Stakeholder Management includes the processes required to identify the people, group or organization that could impact or be impacted by the project to analyze stakeholders expectations and their impact on the project and to develop appropriate management strategies for effectively engaging stakeholders in project decisions and execution.
We hear a lot about the importance of stakeholder identification, but why is it really important?
Basically, it allows you to recruit people as part of your consultation effort.
It puts more ideas on the table. This is an obvious one, the more people in involved the better chance a well round solution or proposal can be formed. A single organization can only see things from one point of view and this is why it is always better to include multiple stakeholders.
Gains buy in. By making stakeholders an integral part of a project's development, planning, implementation, and evaluation. It becomes their effort, and they’ll do their best to make it work.
It’s fair as all stakeholders should have a say in the development of an effort that may seriously affect them.
It saves you being blindsided by problems that may occur further down the road. The more discussion and safe sharing platforms there is, the better chance you have of identifying your obstacles early on. Solutions can then be formed and if they can’t be formed at least people are aware in advance of a particular issue.
It is not practical, and usually not necessary, to engage with all stakeholder groups with the same level of intensity all of the time. Being strategic and clear as to whom you are engaging with and why, before jumping in, can help save both time and money. This requires prioritizing your stakeholders and, depending on who they are and what interests they might have, figuring out the most appropriate ways to engage
When we have identified all our stakeholders, we like to categorize them into 3 types:
Strategic: These guys are your loudest stakeholders, they want value and usually have business interests attached to a project. They may be affected positively or negatively by certain projects.
Tactical: The tactical stakeholder focuses on the delivery of the project and the project material.
Operational: These guys are concerned mainly with the final result. They don’t want to be busy with the initial details. They are concerned with how the outcome with be of use to them.
What is motivating them?
As you can see from our segmentation of stakeholders above, a number of things motivate stakeholders. They may have direct concerns with the initial consultation process, as it may affect them instantaneously, others may only want to be involved once the work has finished. Some stakeholders interests often go beyond the project and this is another avenue worth exploring at another time.
Managing all the data coming from a large group of stakeholders can sometimes make your head melt . This is why we encourage a system of self registration where those who wish to be consulted about all aspects of the consultation can opt in for this. As we spoke about above, transparency is key.
If this system was in place, an organization can summarize their forthcoming programmer of Public Engagement and ask its stakeholders to tick those boxes where they wish to have involvement. At a stroke, one can solve the problem of unwanted documents pouring into your inbox. Consultation fatigue, when consolidated to an “ask everyone” approach, can soon be eliminated.
Tips from The Art Of Consultation by Elizabeth Gammell & Rhion Jones