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Stakeholder Engagement Process Tutorial

1 Stakeholder Engagement Process

This lesson focuses on the stakeholder engagement process and the steps involved in it. Let us begin with the objectives of this lesson in the next screen.

2 Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to: ? Describe the steps involved in the stakeholder engagement process ? Identify the types in which stakeholders are categorised ? Discuss the stakeholder engagement strategy ? Explain the different ways to measure stakeholder engagement effectiveness Let us move on to the next screen to discuss the various steps involved in the stakeholder engagement process.

3 Stakeholder Engagement Process

Stakeholder engagement is a process to engage stakeholders as suggested by MSP® to ensure maximum support from them. The image on the screen depicts the steps involved in the stakeholder engagement process: The first step in the stakeholder engagement is to identify who the stakeholders are and where their interest lies in the programme. Once stakeholders are identified, the stakeholder profiles are created and analysed to understand more about them. This will help us identify their major concerns and accordingly redefine the stakeholder engagement strategy. The analysis can be done by using tools like stakeholder maps and impact matrix. After the stakeholder engagement strategy is redefined, decision needs to be taken on who will lead when it comes to engaging stakeholders, when they will lead and whom they will engage. In addition, decision should be taken regarding the key messages and communication channels that will be used to engage stakeholders. This also takes into account the stakeholder concerns that need to be addressed. This leads to the next step of engaging the stakeholders. The inputs for this also come from the stakeholder engagement strategy which has been prepared earlier. Once stakeholder engagement is in process, it is essential to identify if it is really effective or not. The results are measured and stakeholder engagement strategy is further refined, if required. Another major concern arises when the existing stakeholders change and new stakeholders join. In such case, repeat the whole stakeholder engagement process for each new stakeholder. The results of this step also impact the overall stakeholder engagement strategy and it may need to be redefined based on feedback and how well the strategy is working out. In the next screen, we will discuss the first step of the stakeholder engagement process that is, identifying stakeholders.

4 Identifying Stakeholders

Identifying stakeholders is the first step of stakeholder engagement process. In this step, all the stakeholders who are involved in or are affected by the programme and its outcomes are identified. The programme’s vision statement and blueprint provide the basis for identifying stakeholders and their interests. During the life of the programme, stakeholders will change. Some stakeholders will participate in the advisory or beginning phases of a programme, while others will participate in assurance roles. A few more might come in the picture during the benefits realisation phase. Following are the types in which each individual stakeholders are categorised: The individual stakeholder can be categorised into users or beneficiaries who are getting benefitted by the programme, governance groups that will govern the programme, such as management boards and audit groups, influencers such as trade unions, media and politicians and providers like suppliers and business partners. It can be further divided into high-level categories to ensure communication is organised. The groupings of stakeholders should be practically identifiable. It helps to differentiate between stakeholders with multiple interests. Once the stakeholders have been identified, the next step is to create and analyse stakeholder profiles. Let us understand the process for creating and analysing stakeholder profiles, in the next screen.

5 Creating and Analysing Stakeholder Profiles

Stakeholder profile is a document that consolidates all information about the stakeholder and his interests in the programme. Following are the steps involved in creating and analysing stakeholder profiles: Once the stakeholder has been identified, the first step is to gather information about their influence, interest and attitude towards the programme outcomes. It is also necessary to understand the importance and power of each stakeholder. The next step is to create stakeholder profiles, and to prepare a stakeholder map. A stakeholder map consists of information about stakeholders, their interests and areas of the programme that affect them. The stakeholders and their priorities might change. A stakeholder map helps to review and check if any new stakeholder has appeared or new interests have emerged. In the third step, further analysis of stakeholder’s interests and influence is conducted to prioritise stakeholder engagement. It also helps in deciding which stakeholder should be managed by top leadership. It aids in focussing on programme resources to contribute towards more desirable outcomes. This analysis also ensures that all available communication channels are well exploited and stakeholders get what they need from their communications. In the fourth step critical stakeholders in terms of their influence or interest are identified. This can be done plotting an influence-interest (read as influence interest) matrix. In this, each stakeholder is plotted based on two axes, influence and interest. A stakeholder with high influence and high interest is normally a critical stakeholder and is managed by senior leadership. A programme needs a strong buy-in from these key players and thus a face-to-face interaction is required while engaging them. It is suggested that the stakeholders with medium influence and high interest should be involved in active consultation. Similarly stakeholders with low influence and medium interest can be engaged in a manner that their interest is maintained. On the other hand, stakeholders with low influence and low interest can be simply kept informed of the progress made by the programme. The main aim of this analysis is to change the negative attitude of the stakeholders to a supportive or neutral attitude. In the next screen, we will learn how to redefine the stakeholder engagement strategy.

