How to Engage Stakeholders

How to Engage Stakeholders

Is your project doooommmmed (scary movie voice) to fail because you forgot a key stakeholder? Last month’s newsletter featured a simple tool coined by the Center for Requirements Excellence (CRE) called a KRAC Analysis. We discussed how to use this tool with stakeholders. Now, let’s define “stakeholders.” Most people think of stakeholders as anyone who is affected by the project or who has an interest. And that’s correct but there’s more.

I encourage you to also think of those individuals who have influence over your project as stakeholders. These are the stakeholders who are often overlooked, which is surprising since they can make your project fail. If we miss those stakeholders, then we are missing requirements, and if we are missing requirements, we are missing scope, and if we are missing scope, we are doooommmmed (scary movie voice) to fail! Why?

Because our stakeholders won’t be satisfied with the end result: the deliverables and/or the benefits won’t be realized according to our customer’s expectations. How do we identify ALL of our stakeholders to ensure that we understand their requirements and expectations? One simple technique is to map them on a grid. Influence goes on the vertical axis from Low at the bottom to High at the top. Interest goes on the horizontal axis from Low on the left side to High on the right side. The strategies about how to treat these stakeholders according to their influence and interest are named in the boxes.

stakeholders, stakeholder, project, projects

Once you have your stakeholders mapped, you may want to check your perceptions with your sponsor.  She/he may have a different view and help you identify missing stakeholders.  Once you have confidence that you have identified ALL your stakeholders, you’ll want to develop stakeholder and communication management plans.

We will discuss these tools and how to have difficult conversations in our upcoming two-day workshop called, “The Exceptional Project Manager” in Denver on April 11-12. If you are interested in learning more, click on this link to view details or please contact me.