The Art of Stakeholder Management

This guest article is by Diana Eskander, Project Management Software Genius Project.
Have you ever had to balance the interests of several people?
Stakeholder management is a key component of any successful venture, but it can also be one of the most difficult.
Why’s that?
People have different expectations, goals, and communication styles. A skilled leader can manage these differences. It is essential to be able to manage all the people involved in a project, including clients, team members, suppliers, and others. Their relationship with one another is key to ensuring the timely delivery of project milestones.
This is why optimizing the interaction between different stakeholders by managing their individual expectations and interests is crucial.
Here are some steps to help you do it.
This article:
1. Identify the stakeholders for the project
2. Identify the goals of stakeholders
3. Prioritize their influence
4. Engage all stakeholders
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate

1. Identify the stakeholders for the project
First, identify all stakeholders involved in a project. It is a good idea to list all stakeholders at this stage, even though their roles may seem insignificant at the moment.
Include the team. Ask stakeholders who have been identified to let you know of any other people who could be affected. They will often refer to people they know through their professional networks who could have a stake. This can often be people you don’t remember or didn’t know about.
2. Identify the goals of stakeholders
The ideal time to determine the roles of each stakeholder in relation to the project, and their individual goals, is at the beginning of a project. It might take several conversations with them before you can get a clear understanding of their goals and the project.
Some stakeholders might not get the best out of the project. Others might lose out because of what you deliver, such as losing their job.
Do not assume that everyone will be able to communicate their goals easily or that they will altruistically contribute even if the outcome is not great for them.
Once you have a better understanding of the needs of each stakeholder, create a summary of the agreed-upon expectations for each stakeholder. It’s important to circulate it. However, it should not contain any private comments.
Next: The 6 Things Every Stakeholder Needs
3. Prioritize their influence
Each stakeholder will have a different level of influence depending on their role in the project’s delivery and their hierarchy (if any). Project managers can balance the weight of the diverse opinions and interests of all stakeholders by knowing who has the most influence.
Prioritize your stakeholders. Keep in mind that even the most influential people might be the least important at the moment. This can be done using the stakeholder salience model.
Changes can be influenced by stakeholders throughout the life of a project. Therefore, it is important to regularly review your prioritized list and decide who you should spend time with.
4. Engage all stakeholders
All stakeholders should be able to understand and meet their goals.
You can monitor their progress and help them achieve the goals they have set.
Learn how to work with people who are difficult or unwilling to engage in this article on managing stakeholder relations.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
These four steps are not the only ones that are necessary for effective stakeholder management. Even this step isn’t enough.
But, if you only have one chance to engage and work with people, it’s not a problem.