As we discussed yesterday, there are many project decelerators, among them lack of stakeholder support. Whether the stakeholders support your project or not, if they are important to your project, you must secure their support. How do you do that?
First, you must identify who your stakeholders are. Just because they are important in the organization does not necessarily mean they are important to your project. Just because they think they are important does not mean they are. Just because they don’t think they need to be involved does not mean they do not have to. The typical suspects: your manager, your manager’s manager, your client, your client’s manager, any SME (Subject Matter Expert) whose involvement you need, the board reviewing and approving your project. Note that in some situations there are people who think they are stakeholders. From your perspective they may not be but be careful how you handle them. They could be influential with those who have the power to impact your project. Do not dismiss them out of hand.
Second, you need to determine what power they have and what their intentions towards your project are. Do they have the power to have an impact on your project? Do they support or oppose you? What strategies do you follow with them? The chart below summarizes the options based on an assessment of your stakeholders’ potential for cooperation and potential for threat.
Source: http://www.business.utah.edu/~mgtab/BS-03.ppt, p. 26
Third, what’s the relationship among stakeholders? Can you improve your project’s chances by working with those who support you to improve the views of those who oppose you? The diagram below shows an example of such an approach to map your stakeholders and relationships. With this information you can then plot an ideal map and define strategies to help you get there.
Now that you have this information, you can complete a stakeholder analysis template that will help you define your strategies to improve their support:
Finally, a key piece of your stakeholder management efforts is the constant communication to your stakeholders. Using the information developed above, you should develop a communications plan that secures your stakeholders support. The following template can be used:
Communications Plan Template
So, here are the basics of stakeholder management. Let us know your experience with any of these approaches.