Optimizing Stakeholder Engagement
Posted: Aug 21, 2020
Stakeholders are individuals or organizations who are involved in the project, or whose interests are positively or negatively affected by the result of the project. Stakeholders are essential as the project’s success or failure largely depends on the fulfillment of stakeholder’s needs or expectations. Due to this, the engagement of stakeholders intrinsically becomes an essential part of project management.
The key to effective stakeholder engagement is "planning." One has to systematically identify and prioritize stakeholders, along with establishing proper communication modes with them. So let’s look at the steps in the strategy to develop and optimize stakeholder engagement.
1. Stakeholder Identification
The first step is to identify who all are being affected by the projects. It would be best if you considered all the individuals, interest groups, and right holders who would have an interest in the project. If you are running the project for a client, you may be in contact with the high-level stakeholders. However, engaging other stakeholders, especially at the beginning of the project, will help you uncover risks and gain additional sources of expertise.
2. Analyze the Stakeholders
Once you have identified the stakeholders, your next step should be to analyze them and understand how you should engage with them. You can make use of techniques like the power-interest grid. The method works by considering the power and interest level of stakeholders.
Players: Players are stakeholders with high interest in the project and hold high power over the project as well. These are the prime stakeholders for a project, and one should collaborate with them.
- Subjects: Subjects are stakeholders who are profoundly affected by the project and hence are involved in it but cannot change significant decisions. They can help a lot during the projects, and it is good to keep them engaged throughout the project.
- Context Setters: These are the stakeholders that hold high power but take little interest in the project. It is good to consult with them regularly but don’t let them dictate the decisions as well.
- Crowd: These are low interest and low power stakeholders. As they neither have the interest nor the power to affect your project, it is sufficient to keep them informed about the project growth.
The power-interest grid model will also help you with the prioritization of stakeholders.
3. Stakeholder Communication:
There will be a difference in how various stakeholders prefer to communicate and take part in the project. It is essential to identify how you can effectively communicate with the stakeholders. Also, consider communicating with them as early as possible and with as much transparency as possible. You will also have to make decisions on how often you would like to communicate with various stakeholders through the project.
4. Construct a Stakeholder Management Team:
Decide or identify who all are working with the stakeholders. Make the expectations clear with each member of the team and devise a clear and consistent reporting for each member. Properly utilizing and channeling the company resources and contact touchpoints will make sure that none of the crucial information coming from the stakeholder is missed.
5. Stakeholder Data Collection and Reporting:
You can make use of specialized software and team support tools to manage all the communications centrally. Try to find a solution that facilitates a quick input, tracking, and cross-referencing of information. Also, pay attention to the reporting functionality of the tool.
6. Monitoring Stakeholder relationship and improvement:
Stakeholders pay a vital role throughout the process. You will have to monitor stakeholder engagement and overall relationship with the stakeholders constantly. Doing so will maximize stakeholder engagement and, thus, the project support.
Constant involvement and inputs from the stakeholders can transcend into the success of a project, and this necessitates the need for effective stakeholder engagement. You can also make use of the Agile Principles of Stakeholder Management to gain insight into the process of maintaining better relations with the stakeholders.
If you are looking for more learning iterations in the domain, you can take up any structured course in the project management domain. PMP and PMI-ACP are two of the most prominent certifications in the spectrum and can help you explore similar essential concepts and practices for effective project management. Visit us at www.certificationplanner.com to explore the complete training catalog or connect with our learning experts at email@example.com to know more about the learning opportunities. Happy Learning!
Gaurav is a professional with extensive experience in the project management and adult learning domain.