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How to Develop a Stakeholder Register

Last week, we looked at 15 awesome ways to manage your project stakeholders. Today, let’s explore the development and use of the stakeholder register.

Stakeholder Register Benefits

Projects are dynamic and stakeholders make things interesting. At any given time, an individual may exert their influence and cause disruption to your project. Or perhaps a group may be struggling in terms of their attitude towards the project. And let’s not forget outside organizations who may be impacted by our project.

How do we keep up with all these moving parts? The stakeholder register. A little time spent identifying, evaluating, and capturing stakeholder interest and concerns can pay big dividends. The register is particularly helpful when managing large projects and projects that are moving at a fast pace.

There is something about putting our pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. As we see all the stakeholders in once place, we can determine how to best use our limited time. How and when should we use our interpersonal skills to engage and influence stakeholders?

The Components of a Stakeholder Register

What should we include in the stakeholder register? Registers may include but not be limited to:

  • Stakeholder Name
  • Title
  • Power. Is their power low or high?
  • Influence. Is their influence low or high?
  • Current engagement level. Are stakeholders unaware, resistant, neutral, supportive, or leading?
  • Desired engagement level. What engagement level do you want for each stakeholder—unaware, resistant, neutral, supportive, or leading?
  • Interests. What are their interest and needs?
  • Concerns. What are their concerns?

When Do We Start?

So, when do we start identifying stakeholders? Day one. When I’m assigned a project, one of the first things that I do is start asking who may be impacted or who may impact this project. This helps me to identify participants for the project charter process.

Identifying Stakeholders

magnifying-glass-with-people-insideSome stakeholders are obvious—the project sponsor, the project team, project manager, and your customers. However, there may be unknown/unknown stakeholders. We don’t know they exist and we don’t know their potential impact.

How can we increase our chances of finding the unknown stakeholders?

  • Review stakeholder registers for similar current and past projects
  • Ask your sponsor to help you identify stakeholders, particularly ones at the higher levels of your organization
  • Talk with your project team to identify individuals and groups within the operational areas
  • Ask subject matter experts
  • Explore the vendors involved in the project
  • Ask the janitor (you’d be surprised about what some people know)

Evaluating Stakeholders

Not all stakeholders are equal. We need to give more attention to some stakeholders and less to others. How do we determine this?

One simple technique is the Power/Influence grid where you group stakeholders based on their level of power (High/Low) and influence (High/Low). Project managers should carefully plan and execute their communication with the High Power/High Influence stakeholders.

Other stakeholder analysis tools include:

  • Power/Interest Grid
  • Influence/Impact Grid
  • Salience Model (classifying stakeholders by power, urgency, and legitimacy)

For Your Eyes Only

Be careful who sees your stakeholder registers. You may have entered sensitive information in the register that could cause misunderstandings. Carefully guard this information.

[callout]Stakeholder Management Series. Want more tips on stakeholder management? Click here to access the Stakeholder Management Series I did with Colin Gautrey.[/callout]

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