As you successfully advance in your career you would be affecting more and more people with your actions and with the projects you undertake. With more number of people depending on you start influencing people who have immense power and influence over your project. If you are able to get their vote of approval they can be your greatest supporters. But in case you fail to do so they even hold the power to entirely abandon your project. So you need to manage your stakeholders with great caution.
Stakeholder management is a very important tool often used by people who have succeeded in life to win support from others. With the help of this they lead their project to success while others failed to produce the desired output. Stakeholder analysis is a key technique used to identify the people who have to won over for your project. Interacting with your key stakeholders will help your project to succeed.
Usefulness of Stakeholder Analysis
Benefits of using the stakeholder analysis method are stated as below:
- At earlier stages of your project you get the opinion from some of the most powerful stakeholder which can be the key factor in shaping your project. Not only does this helps you gain their support and their opinions improve the quality of your project.
- Gaining the support of important and powerful stakeholder brings in more resources which ensure that the project succeeds at achieving the desired goals.
- Early and frequent interaction with stakeholders makes sure that they are at the same page with you. You must be sure of the fact that they fully understand what you are doing and realize the benefits of your project. This bags their support for you for a rainy day.
- Interacting with your stakeholders lets you know them better. The more people you know the more you can anticipate what their reaction might be to your project. Then you can choose your course of accordingly which would win people’s support.
How does the Stakeholder Analysis work?
Recognizing the stakeholders usually marks the beginning of the stakeholder analysis method. After the stakeholders have been realized the next step is to figure out their power, influence and interest. This would help you choose the stakeholder appropriate for your project. A good understanding of the most important stakeholder usually marks the ending step. This enables you to recognize and predict their response pattern and hence you know how to win their support. This should be noted down on a stakeholder map for future references.
After you have used this tool and created a stakeholder map, you can use the stakeholder planning tool to plan how you will communicate with each stakeholder. The steps of Stakeholder Analysis are as follows:
1. Proper identification of your stakeholders
As discussed above the first step of the stakeholder analysis process usually involves proper identification and evaluation of key stake holders who might bring fortune to your project. Stakeholders can either be organizations or it can present itself in the form of people but ultimately you must communicate with people. You should be able to identify the correct individual stakeholders working in a stakeholder organization.
2. Prioritizing your stakeholders
Now that you have pin pointed the key stakeholders who are affected by your work some of these may have the power to either block or advance your project. Even though some of them might be interested in your work there will be others who might not like the idea. The stakeholders should be properly mapped and should be classified according to their power and interest in your work. According to their positions the stakeholders can be classified into the following categories:
- People who are interested and possess immense power and influence: interacting and methodically satisfying these people would lead to the success of your project. 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.
- People who are interested but do not possess as much power as the above mentioned people does: These people should be kept informed with appropriate piece of information. You should indulge in frequent conversation with them in order to prevent any high profile issue from appearing. They can often prove to be very helpful with gathering your project details.
- People who lack power as well as interest: these people should be wisely monitored but under no circumstances should they get bored with your interactive skills.
3. Understanding your key stakeholders
You should have complete information about your key stakeholders. You should have a clear idea about how they might feel or react with the result your project brings. You also need to know how best to engage them in your project and how best to communicate with them. A very good way of going about with this is by directly interacting with your stakeholders. After all people are open about their views usually and often asking for people’s opinion marks the beginning of a successful relationship.
All the knowledge and understanding you have gained about your stakeholders should be noted down on your stakeholder map, so that you can easily see which stakeholders are expected to be blockers or critics, and which stakeholders are likely to be advocates and supporters or your project. A good way of doing this is by color coding: showing advocates and supporters in green, blockers and critics in red, and others who are neutral in orange.
As you start dealing with larger and more important projects your actions start affecting more people. Some of them can turn out to be huge supporters of your project work and your position while others can bring your entire project to a screeching halt rendering all your effort and time useless. Stakeholder Management is the process by which you identify your key stakeholders and win their support. Stakeholder Analysis is the first stage of this, where you identify and start to understand your most important stakeholders. The first step to this involves chalking out your viable stakeholders. Then prioritize them based on their power and interest. This is then marked on a power grid. The last step involves around getting a clear understanding of the motivations of your stakeholder and the way to win their support.