibly go wrong with our stakeholders on this project.
Once we have created this risk list, we can plan out strategies to avoid these situations from occurring, or at least minimise the likelihood as best we can.
These strategies become our boundaries.
To help you get started on building your own project boundaries with stakeholders, here are a few ideas of things you want to try to avoid when it comes to dealing with your stakeholders.
You want to avoid situations where your project stakeholders are:
Which could lead to missed deadlines and delayed project delivery
Leading to budget and timeline blowout
Impacting the ability of the team to deliver project requirements
Making them difficult to deal with and negatively impacting the project team’s morale
Causing project delays
Which could make the successful project delivery impossible
To show you how you can use boundaries to prevent or minimise project risks, here’re three examples based on the risk list ideas above that you could implement with your team and stakeholders.
Boundaries are an important factor in any project. They help us manage scope creep, team engagement and create a benchmark for successful project completion.
And they can help with project stakeholders too. What boundaries could you implement with your stakeholders today, that will lead to successful project delivery?
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