Bill Gates once said, “My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.” Bill Gates and Paul Allen had a vision that every home would have a personal computer. At the time, it was a concept that seemed unfathomable. In order to accomplish such a feat, Paul Allen had said that Gates would focus on one task at a time with extreme discipline.

Stakeholders can often be your greatest asset. Yet sometimes, they can feel like serious obstacles when striving to meet goals and achieve the many objectives for your project.

As a project manager, it’s your job to support your stakeholders’ business requirements. It’s a tough balancing act, however, when stakeholders feel the need to change their priorities, and in turn, yours. Preempt your stakeholders’ business concerns, and manage their expectations, by keeping them updated on the project’s progress against objectives and concerns.

Stakeholders’ business concerns about a project’s perceived lack of progress or wrong direction may compel them to intervene. How can you optimize your team’s effectiveness when your stakeholders are tempted to control how the work is done?

Build stakeholder trust by prioritizing your tasks in alignment with their objectives. Keep stakeholders appraised of the plan, share progress, and show accomplishments, so they have clear visibility into how well the team is meeting their needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Advise stakeholders of your team’s need to focus on one prioritized activity at a time
  • Stay disciplined with minimized distractions and encourage team members to focus on a single task at a time
  • Keep stakeholders informed on the project’s overall progress
  • Share credit for your victories with your stakeholders
  • Encourage your stakeholder to provide feedback and direction in a managed and planned way