6 (Re)defining the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

Stakeholder engagement strategy defines how the programme will effectively manage stakeholders. Following steps are taken to ensure that engagements support consistent and cohesive communications. The programme team must ensure that it specifies how stakeholders will be identified, analysed and assessed. Also, they should identify how interfaces between a programme and its project stakeholders will be handled. Further they need to identify the communication channels to be used in certain circumstances and feedback management, to ensure that communication is a two-way process. Once the communication procedure is established, they must create parameters for measuring the success of stakeholder engagement. If a programme management team is not physically co-located, it increases the risk of uncoordinated and inconsistent engagement with particular stakeholders. The other factors that need to be considered while implementing stakeholder engagement strategy are related to cultural and societal differences. Care should be taken, so that the stakeholders are not offended during the engagement. The programme team needs to ensure that adequate resources and energy are provided for stakeholder engagement. This will increase the chances that stakeholders remain involved in the programme. It will also ensure that public relations, marketing and executive support are in place for the programme. Apart from this, it helps in confirming if the messages sent across to stakeholders are clear and consistent over an extended period of time. The programme team also needs to maintain documents like stakeholder profiles, communication plan, etc. and review them frequently to ensure that any changes are timely reflected and planned. In the next screen, we will discuss the next step of stakeholder engagement, which is planning the engagements.

7 Planning the Engagements

The next step in the stakeholder engagement process is planning the engagements. It is better to plan the communication process after defining how the programme will engage different stakeholders. Following are some information about the planning the engagement step: Engagement is more active and embracing than communication. It includes stakeholders in decision making and implementation as well. The greater the change, the greater is the need for clear communication. So we need to ensure that the communication plan includes all stakeholders’ communication. The objective of the communication should be to keep awareness and commitment high, and explain what changes will be made and when. In addition, the objective is to describe the desired future state and ensure that expectations regarding the delivery do not drift out of line. The messages communicated to stakeholders should be consistent, focused, appropriate, simple, brief and derived from the programme’s objectives. Successful communications are based on four core elements. The first element is stakeholder identification and analysis, which implies that the correct message is sent to the correct audience. Second, the message should be clear, relevant and consistent. The third element is to ensure that the message is delivered on time in an effective manner. The last core element is to assess the effectiveness of the communication through feedback. In the next screen, we will discuss programme communications plan and communication channels.

8 Programme Communications Plan and Communication Channels

Programme communications plan describes what will be communicated, how it will be communicated, when and by whom the communication will be carried out during the programme. Following are the functions of a programme communications plan: It should be designed to raise awareness about benefits and impacts of planned outcomes, and ensure that responsible persons are aware of their roles. The programme communications plan should be aimed at gaining commitment from stakeholders towards the success of the programme. The programme communications plan should aim at keeping the stakeholders informed of progress before, during and after the implementation of programme outcomes. It should promote key messages and keep communication “two way” to ensure effective feedback. For each communication, the objectives, key messages, planned stakeholders, levels of detail and timings should be identified. This will ensure that correct communication is targeted at the right audience. The plan should also identify communication channels like media, briefings, site exhibitions, webinars and workshops for each stakeholder group. For example, for a stakeholder group that just needs to be kept informed, use media briefings or CDs; while for stakeholders with high influence, set up video conferences, seminars or workshops to get them more involved with the programme. In the next screen, we will discuss engaging stakeholders which is fifth step of the stakeholder engagement process.

