Managing the Stakeholder - the Negative Kind as well as the Supportive Kind - Part 3 By George Bridges, PMP
I have outlined a series of articles to discuss the topic of stakeholder management in a project environment. As we stated in Part 1 of this series; Stakeholder Management can be described by using the following diagram (Figure 1), developed by Dr. Harold Kerzner, Senior Executive Director with International Institute for Learning, Inc:
Using the above model, we highlight the entire process in this four part series. Here is what we will cover in our series:
Part 1 – Overview of Stakeholder Mgt/What is a stakeholder/ How to identify each stakeholder
Part 2 – How to Analyze your Stakeholders
Part 3 – Know what’s in it for each stakeholder – Who’s out to Kill Your Project
Part 4 – Stakeholder Management – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
In the first installment we covered: Overview of Stakeholder Management process and described a few simple techniques to help identify the key project stakeholders.
In the second installment we covered: How to analyze your Stakeholders (Part 2). We discussed and demonstrated how to map the project stakeholders and how to categorize each stakeholder so that we can tailor our future relationship with each stakeholder.
In this installment we will cover: “Know what’s in it for each stakeholder – Who’s out to Kill Your Project”. We will discuss and demonstrate how to identify the wins for each stakeholder and how we can influence the stakeholders to support the project.
Often our stakeholders have concerns that we are not aware of or we do not understand. On the surface, you may perceive the person as being rude, uncooperative or just “cold” to the project and the solution. They can be skeptical of the project outcome, the promised deliverables and the forecasted performance results.
To help us identify sources of concerns, we can use the following table to answer the question of “what is the impact of the project on …..”
|Major Concerns ||Low ||Moderate ||High ||Impacted Stakeholders |
|Organizational Structure || || ||X || |
|Monitoring || ||X || || |
|Rewards ||X || || || |
|Competency || ||X || || |
|Communication || ||X || || |
Our next step involves identifying wins for our stakeholder.
Finding wins for key stakeholders in the projects requirements can improve their attitudes and in turn make them more valuable to the requirements development process. See the table below:
There are three main types of “wins” to look for in the early stages of an IT project:
- Provide benefits (or to avoid pain) – In business, this most often takes the form of a system enabling someone’s job to become less costly, easier to perform and less stressful, and/or more likely to satisfy customers.
- Address concerns – see table above; this type of win usually affords the most powerful.
- Relieve external pressures – Process or system change may be initiated to address issues like regulatory change and market pressures.
- Personal – “What’s in it for me”?
- Company – “What’s in it for the company”?
- Professional interests – “What’s in it for my career”?
- Peers’ and friends’ interests – “What’s in it for others”
Identifying these concerns may bring out new requirements – either for the system or for the process of defining and delivering it. A requirements communication plan will then need to address how to involve, inform, and influence these key stakeholders to support the resulting requirements at the appropriate levels.
We have covered how to identify the concerns and how to identify the wins for our stakeholders. Motivating the stakeholders and getting them involved will require some additional effort, but can payoff in big dividends for your project.
Stakeholder Management is critical for project success and helps to manage the expectations of all impacted parties. Project Managers and Business Analysts that spend the extra time and effort to do stakeholder management will see their projects become more successful.
Regardless of the size, complexity or nature of the project, most people are influenced by knowing: “What’s in it for me”? We have demonstrated a win-win approach that you can use for your project.
Our next and final installment is: Stakeholder Management – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. We will look at attitudes and personalities of different types of stakeholders and address strategies to deal with them.
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