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Stakeholder management in project management

Stakeholders play a very important role in project management. Who are the stakeholders? How should I work with them? How can stakeholders influence your project? These and more questions are coming to my mind, when i am thinking about stakeholder management.

What is stakeholder?

Project management is associated with relationship management. Why? Because a lot of project issues depend on how the project manager works with stakeholders. Who are the stakeholders? Stakeholders in a project are a group of people who are interested in the success or failure of a project. These are not just people who can make decisions, but also those who can form an opinion on whether the project is needed for the organization or not.

How to decide who are your stakeholders?

When you want to understand who this group of people is, with whom you should work and communicate in order for the project to be successful, it is important to understand:

  1. what the project is about - what kind of change it wants to implement

  2. what are the benefits that project will bring and who will gain them

  3. who will be impacted: maybe project will implement new processes which people will have to adapt to or maybe it will affect the size of the organization, ect.

  4. who is interested so that project would happen - not necessarily it is benefit gainers

  5. does the project contribute to the achievement of strategic goals, or is it the implementation of the goals of one department

  6. will the project have an impact and be visible outside the organization's walls, say the results of the project will be felt by the company's customers

How to work with stakeholders?

This is an extremely difficult question. There is no single direct answer. There are a number of methodologies that are recommended in order to sort stakeholders by their influence, power on the project. However, it all depends on what kind of relationship you have with different groups of stakeholders. How you feel about them and how you can determine for what reasons these people want or don't want to support the project. Once you have identified the main stakeholder groups, the easiest way, but demanding and time-consuming, is to meet with each of them and discuss expectations and fears. Pay special attention to people who are not supportive and have more frequent meetings with them, trying to talk and address their fears for which they do not support the project.


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