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Are Your Stakeholders Supportive of Your Project?

Listen_to_your_stakeholders_Shimer_College_2Yesterday, a Project Management Best Practice was shared regarding stakeholders, whom are important to any project’s success.

According to Do your stakeholders know why your project exists? article (published on CIO.com), you need to conduct a kickoff meeting, distribute the statement of work, conduct regular meetings, and produce summary reports.

I absolutely agree with the author Brad Egeland! However, I would ask, “Now that your stakeholders know why your project exists, are they supportive?”

I can remember being a team member on my first Operational Excellence (OpEx) project. After three months, the OpEx team just prioritized the solutions to be implemented and the project lead was submitting the proposed solutions for funding and legal approvals. Well, legal halted the project because of adherence to multiple states’ compliance and regulatory rules and needed time to review all 50 states’ laws prior to implementing any changes. The legal and compliance review process delayed the project by three months before approvals were obtained.

What Is Stakeholder Analysis, and How Does It Work?

Stakeholder analysis in conflict resolution and project management, is the process of identifying individuals or groups that are likely to affect or be affected by a proposed action, and sorting them according to their impact on the action and the impact the action will have on them.

The stakeholder analysis tool documents the current and required sentiments of those interested in the outcome of a project.

The stakeholder analysis confirms management or stakeholder acceptance and prioritization of project and team efforts.

A stakeholder analysis helps to eliminate low priority projects and ensures management support and compatibility with business goals.

A stakeholder analysis is used when initiating a project that will likely affect individuals or groups, preferably at the kickoff meeting.

To Produce a Stakeholder Analysis, Follow These 9 Steps:

  1. List the organizations and/or people that have a clear stake in the success of the project.
  2. Determine the level of influence (high, medium or low) the person and or groups have in the organization. 
  3. Select the minimum required support from your stakeholders.
  4. Select the current support from your stakeholders. 
  5. Identify how the stakeholders are related to the project.
  6. Document any helpful information. 
  7. Identify the stakeholders’ preferred mode of communication.
  8. Create an action plan to close the support gaps and to utilize the stakeholders with large influence.
  9. Communicate support levels.

The Support Definitions Are Listed as Follows:

  • Strongly Against
  • Moderately Against
  • Neutral
  • Moderately Supportive
  • Strongly Supportive

The Prioritization of Developing Action Plans Should Be:

  1. High level of influence + large gap
  2. High level of influence
  3. Large gap

In conclusion, the stakeholder analysis tool helps project teams develop a detailed sense of who the key stakeholders are, how they currently feel about the change initiative, and the level of support they need to exhibit for the change initiative to have a good chance for success.

The tool also helps project teams begin to discover how to influence relationships and strategies that will be effective for each key stakeholder.

Additionally, the stakeholder analysis should be used when the project team is ready and able to handle a discussion of specific individuals and how these stakeholders currently view the change initiative. It can also be used throughout the process to strategize about how to influence a new stakeholder who has just emerged. Had the aforementioned project lead conducted a stakeholder analysis at the beginning of the project, legal would have either prioritized their actions as to not delay the project or advised management that the project needed to be placed on hold pending compliance reviews.

Have you started a project recently?

About Arthur Burris

Arthur L. Burris has more than two decades of progressive business development and transformation experience that enabled him to significantly impact profitability and growth objectives by $2.4B for Fortune 500 enterprises PayPal, Microsoft, J.P. Morgan Chase and GE Financial Services. His understanding of complex business processes and financial principles and practices, including transfer functions, enables him to analyze enterprise needs and quickly develop plans and execute solutions to facilitate business initiatives that increases revenue, effectiveness and efficiencies, as well as reduce operating expenses. You can connect with Arthur on LinkedIn here.

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