Basics of Stakeholder Management

Stakeholders are persons or organizations who have an interest in the project. They may be involved in the project or they may be receiving the end product. Anyone who has any interest in the project will be a stakeholder.

In the words of Steve Blank – “Almost everything important is at first opposed by stakeholders in the status quo. Be relentless, persistent and tenacious.”. The bottom line is that we need various stakeholders for our project’s success. Hence, stakeholders should be prioritized and managed accordingly. Prioritizing and managing stakeholders will help the project run smoothly without getting derailed many a time.

Stakeholders may have a high interest in the project but may have low influence or power. Sometimes they may have low-interest but high power or influence. Prioritizing the stakeholders according to the interest of the project is a vital step in any successful project.

What does high-interest low power mean in terms of stakeholders? It means that the stakeholders may be very interested in the project but may not have influence or decision-making ability. Low interest and high-power stakeholders mean that the stakeholder has low interest but has decision-making powers.

For example, as shown in the stakeholder register above, the CEO, Joe Rogers may have high power or influence but may not have a high interest in the project. The Project Manager, Ashley Cooper, will need to bring the CEO onboard to ensure that the project succeeds.  

Keeping stakeholders engaged is a big task and the more organized you are in your approach, the more consistent you can be in your outcomes! You can plan a project schedule, finances, and budget very well but if stakeholders are not managed well, they can throw your project off completely. Prioritize your stakeholders and they will prioritize your project.

Author: Sonali Bandyopadhyay