Know Your Project Stakeholders

In my experience as a risk engineer, to know who your project stakeholders is vital. The knowledge of Project Risk Management and Stakeholder Management are closely related because stakeholders can pose a risk, positively or negatively. Positively means your stakeholders can pose a opportunities which bring profit. Negatively means brings adverse effect on your project time-cost-quality.

Big or small, your project can and will affect, or be affected by other  people, or organization other than your project team. These people are called stakeholders. Stakeholder is any individual, group or organisation that can affect, be affected by, or perceived itself to be affected by a programme.

You may now have a long list of people and organizations that are affected by your work. Some of these may have the power either to block or advance. Some may be interested in what you are doing, others may not care. Map out your stakeholders on a Power/Interest Grid as shown by the image, and classify them by their power over your work and by their interest in your work. There are other tools available to map out your stakeholders and how best to influence then. Stakeholders can be your

  • Employer (Client),
  • Consultant,
  • Sub-Contractors,
  • Suppliers,
  • Local government including local authorities,
  • People in the neighborhood,
  • etc..

For example, your Employer or Client is likely to have high power and influence over your projects and high interest. Your family may have high interest, but are unlikely to have power over it. Someone’s position on the grid shows you the actions you have to take with them:

  • High power, interested people: these are the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy.
  • High power, less interested people: put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.
  • Low power, interested people: keep these people adequately informed, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. These people can often be very helpful with the detail of your project.
  • Low power, less interested people: again, monitor these people, but do not bore them with excessive communication.

Stakeholders matrix” by ZirgueziOwn work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

How these people affect your project? The people who has big power and interest toward s your project have is the most risky stakeholder. They will keep a very close eye to your work, so keep them satisfied or your project will be at risk. However if these people satisfied, there’s a chance for a big incentive for your hard work. But keep in mind dealing with stakeholders is a very fluid and complex matter since you’re dealing with person. So, keep a close eye on the Latent people because they could make an unexpected surprises to your project.

How about you? Do you have any experiences dealing with stakeholders? Share your knowledge and experience in the comment below.


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