Your project has been completed when your stakeholders are satisfied. If your stakeholders are not happy, you cannot say your project was successful.
Therefore, you must manage your stakeholders according to their requirements and expectations.
A good stakeholder management strategy can help you fulfilling your stakeholders’ requirements.
Developing a stakeholder management strategy is a three-step process. The first step is to identify them. The second step is to classify and rank them. You can use any parameters for prioritization; for example, power, interest, or influence.
Afterward, you will develop a strategy to manage them.
I have explained the stakeholder identification process in a previous blog post. Now we will discuss stakeholder classification and management strategy.
Every stakeholder has different requirements. Developing a strategy for each individual will be difficult, so you will group them according to their requirements, power, or influence. Afterward, you will plan your strategy to manage these groups. This will help you develop a strategy efficiently.
Though some influential stakeholders need their own strategy, but this is not common.
Therefore, you will classify your stakeholders first and then develop a stakeholder management strategy.
Knowing the following will help you categorize stakeholders:
- Their power within the project
- Their influence on the project
- Their desire to be involved
- Their interest in the project
The answers to these questions will help you classify stakeholders. You can use one of the following models:
- Power and interest
- Power and influence
- Influence and impact
- Power, urgency, and legitimacy
Power and Interest
Here, you group stakeholders according to their power and their interest in the project.
In this grid, stakeholders’ attributes are high-power or low-power and high-interest or low-interest.
Power and Influence
Here, you group stakeholders as per their power and influence on the project.
Here, stakeholders’ attributes are high-power or low-power and high-interest or low-interest.
Influence and Impact
Here, you classify stakeholders based on their influence and impact on the project.
You can attribute the stakeholders as follows: high-influence or low-influence, high-impact or low-impact.
Power, Urgency, and Legitimacy
Many experts call this the Salience Model. Unlike others, this model uses three parameters to classify stakeholders: power, urgency, and legitimacy.
Here, stakeholders’ attributes can be core, dominant, dangerous, dependent, latent, discretionary, or demanding.
After the classification is complete, you can group the stakeholders accordingly and develop your management strategy.
Stakeholder Management Strategy
A solid stakeholder management strategy is vital to your project success. This will help you win their support. You can focus on important stakeholders and avoid less influential ones. This will save you time and energy as well.
Though you are free to use any model, the power/interest model is the most well-known. You can draw a chart as shown below.
The horizontal line denotes interest, and the vertical line is for power.
In this model, you can divide stakeholders into four categories:
- High-power – high-interest
- High-power – low-interest
- Low-power – high-interest
- Low-power – low-interest
You will use the following strategies to manage stakeholders:
- The high-power and high-interest group should be managed with the utmost care.
- High-power and low-interest stakeholders should be kept satisfied.
- The low-power and high-interest stakeholders should be kept informed.
- The low-power and low-interest groups require the least effort. They should only be monitored.
Keep monitoring your stakeholders for any status change. You never know when a low-power stakeholder will become high-power and influential. Likewise, a powerful stakeholder may become less so in a later stage of the project.
The Purpose of a Stakeholder Management Strategy
The purpose of stakeholder management is to gain stakeholders’ support. If the stakeholder has a negative effect, it will help you decrease their impact. You can change negative stakeholders into positive ones with a proper strategy. A successful strategy can ensure a fruitful project.
Stakeholder management can be broadly defined or it can be thoroughly detailed. Small projects can have an informal strategy, but bigger projects must have a detailed, well-documented strategy.
Pay more attention to your negative stakeholders. They are the ones who can jeopardize your project’s success. However, if you manage them proactively, their impact may become positive
A stakeholder management strategy is a necessary part of your planning. Without it, you will face many issues during your project.
A Real Example of a Failed Stakeholder Management Strategy
A few years back, an automobile company tried to open a manufacturing plant in India. They collaborated with the state government and bought the land to build the plant.
The plant was almost complete when the local farmers, who used to own the land, became agitated. They started making new demands; supported by a party in political opposition to a manufacturing plant.
Distress spread throughout the state. Finally, the company had to transfer the facility to another state. This caused the company a massive loss and embarrassment to the state government.
The state government did not take local stakeholders into consideration. The situation would have been different if the farmers had been involved
This is an example of a poor stakeholder management strategy.
Start managing your stakeholders from the very beginning of the project. They will work with you, and you may not face any problems in accessing resources.
It is imperative to understand the needs of your stakeholders. Regular communication will help them understand your project’s requirements and make sure they feel connected to the project.
The stakeholder management plan may have sensitive information. Do not share it around and keep it in a secure place.
The Benefits of a Good Stakeholder Management Strategy
Stakeholder management is important for your project success. It helps you get the stakeholders’ buy-in.
Here are a few benefits of the stakeholder management strategy:
- Keeps stakeholders satisfied by fulfilling their expectations and requirements.
- Avoids scope creep and mitigates issues that may cause problems for the project.
- Ensures you receive full cooperation from the stakeholders with minimal obstruction.
Project management is all about satisfying stakeholders’ needs and requirements. They can be a threat or an opportunity for your project. Winning the support of negative stakeholders will be crucial for your project’s success. Management should start from the early stages of the project to help you win support from the stakeholders. If you fail to do so, your project will have an unsuccessful ending.
How do you manage stakeholders on the projects you manage? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.