Who is a stakeholder? Simply anyone with a stake in the project either direct or indirect.
PMBOK says that stakeholders for a project are persons or organizations –
- who are actively involved;
- whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the performance or completion of it.
Stakeholder analysis is a process of systematically gathering and analyzing qualitative information to determine whose interests should be taken into account when developing and/or implementing a policy or program.
Remember that more complex your project is, more attention you need to pay in managing stakeholders. You can do all the right things for a project, but mismanaging a stakeholder who has power, influence and interest can cause failure of the project.
Mitchell, Agle and Wood (1997-99) have come up with stakeholder analysis model, that can help a project manager in early phase of planning process to identify stakeholder and classify according to three major attributes –
- Power – to influence the organization or project deliverables (coercive, financial or material, brand or image);
- Legitimacy – of the relationship & actions in terms of desirability, properness or appropriateness;
- Urgency – of the requirements in terms of criticality & time sensitivity for the stakeholder.
Based on the combination of these attributes, priority is assigned to the stakeholder.
|7 – Definitive
Power, Legitimacy & Urgency
|4 – Dominant
Power & Legitimacy
|5 – Dangerous
Power & Urgency
|6 – Dependent
Legitimacy & Urgency
|1 – Dormant
|2 – Discretionary
|3 – Demanding
Keep in mind that –
- These three attributes can be gained or lost during the time period of the project, so pay attention when it happens.
- Level 1 (Low Priority) stakeholders can increase their salience by coalition building, politics, or media influence.
- Power alone is insufficient to classify a stakeholder high priority; but some times it does, for example – CEO’s favorite project.
- Stakeholder analysis requires careful planning, standard guidelines for selection of stakeholders, resourceful team members who have background information, and standard set of questions that feed into the worksheet.
More resouces on stakeholder analysis are at –
PMBOK Guide- 4th edition, PMI. 2008
People with diverse professional experiences and background have totally unique perspective on any issue. When a new team is assembled for any project, its vital for the success of that project that all team member are aware of the ground-rules for the project; similar to any sport. You may have to read it to team and give a copy for reference.
Here is an example list that I have used for a project to keep team aligned. Such ground-rules certainly eliminate unnecessary confusion and your business customer and team members like it defined beforehand. Make sure, you also follow it and implement it.
- Project manager is the primary contact for any project related communication.
- All team members maintain their contact info on the team contact list with contact preference.
- All members attend required meetings and conference calls; if unable to attend, meeting organizer to be notified. If key contributor is unable to attend, request to reschedule the meeting.
- Any planned day off or vacation must be communicated in advance to project manager so that project plan can be updated and impact to work, if any, can be analyzed.
- All project team members have access to project plan and project logs (in a standard document format) and are aware of the assigned tasks and due dates.
- All team members are to be consulted about the reasonableness of the plan prior to management approval.
- All team members are required to validate their assignments and time allocated prior to the plan is baselined.
- All project team members have the responsibility to proactively notify the project manager about tasks, duration or dependencies they believe are missing (or any other needed changes to the plan) and confront issues directly and promptly.
- Project team members have the responsibility to notify any potential difficulties in meeting the schedule for any assigned tasks as soon as it is known by the team member.
- Each project team member is responsible for ensuring anticipated workload conflicts with other assignments are brought to the attention of the project manager. Team members should ask for help if feeling “stuck” or falling behind the schedule instead of waiting for miracle.
- All team members are responsible to own, follow-up and provide updates on the assigned task (including but not limited to any identified risks, issues, changes, approvals, clarification from customer). If any delay is observed, escalate to project manager.
- All meeting minutes, key decisions, assumptions and business rules must be documented and all action items must be followed up and assigned to a resource with expected completion date. These items are usually mentioned in casual conversation.
- All project team members understand the scope of work. Any work performed must be in the project plan and is in the project scope. Anything that is absolutely needed but not part of the project plan, must be brought into project manager’s attention.
