Describe The Elements Of A Stakeholder Process; 5 Points

Paul Naybour

1.       Stakeholder Management Process is the systematic identification, analysis and planning of actions to communicate with, negotiate with and influence stakeholders.  Stakeholders are all those who have an interest or role in the project or are impacted by the project.  Stakeholder Management is an iterative process which starts during the Concept Phase of the project lifecycle but must be applied continuously throughout the project lifecycle, as Stakeholder power/interest may vary through the phases.  Stakeholder Management Process is a pre-requisite for planning activities including integration, communication, information management and risk management.  

2.       Identification – establishes the individuals and groups with a vested interest in the project.  Stakeholders can be identified by brainstorming, talking to peers or colleagues or reviewing lessons learned reports from previous projects. Gather as much information as possible about your stakeholders

a.        What is their role

b.       What influence do they have

c.        What is their interest in the project? 

Stakeholders may be internal or external.

3.       Assess – Once you have your list of stakeholders – your next step is to understand which ones are important and will have an influence on the project.  Some may be opposed whilst others are for it.  Some stakeholders may introduce threats and others provide opportunities.  Stakeholders’ involvement may be passive or active, i.e. active environmental lobbyists and demonstrators who are prepared to take action.   DRAW THE STAKEHOLDER GRID.  The principal of the Stakeholder Management Grid is to identify the influential people and position them in their relative positions.   Considering a stakeholders placement on this grid will help to determine stakeholder management actions, which are monitored and controlled to ensure effectiveness. 

4.       Communication – The project’s communication plan should be employed as a tool for Stakeholder Management.  It may include who the stakeholders are and their communication needs.  When defining the communication plan, the Stakeholder Grid and the stakeholder position on it, should help with decisions around:

a.        Information – What information will you communicate to who?  Consider confidentiality/sensitivity.

b.       Message – What are the key messages you want to get across? These must be targeted at the individual stakeholders according to their influence as defined by the Stakeholder analysis.  Getting the right information to the right people is essential for quick decision making.

c.        Level – what level of detail should be provided to what stakeholders?

d.       Timing – when should you communicate?  At what stages in the lifecycle? What frequency?

e.       How – how will you communicate to each stakeholder?  Letter, e-mail, face to face meetings monthly, newsletter?

f.         Barriers for communication – culture/time of day – Stakeholders may be abroad.

5.       Make sure it has gone to plan – Here we need to ensure that the plans have worked!   Ensure that all planned actions have happened and if they did not work try something different.  The Stakeholder Grid should be used to re-assess Stakeholder attitudes and position on a regular basis to determine trends and how effective you have been.

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