Stakeholder Mapping & Stakeholder Management
If you are a project manager or a project team member, you have to deal with your stakeholders in order to manage your project successfully. Because a project cannot exist without stakeholder participation. Stakeholders are individuals, organizations or anybody who affect the project and will be affected by it. They can be people at higher levels such as a company founder or a chancellor. They can even be people like residents, non-governmental organization representatives, and students. People who are involved in your projects such as the client, managers, and team members are your projects key stakeholders. Therefore it is essential to make stakeholder mapping for successful stakeholder management. This will provide you and your team many benefits such as identifying key project stakeholders, understanding their requirements and planning the type of communications they need.
Now, let’s start with stakeholder definition. As we mentioned above, stakeholders can be individuals, team members, groups, organizations who affect the project or are affected by the outcome of a project. They may be inside or outside the project and they can be classified into many categories such as executive stakeholders, technical stakeholders, marketing stakeholders, etc. Simply put, stakeholders are interested in the success of the project and they can influence the project’s success. As a project manager, if you don’t manage your stakeholders carefully, your life will be more difficult because they may slow down processes or they may come to you with never-ending demands.
Once you have created the list of key project stakeholders and classified them according to their roles, the next step is to map the stakeholders accordingly. For better understanding, let’s review the example below;
Assume that you are a project manager of a software development project. The project’s scope includes adding new features to an accounting software. The duration of the project is ten months. Below are a few categories and example of stakeholders that you should deal with;
- External Stakeholders: Government regulations, the client, executive sponsor (responsible for securing spending authority and resources in the client organization)
- Internal Stakeholders: Project team members, designers, program manager, software developers, human resources.
Stakeholder Mapping & Stakeholder Management Tools
In order to deal with your project’s stakeholders, you need to identify and classify them according to their power and interest. Before to start your project, you need to follow the stakeholder mapping process to map your stakeholders according to many criteria regarding your project’s requirements and stakeholder’s needs.
Simply put, Stakeholder Mapping is a collaborative process of determining key project stakeholders and a stakeholder map is a visual presentation tool that demonstrates the stakeholders according to their influences and interests on the project.
- What tools can be used to manage stakeholders?
A raci matrix can be conceivable as a stakeholder management tool. Typically, a raci matrix includes a list of key stakeholders and defines who is responsible for what. For more, we suggest you to read this article related with creating a Raci Matrix.
A project communication plan is another tool to manage your projects key stakeholders. It includes a list of stakeholders with their titles, preferred communication channel and communication type. From this aspect, a communication plan includes many information that can support your stakeholder management.
Beyond these, you can use the client surveys to understand and manage your key project stakeholders.
Stakeholder Mapping & Stakeholder Analysis
After the identification of the types of stakeholders, you need to analyze and map them. You can conduct a brainstorming session with your team members and ask the questions below.
- Who are the stakeholders of this project?
- Which stakeholders will have the most influence on the project’s objectives?
- Who has the authority to control the resources?
- What are the top interests of the stakeholders?
- Who are the supporters and who are the non-supporters?
After completing the brainstorming session, you would have enough information to analyze the stakeholders and begin stakeholder mapping.
Stakeholder mapping allows you to demonstrate your stakeholders’ level of involvement and their engagement on the project. After creating the map, you will understand how to motivate your stakeholders and win them for your project’s success.
Below matrix can be used for stakeholder mapping.
Now, plot out each stakeholder considering their influence and interest in the project. Place the names of your projects key stakeholders wherever you think they fit best. You can use colors to specify the names and highlight important stakeholders. You can also specify the stakeholders which are on the client side by using different colors.
What are the Benefits of Stakeholder Mapping and Stakeholder Analysis?
When you analyzed and classified your projects most powerful and influential stakeholders, you will develop your stakeholder management strategy to deal with them accordingly. By the way, you will not waste your time to deal with other stakeholders who don’t have any influence and power.
In addition to that, you will try to get the support of the most powerful stakeholders while managing your project.
Note that stakeholder mapping should be a continuous process throughout the life cycle of a project. Therefore, the stakeholder matrix is a live document that should be kept updated.
After the identification of stakeholders, you can create a stakeholders communications plan which facilitates your communications within the project. In this plan, you will create a list of stakeholders, their influence, power and what type of communications they would expect. Some of the stakeholders may prefer frequently face to face communications. Therefore you need to specify the frequency of communication.
In this article, we discuss stakeholder mapping and stakeholder analysis for successful stakeholder management.
Note that you can not use the same strategy to manage all kind of stakeholders within a project. You need to develop various strategies to manage various types of stakeholders who have numerous needs and expectations.
If you want to add something or share your experiences related with stakeholders, you can do so through the comments section below.