The first step of stakeholder management is called stakeholder analysis. Mostly this step is the only difference between a winning project and a failed project. Successful project managers keep a great focus on winning support from others by performing stakeholder analysis.
Stakeholders play a very important role in a person’s/company’s success and failure. They can make or break the success of a project. If a stakeholder is happy everyone is happy. If a stakeholder is not happy then no one is happy. No matter how perfect the project is in your eyes.
All the people who are affected by your work in any way are the stakeholders, they can either be cheerleaders for our work, or they can stop it all together. You should have a sound knowledge about your stakeholders, so you can outshine and impress them.
Stakeholder Analysis Template
There is a simple yet effective 3 step stakeholder analysis that can be performed to identify, prioritize and understand your key stakeholders.
How to Conduct a Stakeholder Analysis:
The three steps of conducting a stakeholder analysis are:
Identifying your stakeholders: first of all, identify who your stakeholders really are.
Kick off by brainstorming. Think of all the people who are in any way affected by your work, who have any kind of authority or interest in your work, or those who get affected by its successful or unsuccessful completion.
Some of the possible stakeholders can be your boss, your seniors, your peers, your team, your subordinates, all these people may enjoy the perks if your project is successful. Your vendors, transporters, suppliers, partners etc. Your family is one of the closest stakeholders for you, the government, the public, local interest groups may also benefit from your work hence they can also be stakeholders.
Prioritizing your stakeholder: now once you have identified your potential stakeholders, you need to rank them in priority, those who have the most power on your success are, the most high, on the priority ladder, some people might only have interest in your work some won’t even be interested. So, you need to sort the priorities based on the most influential a person can be in advancing or halting your project.
Understanding your stakeholder:
After establishing the priority of the stakeholders, you now know whom to involve more in your work. To better communicate and involve the stakeholders, you need to understand their interests and what benefit they get from the success of your project. To get a better understanding you can ask them a certain set of questions to get a better idea where their interests lie.
- Their emotional or financial interest, both positive and negative
- Their biggest motivation regarding the project or outcome
- What updates do they want you, to communicate to them and how
- Current opinion, good or bad
- What influences their opinion
- If they are negative, how can you convince them otherwise
- If you can’t get them on your side, how will you work in their opposition
- Do they influence other stakeholders
Ask these questions to all your stakeholders, directly so they know, you are also interested in them. At the end of this session, you will have a clear idea who lies where in your power grid and who needs more work to get them on your side.
Related Article: Project Management Plan
Presenting a project to a stakeholder:
A stakeholder presentation, requires from you to send away a stakeholder group, fully satisfied and well aware of all the information they require of your project. If you are new to a stakeholder presentation keep in mind the following points:
- Know your audience: give the audience the information they need. Every stakeholder group has different interests from your projects, the sales team would want to know how it will impact the sales, the senior management would want to know the revenue the project will bring in, the floor people will want to know how the project will change their day-to-day operations. Give everyone the information they need, not the one they have no interest in.
- Present clearly: your voice and words should be clear, whether it’s 1 person or a 100 people, everyone should hear you loud and clear, practice with a mic if you would need to address a bigger group. The words and data on your slides should be simple yet explanatory of everything happening in the project. Everyone should be getting the same message, or the people will start tuning out, and you won’t want to lose the interest of a stakeholder.
- Use visual aids: use pictures or visual representations of what you are speaking, use grids and charts and plans that are according to the interest of the current stakeholder Give them only the information that relates with their interests. People get more involved if they get visual statistics rather than just you droning on and on.
- practice for question: be open to and prepared for all the possible questions the audience may ask you after the presentation. You can even ask a friend to ask a question you know the answer to, so the floor may open up and get past the fear of being the first one to ask. Satisfy your audience in every regard.
There are three types of stakeholder matrix:
- Power interest matrix: the two variables that affect a project are: power and interest
- Power: the ability for a stakeholder to advance or halt a project
- Interest: the overlapping of stakeholders and projects goals
This is a power/interest grid in which person can classify the stake holders on base of their interest/power and their influence on the work. There are 4 categories of stake holders defined here:
- High power-low interest
- High power-high interest
- Low power-low interest
- Low power-high interest
- Stake holder analysis matrix: as it is highlighted enough times that the stake holders depend on two variables: power and interest, these two factors are highlighted in this matrix as well. This matrix is more like a summary table focusing on these two variables again.
- Stake holder engagement assessment matrix: this matrix is developed during the project planning and is filled in as the information is gathered
According to this matrix the stake holders fall into 5 categories, depending on the support they provide towards the project:
Communication plan template:
A Communication plan is a strategy driven approach for sending information to stake holders. There are four questions that this plan is based on:
- What information should be given to which stake holder
- Who should be given the information, which particular person should be sent the information in that particular group of stake holders
- When should the information be sent
- How the information should travel, over which medium, which channel must be used to send over the information e.g., email, printed documents, presentation, phone calls.
A great communication plan is essential for project management, everything should be documented between a stake holder and project manager, how the information is solicited, archived, a glossary of terms could be made so everyone uses same terms, it will be easier to accept change and be updated about it if the communication is strong.
Download: Stakeholder Analysis Example