You know that stakeholder management is very important in order to complete the project successfully.
If your project is small you can do this easily; however, if the project is large, stakeholder management task is not easy. You cannot treat each stakeholder equally. You must find which stakeholders are important and which are not, and then you will manage the important stakeholders closely because they can affect your project objectives.
To manage stakeholders effectively, first of all you will classify them and then you will develop a strategy to manage your stakeholders.
In the PMBOK Guide, you will find four models to classify stakeholders. These are models are as follows:
- Power/interest grid
- Power/influence grid
- Influence/impact grid
- Salience model
Out of these four models, the guide describes only one model in detail, i.e. the power/interest grid model. It does not discuss the remaining models much.
In these four models, the first three models are somewhat similar and are based on two attributes. However, the fourth model is a bit different, which is the salience model, and it is based on three attributes.
Stakeholder salience means the “degree to which the managers give priority to competing stakeholders claims in their decision making process”. Here you give three attributes to your project stakeholders: power, legitimacy, and urgency.
Here you determine the power of the stakeholders regarding the project or its outcome. Power is something which can influence someone to do the job which is not possible by any other means. Power can be coercive, utilitarian, or incentive.
This is the legitimacy or appropriateness of the stakeholder regarding the project or its outcome. You will pay more attention to a stakeholder if their claim is appropriate or legitimate.
Urgency is the degree to which stakeholder requirements call for immediate attention. It shows how time sensitive the requirements are from the stakeholder. Here you can determine if any requirements from any stakeholder need to be fulfilled on an urgent basis or not.
When you combine these parameters, you get a list of prioritized stakeholders. Now you can give priority to high ranked stakeholders. In this way you can effectively save time by spending less on low priority stakeholders.
You should also note that stakeholder salience is not static; it is dynamic and can change as time passes. So you should keep track it and regularly update the model to reflect the change.
How to Draw a Salience Model Diagram
A stakeholder salience model diagram is a Venn diagram where each attribute is represented by a circle. The intersection of these three circles shows you the stakeholders who have multiple attributes.
To draw the salience diagram, first of all you define the three attributes for each stakeholder and then you will classify them into eight categories:
These stakeholders have high power, high urgency and high legitimacy; therefore, you will pay special attention to these stakeholders and manage them closely. Sometimes this category is also referred as “definitive”.
These are stakeholders with high power and high legitimacy but low urgency. You also have to manage them closely, however since the urgency is low they will be ranked below the core group.
These are stakeholders with high power and high urgency but low legitimacy, and this is what makes them dangerous. You have to manage them cautiously because they may jeopardize your project’s success.
These are stakeholders with high urgency and high legitimacy but low power. Since these stakeholders have low power in the project, you will not manage them too closely.
These are the stakeholders with high power but low legitimacy and low urgency. Since they have high power they can impact your project objective easily, so you will manage them prudently.
These are stakeholders with high legitimacy but low power and low urgency. Although these stakeholders have low power and low urgency, because of their legitimacy you will try to fulfill their requirements. You will communicate with them regularly to provide status update and progress reports.
These are stakeholders with high urgency but low legitimacy and low power. These are usually very vocal and may influence other stakeholders if their requirements are not met. These people always want your attention. Therefore, you will manage them carefully.
These people are not stakeholders to your project; therefore you will not waste your time managing these people.
In summary, the strategy to manage these stakeholders will be as follows:
- You will give the highest priority to the core group because this group has all attributes, i.e. power urgency and legitimacy.
- The next highest priority should be given to the second group of stakeholders which consists of dominant, dangerous, and dependent because they have mix of any two attributes.
- The lowest priority group consists of discretionary, demanding, and latent because they have only one attribute associated with them. Although you will give low importance to these stakeholders, you will keep watching them because you never know when they will change their salience.
The objective of stakeholder analysis is to help you manage your stakeholders effectively. There are many other models to classify stakeholders based on two attributes, such as power-interest, power-influence, etc. The salience model is based on three attributes: power, legitimacy and urgency. Although this model can be more time consuming than others, it can provide you with a better analysis of your stakeholders. This model lets you focus your energy on important stakeholders and keeps you from wasting your time on less important ones.
Here is where this blog post on salience model ends. If you have something to share, you can do so through the comments section.