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Guide to Stakeholder Management Plan

12 Mar 2014
Guide to Stakeholder Management Plan

The central role of stakeholders in the successful delivery of projects is becoming increasingly recognised.

One of my early projects was implementing a Stakeholder Management Plan into a major telecommunication businesses’ call centre to resolve a major weakness in the organisation's processes that had caused a series of PR and legal disasters over the preceding few years. The need for the system was universally recognised and supported by the executive decision-makers. The technologists loved it because the development would use a new computer operating system that complied with the new IT policy. And when implemented, the system would provide a much-improved customer interface in the area of concern.

However, the call centre staff were largely opposed to the system, and their opposition was ignored because the staff always opposed the change, and they didn’t have any authority or power!

Comprehensive Stakeholder Management Analysis

A few days before the application went ‘live’, the CEO visited one of the call centres and had the “facts” explained to him by an irate operator; she explained the new system meant two computers on each desk and would result in major reductions in call throughput by the call centre staff.

He listened to this ‘lone voice in the wilderness’ and cancelled the rollout – several hundred thousand dollars of re-work later the system was installed on the standard operating system used by all of the other call centre programs. Better stakeholder management would have avoided a massive delay and cost overrun in this ‘mission-critical application development.

Stakeholder Management Plan: The Key Lessons

  • Failing to scan and manage the whole stakeholder community properly is a guaranteed way to drive projects into failure. Support from powerful executives is only one element in this matrix.
  • All stakeholders are important, but some are more important than others. Part of any effective methodology is prioritising your efforts to manage the most important stakeholders at this point in time. 

Stakeholder Relationship Maturity Model (SRMM)

Engaging effectively and ethically with key stakeholders to help create a successful project outcome requires significant skill and maturity levels.

The Stakeholder Relationship Maturity Model (SRMM), integral to our comprehensive Stakeholder Management Plan, defines five maturity levels. It suggests a route most organizations can follow to progress from 'Level 1' to 'Level 5'.

  1. Ad hoc:  some use of processes
  2. Procedural:  focus on processes and tools
  3. Relational: focus on the Stakeholders and mutual benefits
  4. Integrated:  methodology is repeatable and integrated across all programs and projects
  5. Predictive:  used for health checks and predictive risk assessment and management.

Stakeholder Management Training in Project Management

stakeholder Manager

IPM - Institute of Project Management offers a highly effective stakeholder management training to build relationship with stakeholders for business. In implementing the SRMM Implementation Guide, meticulous stakeholder engagement is pivotal. Ignoring perspectives can lead to costly setbacks, as seen in a call centre project. Proactive communication and inclusive decision-making are imperative for success.

About the Author

Dr Lynda Bourne (Australia) DPM, PMP, FAIM, FACS. She is a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Project Management and developed the Stakeholder Circle® methodology, which was researched as a part of her Doctor of Project Management (DPM) thesis.