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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chapter 23: Stakeholder Management Strategy

This is the last chapter in the section on “Initiating a Project” in our PMP preparation series. We have learnt how to identify the stakeholders, analyzed them and classified them into various categories. Now the last step would be to create a strategy to manage the stakeholders. Yes, you create a Stakeholder Management Strategy. This is what we are going to learn in this chapter.

So, lets get started!!!

What is Stakeholder Management Strategy?

The stakeholder management strategy is the approach developed to deal with the stakeholders in the best interests of the project. Once we identify & analyze the stakeholders, it is imperative that any good project manager will put together a plan that can be used to manage these people.
The strategy should include the following elements:

• Key stakeholders
• For each stakeholder, level of influence on the project and level of impact on the stakeholder from the project
• How to manage individual stakeholders
• How to manage groups of stakeholders

For ex: you can create a table that will contain details of every single stakeholder and their details like below:

Stakeholder Interest in the Project Assessment of Impact of the Project on the Stakeholder Level of Influence of the Stakeholder on the Project Positive Stakeholder or Negative Stakeholder? Strategy for Maximizing Support or Minimizing Negative Impact
Stakeholder 1 ……… ……… ……… ……… ………
Stakeholder 2 ……… ……… ……… ……… ………
The above is just a template and I havent filled in any details. The list would be long if there are numerous stakeholders and the project manager has to fill in the details of all those stakeholders.

The stakeholder management strategy should include both the positive and the negative stakeholders. You should develop and implement the stakeholder management strategy with one goal in mind: to optimize the project success by maximizing the support from the positive stakeholders and minimizing the impact on the project from the negative stakeholders.

As discussed in the previous chapter on stakeholder analysis, you can compare the different stakeholders and prepare a graph/plot to diagrammatically represent them. If the variables (for analysis) are chosen carefully, the output graph will show how much attention each stakeholder would need.

For Ex: let us look at a sample graph to understand better. Lets say X axis represents the level of interest in the project from low to high and the Y axis represents the amount of influence the stakeholder would have on the project from low to high.

If you see the graph above, we have 4 categories of stakeholders, stakeholder 1 has the highest authority level and has the highest interest in the project and hence he is the one we need to spend maximum effort managing whereas stakeholder 3 has the least interest and least authority, but still he too is a stakeholder and we need to spend a little effort to manage him.

Communication of information about the stakeholders is an important part of the stakeholder management strategy. For example, some of the information about certain stakeholders may be too sensitive to be included in a publicly shared document. As a project manager, you must exercise your judgment on which information about which stakeholder can be shared with whom and to what detail. Some stakeholders may make noise on certain things that they need not know, and you must ensure that they don't learn those things.

Even though, you have created a Project Charter and a Stakeholder Management Strategy, a project isnt officially kicked off until the Project Charter is approved. So once that is done (Usually by the Project Sponsor or the PMO) we are good to start the project.

As the project manager, you have created the project charter, identified all stakeholders and prepared a stakeholder management strategy. So the Project Initiation Phase is successfully complete. We are ready to move on to the next big step. As the next step, you will start Planning for this project.

First, we will wrap up the Initiation chapter with a summary and then move on to the project planning phase.

Previous: Stakeholder Analysis

Next: Summary - Project Initiation

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