What is Stakeholder Management? – The Ultimate Guide for Beginners
Last updated on 24th Aug 2022, Blog, Tutorials
Stakeholder management is one of the knowledge areas of project management as per PMI’s PMBOK guide.Success or failure in engaging stakeholders can essentially make or break a project.Each project has to be completed by fulfilling the expectations and needs of all the stakeholders.During a project, the project manager and the project team will need timely support and cooperation of all the stakeholders to make it successful.Stakeholders are people or groups or organizations, who are directly involved in a project, who are positively or negatively impacted by an outcome of the project, or who can impact the project with the power and money.While effective stakeholder engagement will need application of interpersonal and communication skills, it also will need developing a well planned strategy to engage all the stakeholders in the more productive manner to gain their support, which will be beneficial for a project.Stakeholder engagement efforts will be on-going consistent efforts through a project life cycle.There are essentially 3 levels of engagement with stakeholders: informing, consulting and collaborating.stakeholder engagement strategy must include all of them – at pace and with volume. What is the difference between keeping the stakeholder informed as opposed to consulting with them or even collaborating with them?The difference is the level of engagement required to do each one effectively so that it meets the expectations of each and every stakeholder.After working on analyzing, categorizing and mapping them according to their influence and interest, they will be able to find which level of engagement is needed.
There are essentially three levels of engagement:
Low-Interest/low-Influence stakeholders are the group that are required to be at the minimum level of engagement. Job is to push data to them and keep them informed. The onus is on them to read what they publish.Post relevant data for them to digest and that they know where to found it:
- 1. Social Media Corporate Pages. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
- 2. Press Release Outlets. If they use an agency to do the press releases, these stakeholders must be informed about how to find them.If done internally, a link to an announcement should be pushed to them.
- 3. Project blogs and company blogs. Display them how to subscribe to the RSS feedso that the notifications are new content and send an automatic notification.
- 4. Corporate websites. Project should have a dedicated web page.
- 5. Digital newsletters and emails. They should be in the distribution list.
High-interest/low-influence stakeholders should be connected to everything that is doing for the low-Interest/low-influence group as a starter.Beyond that, some additional consulting resources need to be put into the play.Need to demonstrate consideration for their great level of interest regardless of their lack of influence.Set up online discussion forums for these stakeholders to participate in if they have questions or feel the need to respond to other problems being discussed in the forum.This offers a path for ideation to deal with important issues.Use E-polls and online surveys to gauge their reactions to modify in the projects as announced in the digital media.The responses they offer must be analyzed and cataloged for future reference.Need to have a keen sense of perception as to when one of these stakeholders is passionate and knowledgeable about problems.That’s when they pull them into the inner circle for the required time to allow them to participate.
- High-influence/low-interest stakeholders in this level should get everything mentioned so far, plus a more intimate consulting level of the engagement.
- Remember, these high-influence/low-interest stakeholders wield influence, and as a result, want to shape how that influence is used.
- Share your project problems with them in real-time.
- Their feedback might be more useful.
- Ask them to review relevant documents in areas that may improve their level of interest.
- After all, always looking for more supporters and champions of a project.
- Begin the process of targeting them with personalized communications rather than just the RSS feed notification of new content being posted. Invite them directly to the review postings that may raise their level of interest.
- The concept of “keeping them satisfied” means that not only is perception needed, but also have to explain the role they can play in the project as an advisor, champion, or a provider of funding and services as the need dictates.
- They will need something back for their cooperation. Satisfaction is paramount.
Collaborating with stakeholders:
These are the bread and butter of the engagement. The collaboration process involved the more-interest/high-influence stakeholders of the project and must treat them as part of the team.Review the project risk register in real-time.Make it available as a shared file and make sure they are notified every time a change is made.Involved them to co-author relevant processes to documents.Invite them to offer guest posts to the project and company blogs.Take it to the next level by developing a list of topics that might be well-suited to the particular interest they have in the project.Use them as a pseudo-board of directors for project team management.
- Share cost, schedule and performance concerns with them and get their feedback and also suggestions.