- All project team members confront issues directly and promptly.
- Only project manager submits all final deliverables to business customer for sign-off or approval.
What are other key things that you have found useful and we can add to this list?
Thank you for your visit and have a great day!
How do you play shows some of your character, how do you win or lose shows all of it. – Anonymous
For last couple of months, I have been quite busy with community leadership related work. I had an opportunity to mentor and advise leadership team on the issue that was dividing the community. I also had to stand up against the group of people whom I found was neither acting fairly nor was impartial. Per my research, it was abuse of power and leadership role.
It is now over and resolved satisfactorily, but it was a learning experience for me and I would like to share my lessons that I have gathered from both sides, without referencing to any incident. One side was new and young group of individuals who was selected to lead the community and other group had been in control for over 16 years was not giving up the power and resisting the change.
When I reflect on my decision to support the new and young group get their right, I feel great that I could serve the community.
Here are some of the common sense lessons I learned from both sides of the issue –
- As with each problem, understand the issue; background of politics & people involved and their agendas;
- Always be fair, remain truthful and act impartial towards all – if you want to be really helpful;
- Read any relevant document being referred; do not just believe what is being told;
- Don’t sit on the fence and enjoy conflict, become active if you are passionate about the issue and can contribute;
- Talk to leaders and offer your help to mediate; negotiate with win-win mental model;
- Not every effort to resolve issue will be welcomed, negotiations will fail miserably, stay hopeful – any conflict has its own life cycle as well;
- Expect rumors, allegations and indirect threats – do not waste all of your energy on addressing these;
- Talk to community members, educate about the issue, tell the truth and share the facts;
- Keep all doors open for compromise; find out what price are you willing to pay to keep community together;
- Find influencers in the community, get them on your side and ask for help, validate your interpretation of the issue;
- Do not quit or bend against pressure if you know you are standing for the truth and justice, you will face lots of pressure and many curve balls;
- Whatever you negotiate, offer or communicate, make in writing;
- Do not go negative; don’t get involved with personal attacks on opposite group;
- Deliver response to any negative propaganda with facts and positive tone – remember truth is like the Sun and false propaganda as clouds, the Sun will eventually shine, the truth will always prevail;
- Do not get into reactive mode, expect urge to say negative – but control it;
- Remember truth has to go through tough test before it wins;
- Keep your head high, keep thinking positive and stay visible in community or group;
- Always remember that difference of opinion is natural human behavior, other people might be thinking you are wrong;
- Seek lawyer’s help if needed, you need to get involved in fund-raising, planning course of action is key to success;
- Do not twist the facts, do not talk out of context, do not exhibit attitude towards people who aren’t agreeing with your opinion;
- Always seek advice of people who can tell the truth and fact of the matter, not your supporters only who speak your mind and tell you one-sided story;
- If what you hear is truth and is contrary to your belief, consult and reflect that you are not manipulating the situation;
- Establish a core group who offers views of issues without any prejudice;
- Listen to truth and act upon it, keep your mind open to everything but attached to nothing;
- Do your best in every circumstance even if no one is watching you, do not do things to impress others;
- Expect victory if you are truthful, impartial, positive, open and just towards all;
- Do not give advice to score point or take credit, keep it simple and make it team effort;
- Expect confusion in your group, keep all informed and motivated;
- Once you get what you want, do not demean other group but let it go;
- It will take some time to heal the divide, but keep focused on delivering value to community;
- Do not cling to power but work on empowering others to lead;
- Power is to serve community not to rule, you may have to make tough decisions;
- When you are serving as a leader, it’s not walking on red carpet – you are there to take on challenges; and
- Any choice or decision should be based on good for all not only for you.
When I talked about the issue in my community with friends in other communities, all told me one or other kind of similar story in their community or organization. I hope my lessons will help or guide someone someday.
Thanks for your visit and comments on the post.