Stakeholder analysis is one of the most important tasks in project management. Stakeholders are the people who are affected, positively or negatively, by the project. You must make an effort to the identify the project stakeholders early in the planning process. Let’s look at an example of a small project and see how to identify the project stakeholders.
Stakeholder Analysis Example: Part One
The boss calls you into her office and tells you she is getting complaints from other managers about items out of stock (stock-outs) in the supply room. This situation is wasting people’s time and delaying their work because they can’t get their materials when they need. She goes on to tell you that she wants you to run a project to cut the number of stock-outs in the supply room. She will be the project sponsor. Stakeholder Management Process
You ask some probing questions to quantify the project scope and the acceptance criteria. She states that less than five stock-outs a month would make the project a success.
With the initial scope defined, you tell her the next step is to identify the project’s stakeholders. Then you must do stakeholder analysis. That includes speaking with them to understand their issues with the supply room and their requirements for improving it. The sponsor shakes her head and says, “Let’s not turn this into a never-ending circus by asking other people to give us their to do lists. We’ve got to make a plan and identify how we’re going to deliver the project scope I just set. Let’s keep the planning group small so we can move fast. I don’t want to involve a lot of people who have other ideas we’d have to consider.
You say, “Well if I don’t identify project stakeholders and get their ideas, it may come back to haunt us at the end of the project.”
The sponsor interrupts and says, “We know what we need to do in the supply room. We don’t have to let other people stick their noses into this project.”
You say, “I really think that is a mistake…”
“Then it’s my mistake,” the sponsor said. “I want you to get started making the detailed plan.”
Over the next few days the planning went rapidly and you were able to develop high-level deliverables and a work breakdown structure. You identified procedure deliverables, training deliverables and a new workflow for managing inventory levels. The sponsor approved them all and she assigned people from her department and one from the supply room to serve as your project team and authorized you to start work.
Stakeholder Analysis Example: Part Two
Things went very well for the first week and you and your small team knocked off one deliverable after another. But as you moved into the implementation phase you ran into a couple of problems. FiInfluencing Project Stakeholders
First, the project sponsor called you and said, “The purchasing people have their nighties in a knot about how you want to manage the supply inventory. You better get down there and talk with them about what you want to do and get their cooperation.”After spending the next two days meeting with the purchasing people and modifying the entire workflow and procedure you had developed to meet their requirements, you were behind schedule. You knew you would have to hustle to avoid any more slippage in the schedule.
Then the human resources trainer finally returned your call. She explained that the training you wanted on the new supply room procedure did not meet corporate standards for training classes and needed to be extensively revised. You explained that the supply room procedure was undergoing modification anyway and the trainer explained that you should have involved her in this process from the beginning.
You stopped the team members who were revising the supply room inventory procedures and told them they would have to wait until the end of the week for a meeting with the human resources department trainer.
Stakeholder Analysis Example: Part Three
To bring an awful week to an end, you met with the project sponsor to submit your status report and explained why the project was at least a week and possibly two weeks late compared to the original plan finish date.
The sponsor asked what the problem was and you said, “We did not identify our project stakeholders in the beginning. That would have let us gather their requirements before we started work. Now we are discovering those requirements and having to redo much of the work we have done over the last two weeks.”
The sponsor’s facial expression went from anger to embarrassment and she said, “Next time we’ll identify the project stakeholders early and do a better stakeholder analysis.”
Learn how to do stakeholder analysis and management in our online project management basics courses. You work privately with a expert project manager. You control the schedule and pace and have as many phone calls and live video conferences as you wish. Take a look at the courses in your specialty.
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