How to properly manage stakeholders?

How to properly manage stakeholders?


Defining a strategy to carry out its project is a recurring mission within a company. Sometimes this strategy can be different from the others by the fact of involving a whole set of actors ready to invest their time and their skills to carry out this project. It’s about skateholder management.

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What is stakeholder management?

Stakeholder management is a system where all the stakeholders of a project are brought together. These are, as they are generally called, the “stakeholders”. Their particularity is characterized by the fact that they each have their own interest in intervening in the development of a project. Their interests are very different from each other and can sometimes even have total differences. This depends in particular on their place within the company or their position vis-à-vis the company carrying the project. Because among the stakeholders, there are mainly internal stakeholders in the company such as the leader, managers, employees, etc., but also external stakeholders represented by suppliers, customers or even creditors. All have a specific interest in taking part in the design of the project. Whether it is to develop a specific sector of the company or to take advantage of a new service to come. Everyone has a key role to play in the success of the project. Stakeholder management is truly characterized by a participatory approach of a group of individuals wishing to materialize the same idea. All have a common vision, but sometimes totally different interests.

Identify stakeholders

In order to carry out the project envisaged by the company, the latter must first identify all the stakeholders who will participate in its development. It is essential to carry out a structured and relevant analysis, because each stakeholder has their own expectations and their impact on the project should not be neglected. The success of the latter is mainly due to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders. For this, writing a business care allows you to create and develop the strategy related to the upcoming project.

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The sponsor: this is the person who initiated the project. He can be the manager of the company, but also the person who finances the project. The sponsor determines the bases of the program by defining the objectives, the budget and the schedule.

Employees: they can be stakeholders. They ensure the sustainability of the company and bring value. In terms of stakeholder management, their participation in company projects makes it possible to implement the established strategy.

Trade unions: they are likely to be involved in the development, because they are representative of the company’s employees and therefore totally legitimate.

The project manager: he is often appointed to ensure that all stages are respected. From launch to completion, the project manager is responsible for the smooth running and implementation of the strategy.

The project manager’s team: this is made up of professionals selected according to their knowledge and skills. The stakeholders participate in each stage of the project in order to carry it out as well as possible.

Suppliers: they are also a stakeholder. They are the ones who deliver the materials making up the product, the equipment or any other element useful to the project. Their participation is very important, because they are directly involved in the quality of the products.

Subcontractors: just like suppliers, they also participate in the project at their level.

Customers: they are also one of the most valuable stakeholders since they are the ones who will use the product or benefit from the project once completed. Their needs and expectations must be taken into account from the start.

Investors: Essential factor to take into account in stakeholder management. They represent a sizeable stakeholder since they are the ones who finance the project. However, they will not be prioritized over certain other stakeholders.

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Public authorities: they can be part of the stakeholders if their intervention is necessary. If the company is carrying out a real estate project, it will certainly be necessary to seek authorization from the authorities.

How to have an effective management of stakeholders?

In order to be able to materialize the project implemented by the company, it is essential to be able to manage all the stakeholders as well as possible. Its success is completely dependent on it. The stakeholder efficiency process is also validated by the Project Management Institute (PMI) which integrated it into the PMBoK method.

Identification of stakeholders

First of all, the first step in ensuring good management of stakeholders is to define them as well as possible. Each person chosen will have a significant impact on the success of the project. Whether the stakeholder is internal or external to the company, it must be selected precisely according to its interests, knowledge and skills. It is also essential to perceive things in the short term, but also in the long term so that each stage of the project can respond to it. A table listing all the stakeholders, but also highlighting their level of priority can be produced. Indeed, each stakeholder has a more or less decisive role in the project. The RACI is a tool to help identify stakeholders.

Management planning

Then, in order for each stakeholder to be fully integrated into the project and feel involved, it is necessary to determine the right strategies to follow. Indeed, a stakeholder having the feeling of being harmed can quite decide to move away from the mission and take a step back. It would be a shame to come to this situation, because in stakeholder management each part counts. It is crucial that all information related to the project is communicated to all stakeholders. Providing multiple communication channels further facilitates links between stakeholders. Keeping a deadline is also essential. According to the stages of this one, the company will organize meetings in which the stakeholders will attend. Depending on their level of commitment to the project, stakeholders will intervene at certain stages of the schedule only. This avoids bringing together all the participants when some of them are not directly concerned by the subject of the meeting.

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Engagement management and stakeholder control

The two previous stages of stakeholder management are intended to facilitate this. Indeed, the stages of stakeholder identification and management planning, if they are well carried out, should help in the management of the commitment and the control of the stakeholders. The main criterion is above all the “communication” aspect. Indeed, the company must set up an information transfer system that satisfies all parties. In addition, each information, problem or result must be communicated to everyone. If a stakeholder were to be unaware of a piece of data, this could have a strong impact on the agreement created between the stakeholders. The company must ensure that each party has all the data and that it is fully involved in the project.

For a project to succeed with the stakeholder management method, it is essential that each stakeholder be identified and selected in a precise manner beforehand. Then, the project manager must also define and assign everyone’s roles correctly so that the project can come to life. The main thing in the application of this method is that each stakeholder can occupy the place that corresponds to him.

To go further, download these free templates of friezes and flowcharts and use them to plan your processes and programs, whether they are linear or have a multitude of options.

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