Stakeholder management on any project can be challenging. I have simplified my approach below:
- Identify and categorise stakeholder groups
- Find out each what each group is interested in most
- Understand how each group would prefer to be communicated with and the frequency
- Respond to any general queries quickly
I go through these steps to help me design a suitable strategy for communicating for each group.
Identify and categorise groups
First of all, a short brainstorming exercise is usually enough for me to highlight the main stakeholder groups in a project.
I categorise people with similar interests into the same group. For example:
- Assurance Functions
- Project Board
- Programme Board
Find out each what each group is interested in most
I create a list of assumed interests for each stakeholder group, which I confirm by:
- including a question as part of an online requirements gathering survey
- verbally at an in-person workshop
- including assumptions for clarification, as part of a communications approach in a project scoping document
- documenting requirements via telephone call or online meeting
Understand how they would prefer to be communicated with and the frequency
I confirm what method of communication each stakeholder group prefers and how regularly that they would like to be updated.
A report containing financial information, probably won’t be suitable for customers who are only interested in a product launch date.
So I produce content that targets specific groups and their individual goals.
Respond to any general queries quickly
I have realised that my responsiveness to general queries helps improves the perception of my work.
I believe that stakeholders tend to use every formal and informal interaction with a project to develop a perception of the performance of it.
Responding to questions quickly can help provide a positive view of a project.
Conversely, even after creating and a agreeing a stakeholder management plan and can still be very difficult.
Unreasonable stakeholders exist. I’ll discuss this in a part 2.
What do you think improves stakeholder management?