When you’re deep in the trenches of a project, it can be easy to forget that you’re not the only one invested. Stakeholders are often heavily invested as well. Keeping stakeholders engaged is a critical aspect of your project.
It can be hard as a project manager to keep track of stakeholders, their roles, and what kind of information they need. Sometimes you get people asking all kinds of questions but you have no idea why they’re asking.
It’s important to create a project stakeholder register that gathers all this important information in one place.
What is a stakeholder register?
A stakeholder register is a project management document that contains the most important information about the various stakeholders involved with a project. It helps identify stakeholders and details what their role is, what their expectations are, and what kind of influence they have over the project.
As a project charter of sorts, stakeholder registers help you know who you can turn to when you have questions about something — and they’re an excellent way to building stakeholder engagement.
What is the purpose of a stakeholder register?
. Stakeholder registers are a part of the larger project management process that helps you manage stakeholders, aids with planning, and helps you define what success looks like in a project.
Stakeholder management helps you keep stakeholders engaged in projects in a meaningful way that fosters advocacy for the project. You may find a power/interest grid, like the one below, helpful when deciding the best way to reach out to stakeholders and how often they want to be included in meetings or receive updates.
Project management and planning
The stakeholder register helps identify when to collect information from stakeholders about the project, determines who you should work with on your team, and establishes details like the timeline, deliverables, and successful project completion. The more you understand stakeholder expectations, the easier planning becomes.
Project team formation & responsibilities
Stakeholders often play a role in what the project team looks like and the responsibilities of each member of the team. They often have requirements that only specific people can fulfill. The more influence stakeholders have over the makeup of your team, the happier they end up being with the final product.
Active communication with stakeholders early in the project planning process can help you nail down the dream team and come up with some backups, in case of scheduling issues.
Defining project success criteria & objectives
The more engaged your stakeholders are, the more likely you are to have a successful project. The more you bring in stakeholders to help define what success looks like for your project, the better.
With a stakeholder register, you build a relationship with stakeholders early in the project, ensuring that they feel personally involved from day one.
Creating a communication plan
Because the project stakeholder register contains information about communication preferences and frequency, it can help you create a customized communication plan for each stakeholder. These plans are important because they help keep stakeholders up-to-date on information that is most relevant to their interests.
Communication plans should include information like:
Stakeholder status - How do they fit into the project ecosystem? Are they an advocate? Neutral? Blocker? This information can be helpful when deciding how much information you provide each stakeholder and how often you provide it. Blockers, for example, may need constant updates to ensure that they’re not slowing things down. Advocates, on the other hand, may be okay with less frequent updates. How each stakeholder can help - This identifies what each stakeholder can do for the project. Maybe they’re great at freeing up resources, or maybe they’re good at putting productive teams together, or maybe they have access to tools that you need. Make sure you note these types of things in the register. This makes it easier for you to solve problems as they come up in the project. Key messaging - Each stakeholder will need to hear something a different, so figure out what that is and include it in the register. If you’re not sure, ask. Stakeholders will gladly tell you what they need to hear when you’re updating them about the project. Communication method - What’s the best way to communicate with each stakeholder? Some people are prefer a two-line email telling them everything is going well, while others need to sit down with you every couple of weeks for an in-depth meeting. The more you speak to stakeholders in the way they prefer, the better the relationship will be.
What is included in a stakeholder register?
Your project stakeholder register should contain everything you need to know about the various stakeholders and act almost like a cheat sheet.
You should include details like:
Engagement level (high, medium, low) Communication preferences (both method and frequency) How much influence and power they have over the projects.
You can include information about concerns they may have about the project (so that you can tailor communication to reduce those concerns), as well as any other relevant information about them or the project itself.
How to create a stakeholder register
The easiest way to create a stakeholder register is to use a . It contains key information that you need to include and can be customized to the needs of your project.
The two basic steps you need to take when creating a stakeholder register:
Evaluate & categorize project stakeholders
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