How should a Project Manager practice their Stakeholder Management process?

June 24th, 2022

Managing stakeholders is a delicate job. From communications to planning for risks and opportunities, you need to understand that you’re managing a relationship, not the stakeholder. There are many conflicting interests when stakeholders are involved in key projects, making decisions and having complex needs and expectations. This forms the crux of the stakeholder management process for a Project Manager.

Here are the top key 4 things we’ve identified that a Project Manager should take care of:

1. Identify stakeholders

Identifying your stakeholders is the first and most crucial step for a Project Manager in the stakeholder management process. You won’t be able to build relationships without first understanding the people or organisations who will be impacted, affected and influenced by your projects.

A helpful way to get started is to brainstorm with your team on the stakeholders that your project will influence or interest (whether negatively or positively). You may also have previous lists of stakeholders, from which you can identify groups or categories of people who are likely to be affected.

2. Prioritise your stakeholders

Mapping your stakeholders is a great way to understand them. After identifying the who, a Project Manager should understand the why. Recognizing the importance of managing your relationships with stakeholders can help you better understand how to engage with them in the stakeholder management process.

As an example of a method to prioritise, you can create a power interest grid to measure your stakeholders. Your stakeholder groups should also be organised by their interest in the project to help you understand who you should concern yourself with first.

To know more about the different complexities of Stakeholder Mapping, read the Stakeholder Management Ultimate Guide.

3. Identify risks and opportunities

After identifying, categorizing and prioritizing stakeholders, a Project Manager’s job becomes much more complex. The risks and opportunities are better identified at this stage. By having more knowledge of your project and stakeholders, you can identify threats and emerging issues before they arise and cause complications.

To reduce the chance of delays in your project, make strategic plans, use stakeholder analysis, and collaborate with your team to implement ideas. The internal and external stakeholders impacted by the project will appreciate having their concerns addressed in a timely manner, leading to a positive relationship.

Addressing risks is critical to a project’s success and capitalizing on opportunities found can greatly help you exceed expected outcomes.

4. Manage the relationship

As a Project Manager, managing your relationship requires patience, transparency and frequent communication. There are many external and internal factors that can impact your relationship and may be out of your control. By focusing on these four key elements, you can put yourself in a better position to address any issues during the stakeholder management process.

Stakeholders have their own thoughts and ideas, and it is only by working with them that you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Create communication plans, conduct a stakeholder analysis and measure the level of influence to prioritise stakeholders and work towards the success of a project.

Find a better way to practice your stakeholder management for project managers by understanding the benefits of a SRM.

If you have any questions about stakeholder management, or want to talk about what else should be part of a Project Manager’s responsibility, please get in touch.