9 Engaging Stakeholders

It is best to follow the principle: First seek to understand, then to be understood while engaging the stakeholders. This means that an effective method of analysis is to ask the stakeholder a question and then listen. For example, ask a stakeholder what he thinks about a particular aspect of the programme and his response will help to discuss further and understand if there are any issues. Communication may not be direct and to the point. It is important to identify subtle and informal means of communication. The programme management team might need to influence, lobby, cajole, manipulate, co-opt, flatter and pressurise stakeholders to maintain momentum and keep the programme on track. In the next screen, we will learn about the sixth and the final step in the stakeholder engagement process, measure effectiveness or result.

10 Measure Effectiveness

Now let us discuss how to measure effectiveness or results. Following are the different ways to measure the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement: The first way of measuring effectiveness is to sample stakeholder communities for surveys, to know their inclinations after stakeholder strategy has been in work for some time. This will also highlight whether people are retaining the information provided to them or not. Another way is to collect stakeholder feedback, as it will reveal under-communication or miscommunication. This will help fine-tune the communications that are being shared with the stakeholders. Good programme managers will not wait for end of tranche reviews or external audit to find how effective the communication is. The third way is to carry out an independent review of stakeholder perceptions. This can provide a valid sense-check on the programme’s assumptions about stakeholder perceptions and commitment. In the next screen, we will focus on an example based on the concepts discussed.

11 Stakeholder Engagement Problem Statement

As part of the new programme, Nutri Snack, Kylie Honkele, the Senior Responsible Owner or the SRO (read as S-R-O) of Nutri Worldwide Inc. wants to identify the various stakeholders of the programme. She has assigned the task to Chao Yin, the Programme Manager of the Nutri Snack Programme. Following is the list of stakeholders shared by Chao to the SRO: Executives of some targeted organisation where Nutri worldwide Inc. wants to sell their product. R&D employees who have heard the rumour that the programme is going to be scrapped. They are worried about their jobs. Supplier of the cocoa seeds Candidates for the role of the Programme Accountant The team representative who is working on getting quality standard certifications for the new recipe Kylie does not have the time to meet all of them. She has to prioritise whom to focus on. In the next screen, let us find out whom Kylie will decide to focus on.

12 Stakeholder Engagement Solution

Following is the segregation of stakeholders along with the responsible persons who will be engaging them, as prepared by Kyile based on the list of stakeholders identified by Chao: Kylie’s focus should be on stakeholders with high interest and high influence. Executives of some targeted organisations where Nutri Worldwide Inc. wants to sell their product should be managed by the Senior Responsible Owner or the SRO (read as S-R-O). R&D (read as R and D) employees who have heard the rumour that programme is going to be scrapped and the supplier of the cocoa seeds are again stakeholders with high influence and high interest, however, they are more related to programme management task. They can be engaged by Chao Yin, the Programme Manager. Chao Yin, the Programme Manager can take the interview for the Programme Accountant’s role on his own or can delegate it to a suitable person. Quality related activities should ideally fall in the bucket of the Quality Manager or someone designated by the Programme Manager. Therefore, Kyile has assigned the VP—Quality to engage the team representative who is working on getting quality standard certifications for the new recipe.

13 Summary

Let us summarise what we have learnt in this lesson: The steps involved in the stakeholder engagement process are identifying stakeholders, creating and analysing stakeholder profiles, (re)defining stakeholder engagement strategy, planning engagement, engaging stakeholders and measuring effectiveness. Stakeholders can be categorised as users or beneficiaries, governance groups, influencers and providers. Stakeholder engagement strategy defines how the programme will effectively manage stakeholders. The different ways to measure effectiveness are stakeholder communities for surveys, stakeholder feedback and review of stakeholder perceptions. Next, we will focus on leadership and stakeholder engagement within the transformational flow.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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