Keeping your internal stakeholders happy can be a Herculean task.
Everybody at your company – including your co-workers, managers, other company departments, C-levels, board of directors, etc. – has different backgrounds and needs. As you manage a business localization project, you can increase your chances of success by making an internal stakeholder plan.
Internal stakeholder feedback is critical to minimize risks, get the full picture of a project’s scope, and get internal buy in. Yet, getting feedback can be difficult to say the least.
To help you manage all these moving parts, we’ve put together some best practices for dealing with even the most problematic internal stakeholders ahead of your next localization project.
1. Do a deep-dive into stakeholder needs
It seems obvious, but when you’re crunched for time, it can be easy to skip this initial step. Dig into your stakeholders’ needs by setting up 1-on-1 meetings with each of them to find out their requirements, constraints, goals, and risks. By communicating early and honestly, you’ll get a better idea of what success looks like from their point of view, and get your projects on their radar earlier.
2. Get all stakeholders on the same page (literally)
After mining your stakeholders for information, you should create a project brief. Here you can detail the full project, including budget, timeline, deliverables, reporting, milestones, and KPIs. The brief is also an opportunity to align your stakeholders across their diverse backgrounds.
Bonus: get approval from everyone on this brief before you move forward to avoid conflicts down the road.
3. Keep stakeholders in the loop
During the project, you should update stakeholders regularly with status reports, as defined in the project brief. This could be a simple weekly email or a more complex project dashboard, according to the project’s scope. Even if the project stage doesn’t require stakeholder feedback, be sure to keep your stakeholders in the loop. This also prevents unnecessary changes and expectations down the line.
4. Escalate issues that require stakeholder input
Certain milestones will require stakeholder feedback and approval. While this type of input is typically planned, you’re sure to encounter moments where you need unexpected stakeholder input. You should have a plan for both how to inform stakeholders about problems that arise and how to get stakeholder feedback for potential resolutions. When these issues come up, don’t try to sweep them under the rug - instead, be proactive by seeking out your stakeholders’ expertise.
5. Tailor your communication style
Often stakeholders speak different business languages, so it’s vital that you find common ground as you collaborate. Try to tailor your communication style according to their priorities. For example, the way you approach the sales team will likely be completely distinct from the IT team. This can help reduce friction between departments and enable you to discuss matters more openly.
6. Stop negativity by staying transparent
Big projects, especially localization projects that help companies build global experiences and enable international growth, can cause frustration. To prevent negativity from your stakeholders, stay transparent. Include them from day one, send regular reporting, and ensure feedback/approvals are resolved. By being open about how the project is going and the risks you’re facing, you’ll reduce bad feelings and prevent stakeholder frustration from derailing your project. After all - you're working with these teams to accomplish the same company goals.
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Managing internal stakeholders is no easy feat. As you embark on your next localization project, take a moment to understand these best practices and incorporate them into your localization strategy. By keeping your stakeholders happy, you’ll have a higher chance of success and avoid internal misunderstandings and disputes.
Localization projects are particularly complex, involving almost every company department. If you’re unsure how to get started, reach out to the Lilt team for a personalized consultation.