- Give them a corporate email tied to the project and make sure they are on the distribution list for important data that will serve as a heads up for pending PR announcements and major project announcements.
- They need to be part of the internal project management communication channels.
- If you use a project communication tool like Slack, that should be on it.
- If using a formal task management tool, they should be invited to every task list and given work to finish as part of the project schedule.
Improving stakeholder engagement with digital communication tools:
Stakeholder management tools must encourage and facilitate the communication based on the various levels of engagement stakeholder groups require.Tractivity offers all the digital communication tools need to manage and engage with the stakeholders at all levels in a single system.Principle Of Stakeholder EngagementsThe following is a list of the principles that govern the involvement of the stakeholder engagement examples:
Find the proper kind of stakeholder: Both for their own firm and for the client company, they need to locate the correct type of individuals who are subject matter experts in the area in which they are working.These individuals will have the most on their plates, yet their contribution to the project will be invaluable.
Cement the engagement of why stakeholder engagement is important: Need to make sure that the involvement of why stakeholder engagement is important can be seen and traced throughout the project.To maintain them engaged with , may give them weekly progress updates and have review sessions, among the other things.Take charge of the chances for stakeholder involvement and see to their needs.What this meant was to celebrate and reward the participation in stakeholder engagement opportunities with things like parties.
Talk about the explanation of “done” on a regular basis: Need to try to bridge the gap between the expectations of the stakeholders and the development process.This may be completed by first gaining a grasp of the requirements, and then obtained from the relevant stakeholder a specification of when that stakeholder will consider the job to finished.
Demonstrate both progress and also capabilities: In order for the stakeholders to be apprised of the state of the project at all times, they need to offer them with regular demonstrations and presentations.They will keep their interest in the initiative as a result of this.
Six Benefits of Stakeholder Engagement:
1. Education: Communicating directly with the stakeholder allows to learn not only their perspective, but can offer new insights on a product or issue to help to gain a competitive advantage.Be sure to include diverse perspectives in the outreach to ensure that you are hearing from all angles.Never know what you may learn!
2. Effective Decision Making: The education gleaned from the perspectives explained above may change the mind on an issue and allow us to make a more informed decision.Stakeholders may reinforce a decision that has already been made.It never hurts to consider a problem from a variety of approaches, and an informed decision should always be the goal.
3. Trust: When reaching out to stakeholders, we are letting them know to value their perspective.This collaborative approach helps to build trust and goodwill toward organization.This can be especially useful if working in the wake of a crisis; rebuilding trust can be a long, arduous process, but it starts with making sure all of the stakeholders feel like they have a seat at the table.
4. Cost Savings: Communicating with those who have a stake in a matter may help you save both time and money.Companies have a better chance of finishing a project on schedule and under budget if they include the relevant parties early on.The elimination of bottlenecks and the reduction of unforeseen circumstances are two sources of cost reductions for every firm.
5. Risk Management: Groups and individuals may help to identify potential risks before they become threats to the project or organization. Preventing these threats also removes the harm (budgetary and otherwise!) they can bring.
6. Accountability: In the end, engaging with groups and individuals is key to improving accountability within the own organization as well as with external audiences.Transparency is important – be clear about the outcomes that are hoping to achieve and the steps are taking along on the way.Don’t forget to follow up with the stakeholders to let them know how that is doing!
The disadvantages of stakeholder management are:
Each stakeholder does not get enough time to from the organization, which can be the little discriminatory.Not every stakeholder is going to remain the low-value stakeholder forever.There may be a possibility that the stakeholder which is at a low level right now may rise to a higher level in the future, and if each stakeholder is not paid to equal attention, then the stakeholder will not retaliate in a future.
The above offers a structured approach to effectively engage and involve stakeholders.It has been often found that projects fail because of lack of appropriate and continuous stakeholder engagement.The project manager’s prime responsibility includes knowing the stakeholders, knowing their needs and expectations as well and taking all of them together to ensure project success.Getting a project management professional PMP course aids that in achieving that goal.It is more important to note that stakeholder identification, developing strategies for effectively engaging them, and then actually engaging with them will be the continuous on-going effort throughout the project life cycle.
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