Managing Stakeholders: The Art of Managing Up, Down, and AcrossModerated by Sadie Honey, StrategistAaron Crosman, Web DirectorGive decision makers clear decisions to make. People who aren’t used to thinking about ITprojects may find it hard to contextualize open-ended questions. Give them clear options toact on.Find ways to keep non-decision makers out of decision-making mode. If you’re just asking forinput, make sure that is clear to everyone. For example if you form a group of staff that isbeing asked to advise on the project, do not have the whole group meet together. Knowingthere are other meetings being asked the same questions can send a clear message that theyare offering advice and input, not making final decisions.Dan Gomes, Director of TechnologyIf your organization spans multiple locations, don’t assume that any two locations will haveimplemented the same solution or approach to any given business challenge.Keep stakeholders engaged with their original requirements and the project scope by revisitingthem regularly. This is especially important for longer projects and one of the nice things thatAgile directly addresses by promoting short iterative sprints.Lin Hundt, Director of CyberInfrastructureFrom the beginning, and as needed, set the expectation that your role includes balancingeveryone’s needs. Let stakeholders know you don’t expect they will always agree with oneanother about the relative importance of project components…and it is your job to keep thebig picture (e.g., budget, mission, high-level project goals) in mind. Thus, they should expectthat you will help shape the project outcome to reflect the best overall solution rather thanone focused solely on their individual ideas.Use a variety of communication tools to keep stakeholders informed & engaged. Choose theform most applicable to your purpose/needs & be clear with your audience (and yourself)about the intended purpose/outcomes of the communication.Ursula Gross, Director of Web CommunicationsBefore making any decisions, decide which decisions matterWhen suggesting (or selling) an idea to stakeholders, prepare examples from “aspiration” sites-- those associations or nonprofits that your stakeholders see as the next tier up.