There are a variety of people and organisations who, whether directly or indirectly involved in your project, need to be considered in the planning and kept up to date regularly about progress.
The outcome of your project is of interest to a diverse range of people and organisations who, collectively, are called project stakeholders.
Interested in Successful Project
Interested in Unsuccessful Project
Project leader (who may be you)
Sales and marketing experts
Innovation support agencies
The eventual success of your project may be influenced by the input you receive during the planning and execution of your project by the stakeholders.
Speaking with user groups, for example, may highlight user requirements that you had not, up to that point, considered. These may become new selling points that you can incorporate into investment pitches. Having user groups assess your prototypes and feedback their opinion may produce sound bites and other promotional material to attract other users into buying your product.
Project partners and suppliers may have experience of similar technology which could prevent you making expensive mistakes or improve the final product through a wide variety of factors (functionality, cost, market applications, etc.)
Some development agency grants run to very precise timelines which may affect the start date and lifetime of your project and when and how you are reimbursed for project spend. It is always worthwhile to read the guidance notes thoroughly so you know whether the grant meets with your project objectives and your timeline.
Providing regular updates to stakeholders can be extremely beneficial to your project, as it serves several purposes. It keeps your project in the thoughts of your stakeholders, whetting the desire of the user in getting the product and continuing the interest from within the project team and the sales and marketing experts.
This will encourage a pull on your technology by creating a demand from users to get your product when it is launched and from suppliers to have your product to supply the users rather than needing you to push your technology to an unaware market.
Communicating successful development may put off would be competitors from developing competition as they are reluctant to develop new products and incur risk and cost without evaluating you and your technology as competition.
Social media can be an excellent medium to continually keep your stakeholders up to date and we have provided several articles about how to get started and make the most of social media.
Stakeholders can be key to the success or otherwise of your projects. I have been involved in several projects where the engagement with user groups and potential licensees or assignees began too far down the development pipeline and did not have the features and user functionality that both groups wanted which, in some cases, has led to the project being terminated and in other cases expensive redesigns and delays to the project.
Smart Idea Store
February 5, 2013