Mastering Stakeholder Management

Mastering Stakeholder Management

A (un)comprehensive guide

Effective stakeholder management is a pivotal aspect of any design project. In today’s fast-paced environment, designers must communicate effectively with decision-makers. Stakeholder management ensures that all stakeholders are involved throughout the design process and that their feedback is considered.

Intro

This post comes from learning gained during multiple projects within different business environments. approach helps create a better end product and fosters a sense of ownership among stakeholders, making them feel valued and heard. Therefore, Stakeholder management is critical to crafting a design that unlocks business value.

A robust framework of tools and rituals can support design teams in having fruitful conversations and managing the needs and expectations of stakeholders, such as internal and external clients, other teams, and “accidental” stakeholders involved in the projects. 

The facts

Effective stakeholder management enables designers to successfully achieve goals by ensuring everyone involved in the project is aligned, informed, and ultimately a supporter of the solution. 

In a corporation, a stakeholder is a member of “groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist”,[1] as defined in the first usage of the word in a 1963 internal memorandum at the Stanford Research Institute.

Wikipedia

Stakeholder mapping

One key aspect of effective stakeholder management is identifying all stakeholders and understanding their needs, expectations, and concerns. The Stakeholder mapping exercise is a brilliant way to start, and stakeholder segmentation is the first step in understanding who can make or break the project. 

I consider this article a great starting point to become familiar with stakeholder mapping. 

My key takeaway from it is about stakeholder segmentation. 

These are the four stakeholder types that usually have a steak in every digital project:

Sponsors initiate projects by activating resources and tasking people. Sponsors own the project’s scope.

Project Team: The project team executes the project according to its scope. 

Reference Groups validate the solution. They monitor if the solution will work.

Users are a sample of the audience that benefits from the project solution. 

With this segmentation, the Project Team will feel more confident identifying relevant facts such as the sponsor’s real business goals, stakeholders’ interests and potential risks.

If you use Miro, this template can facilitate the conversations to define the stakeholder mapping for your next project.

This activity activity is never-ending. Every time the project needs a change of plan, the stakeholder management loop must start again. That’s why it is imperative to establish an effective communication set-up to ensure that everyone is notified and feels included in the decision-making process.

Conclusions

Stakeholder management is essential to crafting digital solutions that meet business needs. By carefully planning and communicating and taking the time to understand the expectations of all stakeholders, formal or informal, design teams can build strong relationships that lead to a safe environment to foster the design thinking approach. This human-centred process requires to be built on honesty and respect, which are the pillars for creating a safe and productive working environment that encourages feedback and fosters growth. By valuing these relationships and committing to open communication, teams can effectively collaborate with their stakeholders and ultimately achieve tremendous success in their work.

References

Caveats and feedback

Your feedback is precious to me!
What is your experience with stakeholder management?

Image credits

IMAGE CREDIT: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

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