The importance of identifying your stakeholders (Stakeholder Analysis) at the beginning of your project is something all project managers can resonate with. A stakeholder, by definition, is anyone who is impacted by your project (directly or indirectly). This includes customers – both internal and external, if applicable.
Knowing who your stakeholders are, helps you better understand the needs of your project, who your customers are and who you need to work with to bring your project over the finish line.
There are a few tools that you can use to help you identify your stakeholders, along with track different aspects of their involvement in the project.
You can begin to organize stakeholders by creating a stakeholder register.
For example, if you are making a change to the way your company files expense reports – you’ll want to walk through the entire process and identify all touchpoints where project team members, other employees, suppliers, etc. are impacted or involved to make sure you capture the entire stakeholder population.
A simple register includes a stakeholder’s:
- Role in the company/department
- Role in the project
- Contact information (email, phone, location)
A P/I four-quadrant grid can be utilized for projects where you have a strong change element within your project that requires stakeholder buy-in. This grid is for the internal project team/project manager’s use only (not for distribution), where each stakeholder is “ranked” in the appropriate grid on the power and interest scale.
For example, for a company-wide telecom technology project, the Chief Information Officer will likely rank as high on the Power scale and high on the Interest scale. For the same project, the Call Center Representatives who will be utilizing the new technology will likely rank as high on the Interest scale and low on the Power scale. The Accounts Payable Managers will rank as low on both the Power and Interest scale – keeping in mind that the rankings are not descriptive of people’s roles in the company necessarily, but a combination of their roles in the company and the impact they have on the project. The Accounts Payable Managers will be using the new technology, but it won’t be essential to performing their roles, nor do they have influence over which technology is chosen in this scenario.
How the information is used is up to the project manager and how they want to customize each quadrant’s communications/meetings/etc. to manage their stakeholders and carry them through the project and change journey:
- High Power, High Interest – manage closely
- High Power, Low Interest – keep satisfied
- Low Power, High Interest – keep informed
- Low Power, Low Interest – monitor (minimum effort)
The P/I information gathered can be added into the stakeholder register as well to manage in one place, with power and interest in their own columns.
A stakeholder register and power/interest grid are just two ways to identify and categorize your stakeholders. Do you have any other tips and tools that you use?
Mona Mortazavi, MBA, PMP, LSSGB is a project and change management professional based in Houston, Texas. In her current role, she manages enterprise-wide programs and process improvement initiatives for Waste Management in Corporate Finance, previously in Supply Chain Operations. Mona’s primary experience has been in leading software implementation projects and process improvement transformation initiatives in the finance, supply chain, real estate, and human resources disciplines. With experience in the utilities and environmental services industries, her true focus is in creating best practice programs for the projects she leads. Mona writes about project planning and change management.