2 templates to help with stakeholder management
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Effective stakeholder management can be challenging for any project manager, but the right tools can help you bring your stakeholders into alignment and promote your project’s chances of success.
With these two templates, you can visualize your stakeholders and develop more effective strategies for working with them.
What is stakeholder management?
Stakeholder management is the art and science of building your rapport with stakeholders and facilitating their impact on your project. Each stakeholder has different needs, interests, and goals for the project, giving them different overall relationships with the project and the team as a whole.
The importance of effective stakeholder management
With stakeholder management, you can build more effective relationships with each stakeholder by understanding their motivations and purposes. You can strategically tailor your approach, interactions, and communications in order to keep your stakeholders informed and keep your projects moving along successfully through each milestone.
Because each stakeholder is unique, how you manage your stakeholders can and should vary for each individual, group, or role. Their relationships to your project may directly impact your project’s potential for success. Effective stakeholder management improves your odds of success and reduces the likelihood of opposition to your project or misunderstanding around your project’s goals.
These are just a few of the biggest benefits to stakeholder management:
- Establish communication strategies: Through stakeholder management, you can create a strategy for keeping regular communication. For instance, you can choose specific media, create a regular cadence for meetings, and decide how often you’ll publish and share data.
- Refine messaging and incorporate feedback: You can adjust your communications based on feedback, make adjustments to messaging, and provide further explanations.
- Uncover misunderstandings: Sometimes, taking the opportunity to regroup and revisit core aspects of your project can help you and your team eliminate misunderstandings or uncertainty.
Cadence and scheduling
- Keep everyone aligned: Stakeholder management can bring everyone back together regarding scheduling and cadence expectations. You can develop a strategy for how to bring stakeholders back on board if necessary.
- Set expectations: If your stakeholders are unsure of how the project will proceed or don’t know when they’re needed to keep the momentum going, effective stakeholder management can help ensure that everyone is on track.
- Onboarding new stakeholders: You can use stakeholder management strategies to onboard new stakeholders or bring new team members up to speed.
- Anticipate possible concerns early: During the project, stakeholder management can help you identify potential issues while you still have time to make a meaningful impact in resolving them. Problems that can spell your project’s failure may be visible to one or more of your stakeholders, so the sooner you loop in their concerns, the better. On the other hand, if your stakeholder themself is actually contributing to risks in your project, then stakeholder management can help you see these potential issues before they grow.
- Provide stakeholders with input opportunities: Project planning and stakeholder management can work together and create more opportunities for your stakeholders to provide helpful and valuable input. The result—a better project plan.
Stakeholder management works best when it’s intentional and brought into your project from the beginning. Although you can wait until an issue comes up with your stakeholders, stakeholder management is more effective whenever you understand your stakeholders and take an active role in planning and managing their work with your project.
Stakeholder management templates
By using a stakeholder management template, you can brainstorm your stakeholder management plan and take advantage of established stakeholder management best practices. Templates share wisdom from other projects with your project, informing you and your team.
Typically, stakeholder management templates break down your list of stakeholders by their level of influence, need for information, and the level of monitoring or involvement they need in your project.
A stakeholder map is a means of visualizing your existing stakeholders so you can plan your management strategy accordingly. By dividing your stakeholders by type, you can decide how to divide your efforts and maximize your time managing stakeholders.
With a stakeholder map, you can chart out your stakeholders by the amount of power and influence they have in your project.
- Low power/low influence: Stakeholders with low power and low influence are important to your project but have little impact or role in your work. Stakeholders placed in this quadrant on a stakeholder map should be monitored.
- Low power/high influence: With these stakeholders, you primarily want to make sure they’re informed sufficiently of what is happening during the project. They may have very little power over the outcome, but they’re highly interested.
- High power/low influence: High power, low influence stakeholders should be kept satisfied throughout the project, even though they aren’t particularly interested and engaged.
- High power/high influence: These are very important stakeholders with whom you should be collaborating and working very closely.
Stakeholder mapping helps you see in-context how your stakeholders interact with your project. This process of mapping stakeholders may help you remove unwanted complexity from your stakeholder management strategy.
You can use stakeholder mapping in nearly every industry, for every type of project or set of stakeholders.
This stakeholder map template includes the four types of stakeholders—all you need to do is add your stakeholders according to their power and influence.
Like a stakeholder map, a stakeholder chart is another helpful tool that allows you to diagram your stakeholders and make sense of their relationships to your project. Your stakeholders all impact your team’s progress in different ways, and a stakeholder chart is similar to an organizational chart in that it allows you to graph stakeholders by their role and functional area.
The stakeholder chart often includes hierarchical relationships, which are shown with graphics such as boxes or circles connected with lines in a network.
- Your project: Your graph may depict your project as a single circle or box at the center of the chart.
- Lines: Connections or linkages among different elements of the chart are shown with lines between them.
- Stakeholder types: Each type of stakeholder can be represented with a labeled box.
- Stakeholders: Individual stakeholders are organized by type and connected to your project.
With a stakeholder chart to reference, you can see key information at a glance. You can determine which stakeholders to manage as a group or individually, potentially helping you to maximize your efforts.
This chart can also help you remember all of your stakeholders. Stakeholder charts can be used in conjunction with stakeholder maps, or you can use a stakeholder chart to build a stakeholder map—categorizing stakeholders first and then mapping their influence and power.
This stakeholder chart template uses functional categories and departments to help with stakeholder categorization, showing which roles in the company align with particular areas.
Learn more about stakeholder mapping.
Learn more about stakeholder mapping.Read more
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