Stakeholder management is the systematic identification, analysis, planning, and implementation of actions designed to engage with stakeholders. It focuses on the processes of identifying the people, groups or organizations that can either impact or be impacted by the project. In short, stakeholder management is identifying the needs of people with vested interest in a project and satisfying them accordingly as a project manager. Stakeholder management is a set of techniques that harness the positive influences and minimizes the effect of the negative influences. It comprises four main steps:
Identifying stakeholders will be done using research, interviews, brainstorming, checklists, lessons learned and so on. A stakeholder map which is a table that shows the interests of the various stakeholders can be developed to aid the project manager in this effort.
Assess their interest and influence:
Each stakeholder will then be classified according to potential impact. This is usually shown in a matrix that estimates interest and influence on a simple scale such as low/medium/high. Those with an ability to directly affect the outputs or benefits are sometimes referred to as key stakeholders and a project manager should be in constant engagement with them.
Develop communication management plans:
This analysis is used to develop a communication management plan. Appropriate strategies and actions are then defined to engage with stakeholders in different parts of the matrix. Communications with stakeholders who have high levels of interest and influence will be managed differently from those with stakeholders of low interest and influence. Similarly, communications with stakeholders who are inherently positive about the work will be different from those with stakeholders who are negative.
Engage and influence stakeholders:
Project managers must identify who should engage with each stakeholder. In many cases, the P3 manager will take on the task, but it is also useful to call upon peers, senior managers or others who may be better placed. Stakeholder management becomes more complex when stakeholders’ views, roles or allegiances, etc. change throughout the life cycle. For that reason, the stakeholder management steps must be repeated throughout the life cycle of the project.
In brief, the steps outlined above help to:
• Analyze the stakeholders expectations and their impact on the project
• Focus on stakeholder satisfaction as a key project objective
• Implement continuous communication with stakeholders to understand needs and expectations
• Foster stakeholder engagement in the project for decisions and activities
Work as a team, play as a team.
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