Project stakeholder management comes under project management. To advance your project management career and to become a project manager, you must get your PMP certification from PMI. After which, you can start your career as a project manager in any organization.
First, there are things you should be aware of before understanding "what is project stakeholder management?" let us first get familiar with the definition of project stakeholder.
It can be anyone interested in the project or invested in it. It implies that a project manager is responsible for dealing with the stakeholders and completing the project.
A project manager should be able to handle the needs and opinions of the stakeholders, as they play an essential role in the completion of the project.
Whether in the financial aspect or logistics, the project manager alone cannot complete the project.
Project stakeholder management is the process in which the project manager deals with the project's stakeholders by listening to them or by coming up with a compromise that holds the best interest of both the project and the stakeholders in mind.
To understand what project stakeholder management is? First, we must know the different types of stakeholders. There are four types of stakeholders in project management.
Employees: They are the people who are working on the project directly.
Investors: They invest their assets into the project.
Customers: They buy the final product of the project.
Suppliers: They supply the resources needed for the project.
These significant types of project stakeholders require the project manager's attention.
Internal and external stakeholders in project management exert a unique influence over the project manager and the project itself. Therefore, most people prefer to classify the stakeholders in these two categories for simplification.
The illustration above will help you make distinctions between these two types of stakeholders in project management.
Seven guiding principles help the project manager in engaging the stakeholders for the success of the project:
- Identifying stakeholders in project management:
Identifying project stakeholders is one of the initial tasks in stakeholder management. But, first, the project manager must determine the stakeholders for the project and make a list accordingly.
- Focus on the stakeholders who have the most power to influence the project:
Knowing who can make or break the project will help the project manager prepare countermeasures against the negative influence of the stakeholders on the project.
- Be clear about what you need from each stakeholder:
The project manager should be able to make the best of every opportunity and turn it into an advantage. He can do this by analyzing the needs of the stakeholders first.
- Connect stakeholder's interest towards your goal:
The project manager can succeed by aligning the stakeholders' goals with the organization's desired goals.
- Increase the priority of your goals:
Completing the project can only be achieved by prioritizing the primary goal rather than what the stakeholders want from the project.
- Do not deal with the stakeholders directly:
Arrange an intermediary for the stakeholders who refuse to compromise with your deal. Then, deal with the people who can influence them instead.
- Attain agreement to secure the goal:
Gain the minimum number of yeses from the stakeholders and go ahead with your plan.
Following these project stakeholder management principles will make your project a success.
Suggested read: Project Manager Resume Guide – Best Tips and Examples
In project stakeholder management, there are certain levels of engagement with the stakeholders. The level of engagement shows the stakeholder's attitude, which will help us deal with him accordingly. The five levels of stakeholder engagement are as follows:
- Unaware: The stakeholder needs to know the project or its impact.
- Resistant: The stakeholder is aware of the project but refuses change.
- Neutral: The stakeholder is neither resistant nor supportive.
- Supportive: The stakeholder supports the change.
- Leading: The stakeholder actively involves himself in the project to ensure its success.
Related read: Stakeholder Engagement Levels Guide
Project stakeholder management is essential to increase the project's probability of success. By improving the involvement of the stakeholders in the project, one can reduce risks and gain expertise from experts in the industry. The more involved the stakeholder is in the project, the higher the chances of success.
Project stakeholder management comprises some key concepts that help with stakeholder management. The primary ideas of the stakeholder management plan are:
-Prioritization of stakeholders:
Prioritize the stakeholders based on their influence and interest in the project.
Establish a clear channel of communication between you and the stakeholders.
You will deal with the stakeholders according to their priority and their influence. The creation of an action plan will be helpful to your success.
Now let us go through some common issues in project stakeholder management.
-Different priorities among the stakeholders:
There may be a clash between the stakeholders' wants of the project. A project manager must resolve such conflicts.
-Breakdowns in communication:
The project manager might fail to win the stakeholder's trust, resulting in a communication breakdown.
-Stakeholder's resistance to giving information:
Some of the stakeholders might not want to provide a piece of information that can benefit the project. In such cases, the project manager must persuade the stakeholders.
-Constraints of resources:
Sometimes there might be a need for more resources to complete the project, and the stakeholder would refuse to give those resources as he would want those resources. Under this condition, the project manager should devise a compromise acceptable to the stakeholder and the project manager.
The list of stakeholders in a project:
-Technical / Department managers
This list shows a project's possible stakeholders; they might be internal or external or belong to some other category. There might be benefits or drawbacks for the stakeholders depending on the project's direction. The project manager must be able to handle all these stakeholders and convince them to follow his lead.
Stakeholder mapping is the process by which the project manager organizes all the stakeholders based on their priorities. To better understand this process, let us look at the grid of stakeholders’ influence against the stakeholder’s interest.
These are the four types of priorities:
For High interest + Low influence, the project manager must allot his resources moderately.
- Inform them completely
- Monitor them closely
For High interest + High influence, the project manager must give out all his resources.
- Regularly engage them
- Keep them satisfied
For Low interest + Low influence, the project manager must give the least resources.
- Give Essential information only
- Maintain Minimal contact
For Low interest + High influence, the project manager must allot his resources moderately.
- Monitor them regularly
- Anticipate their needs
The stakeholder mapping will help a project manager to arrange the stakeholders into four simple categories. This will allow him to focus his resources on the stakeholders according to their priorities.
Project Stakeholder management is arduous and more challenging to manage without getting a certification.
To become a successful project manager, you must become an excellent learner. Let us go through some of the certificates related to the topic.
PRINCE2® Foundation Practitioner
Those who are interested in learning more courses like these visit Sprintzeal.
Q1. Who is the most important stakeholder in a project?
A. Customers are the most critical stakeholders in the project.
Q2. What is the primary role of project stakeholder management?
A. To manage the stakeholder expectations for the project's success is the primary role of project stakeholder management.
Q3. What are the stakeholder management examples?
A. Managing the employee, investors, managers, and suppliers by the project manager.
Q4. What are the project stakeholders' examples?
A. Employees, investors, managers, etc.
Q5. What are the four steps of the stakeholder management process?
Step 1: Stakeholder identification.
Step 2: Setting up a stakeholder engagement plan.
Step 3: Continuous stakeholder interaction.
Step 4: Reporting back to stakeholders.
Q6. What is the key to effective stakeholder management?
Tracking the impact of your work in your community while staying transparent and accountable is the key to effective stakeholder management.
Q7. What are the best stakeholder management softwares?
Kintone, Smartsheet, and BQE core are some of the best stakeholder management software.
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