Managing people, process and technology is essential to be a successful project management. Stakeholder management falls under the ‘people’ management category.
According to PMBOK “A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organization who may affect, be affected by or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project.””
Without stakeholders active participation a project is likely to fail. A project manager should identify stakeholders and manage the relationship with them. Figure 1 shows some of the stakeholders that a project manager may have to deal with.
As an SRE manager, I have add to play the role of a technical project manager (TPM) in projects where a TPM was not available. Identifying stakeholders can be tricky, since in large projects one may not be aware of all the potential stakeholders. Stakeholder identification can take place when the project charter is being defined. This will help flush out the major stakeholders. However, it is not uncommon to find new stakeholder(s) throughout the implementation of the project. A project with unhappy stakeholders does not bode well for the success criteria of the project. Stakeholders influence can be expressed in the power/interest model as shown in Figure 2.
The division of stakeholders in the categories of ‘keep satisfied’, ‘manage closely’, ‘monitor’ and ‘keep informed’ is the role of the project manager. Stakeholders with low interest and low power require the least comparitive effort in terms of management, on the other hand stakeholders in the high power and high interest should be handled with utmost care.
The importance of stakeholders cannot be overestimated. For instance if you ignore sales as a stakeholder, you may end up with a product that the sales team has no knowledge of in terms of sales strategy.