Every teamwork will require effective handling. Even a self-organizing team must manage themselves and go with the other members to accomplish a task completely. Each individual who is part of a group working towards accomplishing a common goal is called a stakeholder. Let us understand how in agile projects these people are managed. Who owns the management job and all other details pertaining to the organization?
It is the process through which one can observe, organize and improve relations with the stakeholder.
It consists of analysis based on the needs and expectations of stakeholders; planning and implementation of a task to get linked with them. The best process to manage stakeholders is by interacting and assessing the quality of the link between you and stakeholders.
The focus is mainly on creating a map which allows us to observe the interest of the stakeholder for different groups. But these kinds of plans are mostly left to be engaged in the dust. Let us understand the effective principles of and steps involved in stakeholder management.
Thus, whether the stakeholder works for the project or the client it is necessary to manage all to align the entire work towards the business goal.
Benefits of Stakeholder Management
Managing stakeholders does not only provide the right outcome but also reduces the risk and brings all stakeholders in one platform.
Best stakeholder management means enhancing business intelligence. Knowing the stakeholder’s needs and issues will help them to align its goal in such a way that maximizes value and reduces cost.
List of good things offered by managing stakeholders rightly includes
For any activity to be performed professionally, there needs to be proper planning. You need to identify the right strategy and manage stakeholders. There are several steps involved in making a stakeholder management strategy. It is because many people are involved in any project and hence your strategy must be broad keeping all individuals, their needs and performances in mind. Know their level, influence, and power in the organization to make the right planning. Proper planning will produce the best results. Document the plan and refer that as handling human is the challenging task because of the complex brain each individual has.
You can follow the steps given below to make a fool-proof stakeholder management plan. However, you can always add or remove steps based on your organization's goal and nature of business.
Knowing is the key to any successful work. Children must understand why they study and what they study. Memorizing won’t help in the long run. Likewise, understand your stakeholders.
In general, you will deal people within the organization and outside who contribute and influence your decision respectively.
To categorize them as people within and people outside. The former stakeholders can be easily identified and controlled as they are all working in the same organization you work with. It is therefore easy to connect with them and understand them.
On the other hand, the latter stakeholders do not exist in your company. They are from outside and they are independent. Understanding them is challenging. Thus identify each one of them and make a list every time you want to make a plan. Carry out a SWOT analysis for each stakeholder for a successful outcome.
Soon after identifying them, start ranking them based on their power, interest, influence, etc. Then rank their individual goal and expectation from the organization. Just ranking them based on your business need will not allow you to manage them effectively. You need to rank them giving importance to their needs. Match their needs and business goals to finally rank them to start connecting with them.
You have ranked them based on your understanding and assumption. But as I mentioned already the human brain is complex and hence you need to talk to them to know what they want from the organization. Make use of the following questions and ask them for their response which will give a larger picture of them. This will also help you fine-tune your people understanding skills.
Generate as many questions possible to give them confidence that you are giving importance to their opinion. Making them feeling empowered will lead to success for sure.
4. Matrix Development
It is time to make a matrix with four quadrants aligning the stakeholders based on their types. The types are classified based on their power and interest. You can find the matrix given in the image below. In each cell list down the stakeholders. This will provide an idea about how to handle them effectively. You must remember that managing people with high power will not be the same as handling individuals with low power. Therefore making a matrix will give you a clear picture.
You know your stakeholders, ranked them and interviewed them to fit them in quadrants. Now, you need to set and manage expectations.
Create a plan and tell them what is expected from them. Without setting expectation you cannot manage and it is like shooting on your foot.
Remember to set realistic expectations, time-bound. Do not keep it vague and that will destroy the entire purpose of planning.
The PO or the manager must follow the seven principles for effective management. Do not be biased on or in a hurry to make decisions as it will always backfire.
As far as a scrum team is concerned the stakeholders are people who are not part of the team but have an interest in the product.
We all know that a PO, SM, and the team are the key people in the scrum team. So the people other than this, all help in discovering, developing, releasing, supporting and promoting the product.
Finally, we would want to let you know that managing stakeholders cannot happen overnight. You need the managing skills and require proper training to know the steps. If you are a PO and want to learn stakeholder management then register for CSPO Certification Online with us. Alternatively, if you are a project manager then enrol with our PMP or Prince2 certification to learn the art of managing stakeholders.
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