Join Doug Rose for an in-depth discussion in this video Prioritizing the stakeholders, part of Project Management Foundations: Communication.
As a project manager one phrase you won't often hear is, take your time. Your stakeholders are not going to say, "I need an update on this schedule "and you can take your time." Instead you'll probably get a lot of "as soon as possible's" or ASAP's. What can happens is that everyone will be giving you a task that they want ASAP. So how do you communicate with everyone all the time? The short answer is, you don't. Instead you go through the process of prioritizing your communication. Good communication is about getting the right information to the right stakeholder.
You won't want to much information to overwhelm your highest priority stakeholders. And you also don't want to spend too much time updating your lowest priority stakeholders. So you need to be able to prioritize groups of stakeholders. So you already have a stakeholder register. Now you need to take these categorized stakeholders and prioritize them based on their relationship to the project. The stakeholder management plan should already contain information about the power, impact, interest, and influence.
Now you need to take that starting point and clearly define how you should deal with each group of stakeholders. A lot of project managers will start prioritizing using something called a Power-and-Interest Grid. A Power-and-Interest Grid is a simple tool to help you place each stakeholder. The Power-and-Interest Grid is not for the stakeholders. It's for the project manager. It will show you, clearly, who you should be spending the most time communicating with about the project. The Power-and-Interest Grid has four quadrants.
Starting at the top left-hand corner and moving clockwise. The top left quadrant has high-power, low interest stakeholders. The top-right quadrant has high-power and high-interest stakeholders. These are the stakeholders you should be spending most of your time communicating with. The bottom right quadrant has the high-interest, low-power stakeholders. They're usually stakeholders outside your project. In the healthcare data base project these stakeholders might be hospital workers or amateur journalists.
They might be powerful and influential in other areas, but not in your project. They're not a high priority. The bottom left quadrant has low-power, low-interest stakeholders. These are the stakeholders that are barely connected to the project. They should have the lowest priority in your communication plan. Low-power, low-interest stakeholders are usually barely connected to your project. They might be the end users in a healthcare data base. The only time they might be interested in your project is if the website was down for a few hours.
Now you have your stakeholders categorized and prioritized in your Power-and-Interest Grid. So now you should look at this grid and use it tO update your stakeholder register. Your stakeholder register is a rank list of all your stakeholders. There should be a column in your stakeholder register called "priority". What you want to do now is take each quadrant of your Power-and-Interest grid and assign it to a priority. Take your Power-and-Interest grid and write your communication label in each of the four quadrants.
The top-left quadrant has your high-power, low-interest stakeholders. You'll want to keep these stakeholders satisfied. This usually means you want to send them just enough communication to keep them in the loop. So in your stakeholder register you'll want to label them "keep satisfied" in the priority column. In the top-right quadrant you'll have your high-power, high-interest stakeholders. These are the stakeholders with the highest priority in your stakeholder register. You'll want to manage their communication closely.
This is usually quite a bit more than just keeping them in the loop. You'll want to make sure that they have copies of all your reports and access to all of your project information. The bottom-right quadrant is the low-power, high-interest stakeholders. These stakeholders should be just informed about your project. This usually involves a lot of one-way communication. So you can compose fliers or send out press releases. Finally, you have the bottom-left quadrant. These are the low-power, low-interest stakeholders. These are the lowest priority stakeholders.
These are the stakeholders that you need to monitor just in case they become higher priority stakeholders. So now you have your four labels to prioritze your stakeholders. So when you build your stakeholder register use one of these four labels. The most commonly used labels are: keep satisfied, manage closely, inform and monitor. These decisions should be laid out in your communication management plan. This will become part of your larger project management plan.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Using formal and informal means to communicate
- Prioritizing stakeholder needs
- Listening actively
- Planning project communication
- Understanding leadership language
- Writing clear and concise project reports
- Learning how and when to say "no"<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.