Take Care Of People Who Make The Project Possible – Stakeholders

stakeholder managementAs we understand from one of the initial lessons from first section, a stakeholder is defined as an individual, group, or organization who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project”.

Thus stakeholder is anyone – customer, sponsor, team member, CEO, end user, neighbor – basically anyone who can impact the project or whose interests are positively or negatively impacted by the execution or completion of the project.

This knowledge domain stresses on continuous communication with stakeholders to understand their concerns and issues and managing any conflicts that may arise. Managing stakeholders, making them happy (or at least not mad) is, as many project managers concur, one of the most important job of a project manager. After all, the project exists for and because of them!

Identifying People Who Hold Stakes In The Project

As we know whole existence of the project is due to a stakeholder need – that of Customer. Who is better than him to go to and identify people impacting or getting impacted by the project? We will see in the next lesson how do we do that.

In this project management activity we not only identify all those people that have stake in the project, we also understand as much as possible about them.  Their interests, involvement in the project, amount of influence, interdependencies amongst them and so on. This actually makes project manager’s life much easier. Once you know who can do what, it is easy to give them what they want and ensure they help the project succeed.

You didn’t think just because someone is a stakeholder in a project they will want the project to succeed. Did you?

Even if someone does not want the project to be successful, they are stakeholders in the project. Take the example of a government project to build a dam. Sure they have a noble reason for building the dam. But what about those farmers who lose their land, the only source of their livelihood, if the dam comes up? Damn. They will do all in their might to ensure that project does not succeed. And they are very important stakeholders. The project manager of this project should identify such stakeholders, see how their interests are being impacted and what strategies she can put in place to win their support.

Planning How To Manage These Stakeholder

Managing stakeholders calls for strategies to be employed to deal with different types of stakeholders. Both positive and negative stakeholders will need different strategies. Plan Stakeholder Management process is about putting these strategies together to continuously engage stakeholders, understand their needs and make sure they do not have a reason to complain.

Managing Needs Of Stakeholders Stakeholder

This project management activity is about continuously working with stakeholders addressing their concerns and communicating right amount of information, using right medium and at the right time.

Making Sure Stakeholders Are Happy Throughout The Project

This project management activity is part of Monitoring and Controlling process group. This is all about watching closely whether stakeholders are getting right information, whether the relationships are managed well, and adjusting stakeholder management strategies as per changing scenarios.

Stakeholder Management, rightly has been given its own knowledge area in PMBOK 5th edition. From an examination study point there may not be much changed but for project managers who refer to PMBOK to manage project (aka the practitioners) this segregation is going to be beneficial. The Plan Stakeholder Management process brings focus on the need to think about managing communication with different stakeholders and plotting strategies upfront during planning stage itself. This alone is going to probably lead to project success in many cases.

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