Stakeholders management is one of the vital part of project management. Definition of stakeholders itself tells us the importance of stakeholders in any of the project and their importance in the success of the projects.
“Stakeholder is any individual, group or organisation that can affect, affected by or perceive itself to be affected by project”
Stakeholders management is a vast field and can be divided into the following stages, in order to achieve a better implementation of stakeholder management plan:
this is one of the most important stage in the stakeholder management process. Identification of relevant stakeholders is like foundation stone for stakeholders management process. Listing of a stakeholder who has the least influence on the project may lead to waste of time and efforts and will affect the project progress adversely. On the other hand, missing an important stakeholder will lead to multiple changes in the project at a later stage which could cost extra budget or extra time to the project. Therefore, it is recommended to carry out a thorough exercise while identifying the stakeholders for a particular project. PMI ® recommend various methodologies and process for better identification of stakeholders. Timing of the stakeholder identification also plays a vital role in the success of the project. Early identification is always recommended for project managers, as late involvement of stakeholders always leads to time and cost overrun to the projects.
Next step in the stakeholder management process is the engagement of already identified stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement could be official, formal, written or verbal. Selection of the mode of communication with stakeholders purely depends on the category of the stakeholders. Stakeholders which are important to the project or having an influence on the project need to be dealt accordingly through official and more of formal communications, whereas, other stakeholders can be dealt informally or verbally.
Once identified and engaged it is important to understand the expectations of the stakeholders. Clear understanding of their expectations will help shaping the project in the early stage, rather meeting their expectation towards end of the project, which may end up extra cost and extra time to the project. It is always recommended to record the stakeholder expectations in some or other form of documentation. Documentation of stakeholder expectation is an essential record for resolving any dispute or potential dispute with the stakeholders during the life of the project.
Managing Stakeholders Expectations:
After the identification of stakeholders, engagement of stakeholders, understanding their expectations; the most difficult task for a project manager is to manage their expectations. Management of stakeholder’s expectation will help project manager to avoid any future dispute respective stakeholders. In case of any dispute with the stakeholders, any such dispute should be resolved in the better interest of the project rather than stakeholder’s interest.
In order to manage stakeholders effectively, it is important to classify them in to manageable categories. One of the most popular classification could be based on the power of the stakeholder and their interest in the project. This classification is based on various combination of power and interest of the stakeholders.
1. Stakeholders with high power and high interest should be managed with the utmost care.
2. Stakeholders with high power and low interest should be kept satisfied.
3. Stakeholders with low power and high interest should be kept informed.
4. Stakeholders with low power and low interest requires less effort than the rest only be monitored.