How the right data enables effective stakeholder management

We look at why data is vital to stakeholder management and the key information you need to know

Stakeholders are organisations or individuals who have an interest in your project either because they are directly involved in working on the project, or are affected by the project’s outcomes.

Stakeholders can make or break a project (try planning a new road without input from the public and see what happens!), so effective stakeholder management is crucial to a project’s success.

When we use the term stakeholder management, we mean systematically identifying, analysing, planning and implementing steps to engage with your stakeholders in a way that incorporates their positive influences and minimises the impact of any negative influences. Think of stakeholder management as four interrelated steps:

Identify your stakeholders

  • Determine their interests and influence
  • Develop communication management strategies
  • Engage with your stakeholders to channel their power to help you meet your project’s goals.

Data is vital to successful stakeholder management, and there are two types of data you need to have on your radar.  Firstly identifying your stakeholders and their influence, secondly, understanding the data that will explain the progress of your project in a meaningful way.

Identify your stakeholders: creating a stakeholder map.

First, you need to collect data about your stakeholders, which basically means implementing the first two steps of your stakeholder management plan.

You can identify your stakeholders by brainstorming, relying on your experience, conducting interviews, doing some research and so on.

Assessing stakeholder influence

Classify the stakeholders by the of potential impact they could have on the project. You should rank your stakeholders on a scale of low/medium/high based on their estimated level of interest and influence. The ones you identify as most likely to have the most influence and impact on your project are your key stakeholders.

The data you collect to assess your stakeholders should include:

  • How the project will impact them
  • Their attitude toward the project – supportive, ambivalent or negative
  • Their expectations and what influences their opinion of the project.

Stakeholder communication

Your analysis of the types of stakeholder and their interests will be vital in determining the data and how you present this to your stakeholders in your communication management plan.

It is probably wise to decide appropriate communication strategies for stakeholder groups depending on how much influence they have. The way you present project data to a stakeholder who is in favour of your project will almost certainly be different from the way you present the same data to a stakeholder who has a negative view of your project.

Your communication strategy should address the needs and concerns of each stakeholder; you should identify the purpose of each type of communication, the data you will include, the frequency, and how you will evaluate the effectiveness of the delivery and information.

Review and refine

During the project lifecycle, conduct regular reviews of your communications strategy to consider the latest feedback from your stakeholders. By collaborating with your stakeholders, keeping them informed with the most recent data reports about your project, you have the best chance of keeping your stakeholders on the same page and help make your project a successful one.

Verto can provide you with work collaboration and project management software that helps the project leaders and stakeholders interact more efficiently and improves project control.

Our cloud-based software provides dashboard status and reports as well as document storage and sharing. Stay in touch with us, follow us on LinkedIn and chat with us on Twitter to learn more about our ideas and software. It takes a lot of work to engage stakeholders for the duration of a project effectively, but Verto can simplify the process for you. Register for our newsletter to learn more about our success stories.