Topic 1 Project stakeholder management

A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organisation who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project.

The project stakeholder management process includes:

  • Planning stakeholder management
  • Managing stakeholder engagement
  • Controlling stakeholder engagement

Planning stakeholder management

The first step is to identify those stakeholders, who could impact or be impacted by a project decision, activity, or outcome. To this end, groups or individuals with specialised training can be consulted, including:

  • Senior management or project managers with relevant experience
  • Other organisational departments
  • Key stakeholders
  • Experts and consultants
  • Industry groups, professional associations, regulatory bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

A stakeholder register could also be created to contain all details related to the identified stakeholders, such as:

  • Profile information (name, position, project role etc.)
  • Assessment information (requirements and expectations, project impact and interest, etc.)
  • Stakeholder classification (internal/external, engagement level, etc.)

Stakeholder analysis

As presented the project scope, one of the initial steps is collecting and managing the requirements and expectations of stakeholders, as their interests and involvement may impact positively or negatively on the project’s performance or completion.

Through Stakeholder Analysis, quantitative and qualitative information on the stakeholders is gathered and analysed to determine the prioritisation of stakeholder interests during the project. This analysis helps to identify the interests, expectations, requirements, involvement, interdependencies and influence of stakeholders about the project. Subsequently, it also examines the stakeholders’ potential impact on project success, since the later is influenced by the sway stakeholders have over a project. Indeed, a project’s deliverables depend on the authority stakeholders may take, to become involved in different project phases and thus prompt changes in the project’s deliverables according to their needs and requirements.

The engagement level of the stakeholders

It is expected that not every stakeholder shall be equally positioned to the project and its deliverables. The stakeholder analysis reveals the engagement level of stakeholders, enabling their categorisation as:

  • Unaware: stakeholders are unaware of the project and its potential impacts.
  • Resistant: stakeholders are aware of the project and its potential impacts, but remain resistant to change.
  • Neutral: stakeholders are aware of the project, yet they are neither supportive nor resistant to it.
  • Supportive: stakeholders are aware of the project and its potential impacts and are supportive to change.
  • Leading: stakeholders are aware of the project and its potential impacts and are actively engaged in ensuring the project’s success.

Stakeholder

Unaware

Resistant

Neutral

Supportive

Leading

Stakeholder 1

X

Stakeholder 2

X

Stakeholder 3

X

Position of the stakeholder and actions to take

Accordingly, decisions can be made regarding the intensity and frequency of communications and involvement in regards to the project and its deliverables. A useful tool is the Power-Interest Grid

  • High power, highly interested people (Manage Closely): you must fully engage these people, and make the greatest efforts to satisfy them.
  • High power, less interested people (Keep Satisfied): put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.
  • Low power, highly interested people (Keep Informed): adequately inform these people, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. People in this category can often be very helpful with the detail of your project.
  • Low power, less interested people (Monitor): monitor these people, but do not tire them with excessive communication.

Manage stakeholder engagement

Managing stakeholder engagement is the process of communicating and collaborating with stakeholders to meet their needs, requirements and expectations within the boundaries set by the project scope. The main aim of this is to cultivate the stakeholders’ continuous support of the project. Therefore, customised and preferable communication methods must be used, according to the communications plan and the Power-Interest Grid. Moreover, conflict and dissatisfaction that may arise need to be resolved to build a relationship of trust and mutual respect between the stakeholders and the organization.

Control stakeholder engagement

The stakeholder level of engagement with the project in addition to the relationships between project team-stakeholders and among different stakeholders must be closely monitored and evaluated using various data-gathering tools. This way the project team can stay on top of positive or negative results and adjust its strategies and plans to engage further the stakeholders with the project and keep them content and, thus, invested.

INITIATING

Identify stakeholders

PLANNING

Plan stakeholder management

EXECUTING

Manage stakeholder involvement

CONTROL EVALUATION

Monitor and evaluate stakeholder engagement

CLOSING

Get final feedback