“Unengaged sponsor sinks the ship.” – Angela Waner
Stakeholders greatly influence the intended outcome and success of a project. Their involvement can take place during any stage of the project; however, performing a stakeholder analysis during the initiating stage will greatly influence the development of an effective project strategy and increase the chances for a successful project outcome.
Many organizations express supporting stakeholder involvement by promising participation, but gaining stakeholder involvement is not always easy. Careful and thorough planning is essential to identify the right stakeholders and to ensure stakeholders participate in appropriate and effective ways.
- The most powerful stakeholders should be identified early and their input will then be used to shape the project; this ensures their support and improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the project.
- Support from the more powerful stakeholders will help the project gain access to more resources (People, money, etc.), thus making the project more likely to become successful.
- By communicating with stakeholders early and frequently, the project team will ensure that they (stakeholders) fully understand the project processes, and the benefits to the organization; this means they can support the project team more actively when necessary.
- The project team will identify conflicting or competing objectives among stakeholders early on in the initiating phase of the project and develop a strategy to resolve the issues arising from them.
It is essential that initiatives that are sensitive, or have many different people involved who can influence the outcomes, identify the individuals and groups within the organization who will contribute to the development of the objectives and scope, identify those that will gain and those that will lose from its introduction, and then develop a strategy or how to best deal with them.