Considering stakeholders in a project is important as not recognizing their influence might lead to failure. However, as their interest might differ, how can you adapt your strategy/ communication to meet their requirements? How can you manage them and engage them in your project without creating conflicts of interest? What techniques to use to identify their differences? All these queries that you might have will be answered below.
What is a stakeholder and why should you analyze them?
According to the world bank's definition, a stakeholder is a person, an organization, a group or a country that:
Might be impacted (positively or negatively) by the development of your project
Are the representative of those likely to be affected (Unions for instance)
Is likely to mobilise for or against what is intended
Can make what is intended more effective through their participation or less effective through non-participation or outright opposition
Can contribute financially or provide technological resources
Whose behaviour has to change for the effort to succeed
There are various methods that will help us identify, prioritize and understand our stakeholders to meet their requirements and measure our performance in accordance with said requirements. Doing this will partly ensure the success of your project and/or your company as it will avoid delays due to negotiation, agreements to sign and/or adapting your strategy.
How can you analyze stakeholders?
If your stakeholders are people or a group of people:
You can analyze their skills, experience, working style, reputation and knowledge through their CVs, LinkedIn profile, past achievements or previous project's/companies' recommendations.
Based on those pieces of information you will then be able to analyze the potential impact they will have in your project, assign them to a specific role or judge whether they will be helpful (If they like asking questions and positively criticizing/ pointing out problems, they will help you improve).
If your stakeholders are organizations, group of organizations, companies or countries:
You can analyze the RFP (requests for proposal), contract, regulations or previous impact they had on previous companies/ projects.
Based on that, along with the potential impact listed in the previous section, you will be able to adapt your project/ company to their requirements (can be contractual or regulatory) and anticipate potential actions they might have if problems arise.
What methods can you use?
Throughout the years, frameworks have been developed to help companies identify more efficiently stakeholders, their importance and, subsequently prioritize them depending on that. Here are the most commonly used frameworks that will help you analyze your stakeholders:
RACI matrix: will help you define the responsibility and accountability of stakeholders per activity as well as who should be consulted (before the activity) and informed (when completed).
Power interest grid: This is a matrix allowing you to prioritize stakeholders depending on the power they have (Can they make your project fail?) and the interest (what is their objective? How willing are they to be involved?) on the project
Socio-dynamic energy grid: This allows you to analyse the synergy that people will have with you and whether they are capable of questioning you in such a way that it would force you to improve.
Kluber Ross change curve: When implementing important changes, there will always be people that will actually refuse it. The curve allows you to determine, depending on their reaction, the communication you need to have with them.
A note from SEPEC CONSUTS SAS
Satisfying every stakeholder is impossible, this is why it is important to prioritize them depending on their power. However, showing to every stakeholder that you consider their arguments will improve the success rate of your project/ company.
Nonetheless, the success of a project cannot be resumed to the sole consideration of stakeholders. It will depend as well on other variables that will need to be taken into account.
SEPEC CONSULTS SAS has been undertaking projects for the past 40 years so if you need any help in determining, delivering and/or executing your project, do not hesitate to contact us and profit from our years of experience.