How can you tell the difference between a positive and negative stakeholder?
Stakeholders are individuals or organizations that are involved in the project, or whose interests may be negatively or positively affected by project execution. Participation in a project can have an impact on the project’s lifecycle, as stakeholder levels and authority can change. They can have a positive and negative impact on the project.
Each project has different stakeholders. The majority of them are listed below.
Project Manager – Manages the project
Customer/User: Uses the product/service offered by the project
Performing organization – The enterprise that performs the work
Project team members – The group that does the work
Project management team – The team directly involved in project management activities
Sponsors – Those who provide financial resources
Other stakeholders – Owners, investors, suppliers and end users.
Influencers – People and groups who are not directly involved in the project’s success but have the potential to influence the outcome of the project through their profile.
It is difficult to discern if someone is genuinely concerned or just trying to provoke you against the organization or project goals. There are many ways to identify negative stakeholders. If someone is always raising problems and not offering solutions, it’s likely that they are a negative stakeholder. You might need to do more than one analysis before you make a decision.
Stakeholder attitudes can change over time. The key dimensions of any stakeholder’s attitude are their willingness and ability to communicate with you, as well as their support or opposition. There is no way to change the stakeholder’s mind if they are not communicating. To determine if someone is supportive or not, look at what they do. Promises and promises are often not kept. Decide if this is really important and then invest your management efforts in the people who are most important to the project.
Many stakeholders worry that they weren’t informed or don’t understand the information. A project manager may view this negatively and perceive the person as rude or uncooperative. This can be solved by creating a stakeholder engagement matrix. It is necessary to compare the current engagement levels of all stakeholders with the expected engagement levels for successful completion of the project. It is possible to classify the engagement levels of stakeholders.
Unaware: Unaware about the project & its potential impact.
Resistant: Be aware of the potential impact and resist change.
Neutral: Not supportive or resistant to the project but aware of it.
Supportive: Be aware of the potential impact of the project and be supportive to any changes.
Leading: Be aware of the project and its potential impact, and actively engage in ensuring that the project is a success.
It is the responsibility of the project manager to reduce the gap between the desired and current engagement of a stakeholder.
Management of stakeholders includes assessing the influence, power, and interest of each stakeholder group, and planning the project around their requirements, as well as ensuring their active support in the initial stages.
Financial stakeholders are also included in the list of potential negative stakeholders. Materials suppliers can use their influence and production to obtain greater financial benefits. Third-party vendors can adversely affect the project by causing delays and cost overruns. If not identified, political stakeholders can also be proven to be negative.
Stakeholders have a wide range of responsibility and authority. They can make small contributions at few meetings or provide financial support. Project stakeholder management is a new area of PMI’s PMPMP course. This is half the battle won if a project manager does it well. Stakeholders play a very important role in any project’s success or failure.