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Gail is a PMP Charterholder and currently works as Director of Continuing Professional Development.
A stakeholder is anyone who can impact, or be impacted by, the project's outcome. Some stakeholders will directly impact a project, while others will have indirect influence over it. Regardless of their proximity to a project, stakeholders must be engaged at the appropriate level in order to maximize project outcomes.
In this lesson we will learn how to identify stakeholders, analyze stakeholder needs, and engage stakeholders. Let's discover more about the stakeholder management plan in light of a city that is about to launch a business improvement district (BID). A BID is a defined geographical area where property owners and businesses collaborate and contribute to the overall improvement of the area.
One of the most important parts of a stakeholder management plan is the identification of stakeholders. In the case of our BID, local businesses, property owners, and public officials likely come to mind as key stakeholders. It's necessary to think beyond the obvious and identify your secondary stakeholders as well, because they often play a larger part in the project than what was originally thought. Secondary stakeholders may include neighboring districts, shopping centers, or transportation commissions.
There are several different ways to compile stakeholder information, and it's best to employ a variety of these tools in the identification phase.
For internal projects, it is highly beneficial to consult the project sponsor during the identification process. The sponsor is usually an executive-level employee who is responsible for defining goals and strategy, allocating project resources, and monitoring its progress. The sponsor can be thought of as the primary stakeholder, so that person's engagement throughout the process is pivotal. For external projects, the key stakeholder is the customer, and that person too must be consulted when identifying other stakeholders.
Write down a list of all possible stakeholders. List anyone who might be impacted by the project. Your list can include the following:
You learned that a county in an adjacent state has successfully launched a BID. In this case, it would be beneficial to reach out to a someone on that BID planning committee to gain insight into their primary and secondary stakeholders. They could offer the minutes from past meetings or even a copy of their stakeholder register. Past documentation is a useful resource in the identification of stakeholders, as it can provide information you may have missed and save you a lot of time.
At this stage, it's not necessary to rank stakeholders. That will happen further along in the process. What is important at this stage is capturing as many people or groups who will be affected by the project in some way. The information gathered will eventually lead to the creation of a stakeholder register.
After you've identified your stakeholders, the next step is to establish stakeholder interest and level of impact on the project. You discover that some local business owners have concerns about the effect a BID will have on their establishments. They worry that the increased footfall will lead to a sharp rise in crime, and they have organized in order to halt the BID.
As mentioned earlier, some stakeholders will have a greater influence over the project. As the name suggests, a power interest grid is a tool that allows you to categorize project stakeholders according to their power and interest in the project. This information is compiled through a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and gives a ranking or prioritization of stakeholders. It's important not only to rank stakeholders, but to also identify their interdependencies. This will help to identify potential conflicts and eliminate possible redundancies.
The information compiled from stakeholder identification and analysis are entered in the stakeholder register. This document identifies the information relevant to each stakeholder, such as name, role, contact details, requirements, expectations, classification, and influence.
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to engaging your stakeholders. Remember that different stakeholders will have varying levels of power and interest regarding the project. Where a stakeholder falls on the power interest grid will determine your level of engagement with them. For example, the amount of information exchanged, the length of time spent, and resources allocated will vary from one stakeholder to the next. You reach out to the businesses that have concerns about crime and invite them to an open meeting. Here you tell them that one of the BID's initiatives is to install closed-circuit security cameras that will monitor activity in the area. You assure them that participation in the BID will actually lead to greater security within the district for all residents.
Communication is at the heart of the stakeholder management plan. Part of effective communication is knowing when to engage a stakeholder and for what reasons. You want to keep your projects in scope, on budget, and on schedule, so you must be careful to invest in stakeholders in light of these constraints.
Knowing who your stakeholders are is the first step in ensuring project success. Taking the time to know their needs and concerns will help you to better grasp their impact on the project. Understanding the level of stakeholder engagement through the use of the power interest grid allows you to invest the proper amount of time and resources into each stakeholder. Though stakeholder management is one of the most challenging aspects of any project, its effective execution is crucial to project success. By following a systematic approach of identifying stakeholders, analyzing stakeholder needs, and engaging stakeholders, you will have a better chance of getting project buy-in from all involved parties.
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Back To CourseProject Management Training
10 chapters | 96 lessons
Next LessonStakeholder Management: Definition & Importance