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Proactive stakeholder management

Gather the level of input and involvement your team should prepare for on key decisions.
Working with stakeholders is one of the most challenging parts of product management. It’s a topic I consistently get asked about by new PMs. I often hear “I can’t seem to please everybody” or “one of my stakeholders is trying to micro manage”. These questions are typically symptoms of the PM reacting to stakeholder requests, rather than managing them.
It’s easy to lump all the stakeholders into a single bucket and involve them all at the same level. But proactive PM’s tend to take a different approach. They understand that each stakeholder has unique perspectives and will want to be involved in a decision at a different level. Some stakeholders may only want to stay informed. Others may have strong opinions and want to be deeply involved.

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Teasing apart each stakeholder’s desired level of involvement makes it much easier to gain commitment behind a decision and move quickly. I built a template to make it simple for PM’s to proactively understand each stakeholders’ desired level of involvement. Here’s how it works:

Proactively manage your stakeholders

Copy this template and clear the sample data.
List your upcoming decisions in the table below, then share this doc with stakeholders.
Ask each stakeholder to mark their desired level of involvement.
Tailor how you you interact with each stakeholder throughout the decision process.
Copy template
Clear sample data
It’s amazing how much clarity is established just by allowing stakeholders to choose their level of involvement in a decision. Try it out with your team and how it goes — I’d love to hear from you!

Upcoming decisions
Next steps and timing to decide
I don't need to be involved
Just let me know the decision
I'd like to give input
I may have strong opinions
Should we build an AI feature?
Finish customer research by 8/15
What are our big rocks for Q3?
Write v1 of brief by 8/22
There are no rows in this table

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