Identification Is Not Just Hot Air
Given the connection to risk management and threats, I would like to make a key point here: Opponents are also stakeholders.Let me illustrate with an example.
Cape Wind is a renewable energy project planned for the waters of Nantucket Sound. If Cape Wind is successful, it will generate about 3/4 of the energy consumed by Cape Cod with renewable, clean energy. It will generate 600 to 1,000 jobs in the area. Not everyone is a supporter, though.
Observe this snippet from an issue of Business Week: "the first large-scale effort to harness sea breezes in the U.S. hit resistance from an army led by the rich and famous, waging a not-on-my-beach campaign. For almost eight years the critics have stalled the project, called Cape Wind, which aims to place 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound about five miles south of Cape Cod. Yet surprisingly, Cape Wind has largely defeated the big guns. In a few months it may get authorization to begin construction. "
Also, here is the promised coaching about identifying stakeholders. It comes to us via an excellent text, "The Handbook of Program Management", by James T. Brown:
Follow the money! Whoever is paying is definitely a stakeholder. Also, if the program produces savings or additional costs for an organization then the organization is also a stakeholder.
- Follow the resources. Every entity that provides resources, whether internal or external, labor or facilities, and equipment, is a stakeholder. Line managers and functional managers providing resources are stakeholders.
- Follow the deliverables. Whoever is the recipient of the product or service the program is providing is a stakeholder.
- Follow the signatures. The individual who signs off on completion of the final product or service (or phases thereof) is a stakeholder. Note: This may or may not be the recipient referred to in the previous bullet. Often there may be more recipients than signatories.
- Examine other programs' stakeholder lists. Include active programs and completed projects.
- Review the organizational chart to assess which parts of the organization may be stakeholders.
- Ask team members, customers, and any other confirmed stakeholder to help you identify additional stakeholders.
Look for the "Unofficial People of Influence." These may be people who are trusted by high-level leaders or who wield a lot of power through influence and not position.
Work this item hard in your projects. I think most of us agree that “communications is key," and that “we cannot communicate enough." But often, the stakeholders who need that communication are left out of the loop, so the best technology and the crispest communications fall flat on their faces. Identify, identify, identify, before you plan communications.It’s right there in the PMBOK® Guide now!