Stakeholder engagement is a key aspect of any project, as it involves identifying, communicating, and managing the expectations and interests of the people who are affected by or can influence the project outcomes. Stakeholder engagement helps to ensure that the project delivers value to its customers, sponsors, and other stakeholders, and that potential risks and issues are identified and addressed early.
However, stakeholder engagement is not a standalone process that can be done in isolation from other project management processes. In fact, managing stakeholder engagement is closely related to another process that is equally important for project success: monitoring and controlling stakeholder engagement.
What is Monitoring and Controlling Stakeholder Engagement?
Monitoring and controlling stakeholder engagement is the process of tracking, reviewing, and adjusting the strategies and plans for engaging stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. This process helps to ensure that the stakeholder engagement activities are aligned with the project objectives, scope, schedule, budget, quality, and risks, and that any changes or deviations are managed effectively.
Monitoring and controlling stakeholder engagement involves the following activities:
- Collecting and analyzing feedback from stakeholders on their satisfaction, expectations, needs, issues, concerns, and suggestions.
- Measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of the stakeholder engagement strategies and plans using performance indicators and metrics.
- Identifying and resolving any conflicts or disagreements among stakeholders or between stakeholders and the project team.
- Updating and revising the stakeholder register, stakeholder analysis, stakeholder engagement plan, and other project documents based on the feedback and changes.
- Communicating and reporting the status, progress, achievements, challenges, and lessons learned of the stakeholder engagement activities to the relevant stakeholders.
Why is Monitoring and Controlling Stakeholder Engagement Important?
Monitoring and controlling stakeholder engagement is important because it helps to:
- Maintain positive relationships with stakeholders by addressing their needs and expectations proactively and responsively.
- Enhance stakeholder satisfaction and trust by delivering value and quality in accordance with the agreed scope and requirements.
- Increase stakeholder support and commitment by involving them in decision making and problem solving.
- Reduce stakeholder resistance and opposition by managing their concerns and risks effectively.
- Improve stakeholder collaboration and cooperation by fostering a culture of mutual respect and understanding.
- Adapt to changing stakeholder needs and expectations by adjusting the stakeholder engagement strategies and plans accordingly.
How to Monitor and Control Stakeholder Engagement Effectively?
To monitor and control stakeholder engagement effectively, project managers should follow these steps:
- Define the objectives and criteria for monitoring and controlling stakeholder engagement. These should be aligned with the project goals, scope, schedule, budget, quality, risk management plan, change management plan, communication management plan, etc.
- Identify the tools and techniques for collecting and analyzing stakeholder feedback. These may include surveys, interviews, focus groups, meetings, workshops, observation, etc.
- Identify the performance indicators and metrics for measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of the stakeholder engagement strategies and plans. These may include satisfaction ratings, participation rates, issue resolution rates, change request rates, etc.
- Implement the monitoring and controlling activities according to the schedule and frequency defined in the stakeholder engagement plan. This may involve conducting regular or ad hoc feedback sessions with stakeholders or sending out surveys or questionnaires periodically.
- Analyze the feedback data using qualitative or quantitative methods. This may involve identifying trends, patterns, gaps, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, etc.
- Compare the actual results with the expected results based on the objectives and criteria. This may involve calculating variances or deviations from the baseline or target values.
- Identify any issues or problems that need to be addressed or resolved. This may involve prioritizing them based on their urgency or impact.
- Identify any changes or improvements that need to be made to the stakeholder engagement strategies or plans. This may involve updating or revising them based on the feedback or changes.
- Communicate and report the findings and recommendations to the relevant stakeholders. This may involve preparing reports or presentations that summarize the status, progress, achievements, challenges, lessons learned of the stakeholder engagement activities.
- Implement the changes or improvements according to the change management plan. This may involve obtaining approval from the change control board or sponsor before making any changes.
Managing stakeholder engagement is closely related to monitoring and controlling stakeholder engagement because both processes aim to ensure that stakeholders are effectively engaged throughout the project lifecycle. By monitoring and controlling stakeholder engagement regularly, project managers can improve stakeholder satisfaction, trust, support, commitment, collaboration, and cooperation, and reduce stakeholder resistance, opposition, conflicts, and risks.
According to Asana, conducting purposeful stakeholder analysis is one of the steps to creating a stakeholder engagement plan. According to APM, one of the key principles of stakeholder engagement is to consult regularly with stakeholders. According to Indeed, one of the stakeholder communication strategies is to remain transparent.