Program Stakeholder Engagement

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Brainstorming by WikiArticle [1]

Brainstorming is a group creative technique where a group of people meets to generate new ideas and solutions. The strength of Brainstorming is that the participants have the liberty to spread the ideas in a free-thinking environment by widening their solution space with the other participants.

Types of Brainstorming techniques relevant in this field [2]:

Brain writing

The general principle of this technique is to separate the generation of an idea from the discussion. It gives every individual more time to think over the idea and write them down. These ideas are then passed to other individuals in the team who use that to develop their own ideas or critique the ideas and this process is repeated for a few minutes.

Figuring storming

This technique would help in understanding how someone else might handle the situation. What would that individual do to manage the problem we are discussing? How might that person’s approach work?

The Five Whys

Simply start with a problem you’re addressing by asking questions like “why is this happening?” Once you have some answers, ask “why does this happen?” Continue the process for a few times digging deeper each time until you’ve come to the root of the issue.

Stakeholder register by PMI [3]

Register List Table

Stakeholder register is used in identification of key stakeholder or stakeholder groups. It lists the stakeholders by categorising their relationship to the program, their influence, support and other characteristics that would influence the outcome of the program. Stakeholder register is a dynamic document which has to be updated by the program manager as the program evolves and can be used easily for the reference in reporting, distributing program deliverables, and for providing formal and informal communications.


Power-interest grid [4]

Power-Interest Grid

The power-interest grid is also known as the Power Interest Matrix, it is an easy tool that helps to categorize the project stakeholders according to the power and the interest they have in the project. This matrix represents has in the X-axis the interest level, whereas the Y-axis represent the power and the authority related to the project, and thanks to it, is possible to determine which stakeholders to manage closely and which stakeholders to put minimum effort in, in a way that allows channeling time and energy on the ones that have the most power and interest in project success.

Influence-impact grid [5]

Influence-Impact Grid

The influence-Impact grid model presents a very similar structure compared to the Power-Interest Matrix. It puts the stakeholders in a graph, representing their capability to affect the project compared with their ability to cause changes in the project management and execution, focusing both, on the stakeholders that have the most influence and on the impact they can make on the project success. By definition, Influence is the level of involvement the person has, and impact is the ability of the stakeholder to bring out the desired change.

Power-Influence grid [6]

Power-Influence Grid

The Power-Influence grid is, also, similar to the two previous tools and it helps to categorize project stakeholders by the power and influence they have on the project. By definition, power (on the Y-axis) is the level of authority a stakeholder has in the project. While influence (on the X-axis) is the level of involvement the person has.

Customer relationship Canvas by Business Model Generation [7]

Customer relationships define the type of relationship a company establishes with its specific customer segments. It is a tool that is used for customer management, sales management, productivity, and more. The goal is to simply Improve business relationships. Categories of Customer Relationships:

  • Personal Assistance
  • Dedicated Personal Assistance
  • Self-Service
  • Automated Services
  • Communities
  • Co-Creation

Political map technique [8]

Political Map

Making decisions requires an understanding of who can affect decisions and where they stand. We should identify who is involved in the decision, not only the people who make the final decision but also those who influence their thinking. A method for understanding and affecting individual decisions within a specific organization should involve the following steps. 1) Rank the stakeholders by their position in the company. Anyone who has a final say in the decision or puts resources into the project should be highly ranked. 2) Rank their ability to influence decisions within the milestones. 3) Graph these two factors against each other (Influence vs Position) to illustrate which stakeholders have the largest stake in the project. 4) Map the relationship of all stakeholders. Any relationships which are neutral should not be noted; only strong positive (solid line) and strong negative (dashed line).

Value proposition Canvas by Business Model Generation [9]

The value proposition is normally a tool used for business models. But clearly defining it is also important for stakeholder engagement when it comes to the various types of stakeholders (end-users, clients, etc.) who are mainly interested in what benefits the company can offer them. Demonstration of those benefits can be a way to reinforce stakeholder engagement at the later stages of a project.

Salience model by WikiArticle [10]

Venn Diagram for Salience Model

The Salience Model looks at the degree to which managers give priority to the competing stakeholder claims based on assessments of their power, urgency, and legitimacy Power is a social factor where the capability of stakeholders to force their desire. Legitimacy is the assessment of their involvement in the project's decisions based on social norms, beliefs, and definitions. Urgency is how fast the stakeholder has the necessity for immediate actions. If the stakeholder is one out of three of the factors, this is known as a latent stakeholder, making them low on the salience scale (1, 2, 3 in the figure). If they have two attributes, the stakeholders are known as expectant (4, 5, 6 in the figure). These are medium on the salience scale. If the stakeholder has power, legitimacy, and urgency they are a definitive stakeholder with the highest salience (7 in the figure).


Engagement assessment matrix by PMI [1]

Power-Interest Grid

Contrary to many other tools presented here, this one is a dynamic one meaning that it needs to be actualized throughout the project. Its objective is to represent the current situation of the project in term of stakeholder engagement by showing both their desired engagement level and their current one. The 5 possible levels of engagement range from unaware to leading so that all types of stakeholders can be covered.

Engagement approaches [2]

Based on their interest and influence in the project, stakeholders can be subject to different engagement approaches.

Partnership. the stakeholder shares accountability and responsibility; participates in decision making and actions.

Participation. the stakeholder is part of the team and has tasks concerning a particular activity but limited responsibility.

Consultation. the organization provides information and asks questions the stakeholder provides answers in turn; low responsibility and influence.

Push communication .the organization asks question and the stakeholder answers. The communication channel is direct (emails, letters..) and the stakeholder is a specific group.

Pull communication. the organization needs information from the stakeholder but it is the stakeholder that decides to answer (web-pages..).

Four types of stakeholder integration[3]

Buffering. The organization creates a network of indirect stakeholders who have a name, function, location and are therefore controllable. They close links together and in this way the organization deals with the uncertainty related to the stakeholders. The stakeholders are represented by the organization on which they have influence but the main organization is still independent in regards to their operational structure.

Co-optation. When direct stakeholders participate to the technical core of the company through investments, a co-optation strategy helps to reduce the uncertainty of these dependencies. It is a dyadic stakeholder technique which involve partial inglobation of the stakeholders. The organization absorbs new elements in their leadership or in their policy-determining structure.

Mutual learning. A dyadic collaborative process in which the organization shares with the stakeholders their concerns and together they try to find a solution which can be beneficial in terms of stakeholders’ interests.

Meta-problem solving. Network-level technique used when the stakeholders are not well defined or when stakeholders have different powers and expertises. These stakeholders are integrated into the organization and they combine their resources and perspective into the main organization.


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