Stakeholders are the people, groups or organizations that have a key interest in the outcome of a project. They can include developers, investors, Engineers, designers, board members, contractors, government, end user. They are typically involved in the approval process and can either make a project difficult or extremely easy—depending on how well they’re managed via a stakeholder management plan.
In fact, certain stakeholders decide if there should be a project at all, and whether or not the project was a success. They have that much power. Given their influence, it’d be unwise to neglect our stakeholder management plan.
What is Stakeholder Management?
Put simply, stakeholder management is the concept of managing the stakeholders involved in any major project. Because of how much power they wield, Al Wafrah balance the requirements from key stakeholders with finesse.
What are their primary goals with this project? What are they hoping to invest? The more we can tease out what each of their goals and requirements are from the outset, the better.
Why is a Stakeholder Management Plan Important?
No project exists in a vacuum—although that would make any project so much easier to execute. But stakeholders play a key role in making our project happen. They believe in the project and are devoting time, money and resources to our project.
Stakeholders help make it an extremely easy process by contributing funds, resources, materials, tools, expertise and more.
Stakeholder management plans are also important from a PR perspective. Consider this—stakeholders don’t work alone; they hear about the project progress from other resources and stakeholders involved. It’s important that their interests are kept intact, and that we don’t find ourself facing the furrowed brow of a frustrated stakeholder who has heard some bad news.
Keeping that line of open communication is the most important step to a good stakeholder management plan.
The Risks of Not Having a Stakeholder Management Plan
Again, stakeholders make the world go round. They’re our investors, customers, neighbors, producers. They can be our biggest cheerleaders or can make the project slow to a crawl.
5 Steps for a Stakeholder Management Plan
Because there are many different types of stakeholders, Al Wafrah prepare well-rounded stakeholder management plan tailored specifically for each project. Al Wafrah follows the following guidelines for each Stakeholder Management Plan.
1. List Our Stakeholders
They are usually sorted into two groups: internal and external stakeholders.
Internal stakeholders are easy to identify. The Developer and his partners, the Design Engineer, the Contractor …….
External stakeholders are not typically part of the organization itself but are made up of end users/customers, the media, neighboring businesses or governmental oversight authorities.
2. Prioritize the Project Stakeholders
As we previously mentioned, Al Wafrah prioritize which stakeholders are going to have a bigger influence over the project, and also note at which stage their influence becomes lesser or greater.
Start by considering how to manage the stakeholders on our project, and then start prioritizing their demands and goals. Understand that those priorities can flex at different project points. For example, at certain points, say, during a project design, the stakeholder with a special interest in the design will have their goals prioritized. Then, as we move into the development phase, the stakeholders with a special interest in development will have their goals elevated over design.
3. Interview our Stakeholders
Working with new stakeholders can be tricky at the start. Depending on the type of project, there will either be many voices from outside the company with different personalities and demands, or many voices inside the company with competing goals. Here are some example stakeholder interview questions to ask to get sorted:
Why are you interested in this project?
What are your expectations for this project?
If you have a team involved, what do you expect from them?
Which deliverables are you most interested in?
What do you hope this project changes after launch?
How quickly do you see this project rolling out?
If you feel positively about this project, why?
If you have worries about this project, why?
We establish a solid understanding of whether or not our stakeholders feel positively or negatively about the project, and at what stages their perspectives might shift. Also, We identify which ones have a stronger set of views and which ones are more flexible and open to compromise. This will help to mitigate any possible stop gaps down the road.
4. Develop a Matrix
A quick mock-up of a quadrant to sort our findings will help us easily distinguish those with high interest, high priority versus low interest, low priority. It will also help to sort all those in between.
5. Set & Manage Expectations
Setting and managing expectations is essential to our stakeholder management plan. In fact, it’s the very thing that could make this initiative a success.
Once we’ve outlined our matrix and have identified priorities and interests, create our project plan. We clearly identify which stages each key stakeholder will be involved in, and timelines by which their feedback is needed. We include a schedule of office hours for them to easily reach us so that they can have time provide feedback either in a private setting or in a group. As always, we are realistic, transparent and honest at every project phase—our stakeholders can tell, and will thank us for it.