Outside of the project team, the project community has a significant bearing on the success of your project. This community of individuals are made up of people with a variety of influence and opinion. This project community are typically termed stakeholders.
Stakeholders are individuals who have a vested interest in both the project and its outcome.
The typical group of stakeholders can include customers, senior managers, users, suppliers, third-party organizations who contribute to the project and its deliverable.
Why stakeholders matter
The key reasons for stakeholders requiring management during the project is their ability to influence is income. As individuals and collectors have the ability to impact your activity together with the beliefs and impressions of other stakeholders. This can affect the support to your project.
Not all stakeholders are created equal some stakeholders will have little influence over their peers. Other stakeholders may be decision-makers or have influence over decision-makers.
Stakeholders will typically have one of three opinions.
• Firstly they may be positive about your project.
• Secondly they may have no opinion either positive or negative about your project.
• Thirdly they may have a negative opinion about your project.
The role of the project manager with regards to stakeholders is that the project manager must manage the stakeholder influence with regards to the project deliverable to ensure a successful project.
The successful management of stalkers requires a combination of things. This includes a robust communications plan, credibility, connections within the organizations down to the attitude and personality of the project team. The project manager must determine each group of stakeholders needs and expectations in order to plan and execute communications and information regarding requirements and delivery method to satisf them them.
Managing stakesholders can be complex and time consuming. Project managers must not think that this will be an easy task. Get it wrong and you could see resistance grow around your stakeholder community and your project affected.
Not all stakeholders are equal, some have more influence than others either through having a senior position within the organization or having the ability to exert influence over their peers.
Stakeholder management begins with a stakeholder analysis. The stakeholder analysis identifies the project community, its requirements and a suitable management plan. This can be regularly appreciated during the project and tuned as is necessary.
Please do not underestimate the importance of affective stakeholder management within your project. No matter how well your project plan and business case is constructed, mismanagement of your stakeholders can see your project derailed.
Stakeholders come in many different forms and they can not all be managed in the same way. Remember that your stakeholders are human beings and have many other things to worry about as well as your project – its down to you to get your message across, maintain awareness and manage resistance.