Saturday, January 30, 2016

Stakeholder Analysis

Co-authored by Benny Recine and Harvey Greenstein

I have asked a colleague and friend of mine, Harvey Greenstein, to co-author this topic.
Stakeholder analysis is infrequently done by Project Managers (PMs) because it can be time consuming, especially if the PM is new to the organization. However, we contend that stakeholder analysis is critically important, and even more so when the PM is new to the organization. Either way, we believe that stakeholder analysis should be done on every new project a PM receives because even if the internal stakeholders may be the same individuals, the external stakeholders may not be.

Who are stakeholders?

Simply put, a stakeholder is any party with an interest in the positive or negative outcome of a project. Yes, even a negative outcome, because someone in the organization may benefit by a project being canceled. A stakeholder can have a positive or negative influence on a project.
Stakeholders are diverse, but examples include:
  • A project sponsor who is funding the project.In some of my (Benny’s) earlier columns for the PMI NJ Chapter, I discussed the importance of a project sponsor.
  • An end user of the deliverable from the project

Why are stakeholders important?

The importance of stakeholders may not always be self-evident. But if a PM does not understand the importance of stakeholders, a project can get off to bad start. Stakeholders carry a lot of weight in influencing the budget, resources, and schedule of the project. They understand the need for the project and, most importantly, can direct positive input to the project. If a stakeholder, for example the project sponsor, is on the “same page” as the PM, the project can run smoother for the PM. Why is attracting positive stakeholders important?
  • They can positively influence the negative stakeholders. 
  • They can help the PM get the right resources for the project.
  • They can influence the budgeting process for the project.
  • They provide executive communications and champion the project.

What is stakeholder analysis?

Stakeholder analysis refers to identifying stakeholders and understanding their attitudes towards the successful outcome of the project. Stakeholder analysis typically takes place during the initiation phase of a project. However, it is best if it is done at regular intervals to track changes in stakeholder attitudes over time and to identify new stakeholders​. Results of the stakeholder analysis may also be documented.
There are different types of stakeholders, and each needs to be engaged differently to clarify who they are and what benefits they bring to the project.
I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine. You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.

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