Managing Stakeholders

Stakeholder management is critical to the success of any project. Stakeholders (anyone who has an influence or interest in the project), are fundamental to the project.  You need to know who they are, their expectations and how to manage their expectations. Stakeholders want to know about the project’s performance.  It is your job to identify the project stakeholders early, set expectations of the project, understand their expectations and manage accordingly.

Key Steps to Stakeholder Management

  1. Identify Stakeholders – Stakeholders can be both individuals and organizations. The goal is to communicate effectively to all stakeholders. Stakeholders can include but are not limited to the following:
  • Project team
  • Manager
  • Executives
  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Government
  • The Public
  • Key advisors
  • Project Sponsor
  • Users
  • Release Management
  1. Once you have identified all the stakeholders that are affected by the project, it is important to prioritize them. Some of the stakeholders have more influence than others.  Your key influencing stakeholders can make project decisions, provide funding and possibly cancel the project. Other stakeholders can have a much smaller interest such as to provide information or receive information that will be needed for their functionality of work.  Therefore, map out your stakeholders and prioritize them according to their interest level listed below:
  • Manage Closely(High power, highly interested stakeholders) – You must fully engage these stakeholders and make the greatest efforts to satisfy them.
  • Keep Satisfied(High power, less interested stakeholders) – Engage these stakeholders when needed to keep them satisfied.
  • Keep Informed(Low power, highly interested stakeholders) – Provide adequate information to these stakeholders to keep them engaged about major issues that are arising. These stakeholders can often be very helpful with the details of your project.
  • Monitor (Low power, less interested people) – Provide the appropriate communication to these stakeholders but don’t bombard them with all the details of the project.
  1. Identify the actions and the type of communications you are expected to provide to each stakeholder.

Focus on the most important stakeholders first, and the less crucial ones later (reference your prioritized list). Develop a plan that communicates with them according to their priority and their expectations.  Ensure the communication is effective and efficient based on the stakeholders’ needs.

  1. Implement your plan – Document you stakeholder details determined in steps above as your Stakeholder Management Plan and implement that plan throughout entirety of the project.
  2. Monitor – Monitor your stakeholders expectations and ensure you are communicating to them according to your plan. As you stakeholders or expectations change, update your plan and manage accordingly.

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