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An often used term in the project management space but its description is often confused or mixed. Stakeholder management is the process to assess and influence key team members and stakeholders associated with or who have influences on the project. This may involve setting up regular sessions where status and other issues are reported and debated. It will always demand that individual special relationships are declared, defended and maintained. It is a process that is planned and seeks to ensure that the underlying objectives of a project are being addressed and that the influential stakeholders agree this is so and have a forum to air their questions and concerns if they believe there are challenges.

A matrix of stakeholders is a very useful tool and, where many stakeholders are involved in larger organisations, this is very often a vital document to establish from the outset. The matrix will document the involvement and expectations of each stakeholder and map each stakeholder to allow you to elicit and gain agreement about which stakeholders get which communications, when they get it as well as how and what level of detail is demanded.

If your project is able to operate in an environment where the direct development team, including the business, are the only stakeholders you are in a very rare and fortunate position. Invariably there are groups, individuals or other teams involved. These are stakeholders who have provided finance, personnel, technology, skills, or other resources. these stakeholders will want to know these resources are being used and when they become available for return or when they come to an end. They will also want to know are the resources being used effectively and efficiently to target the objectives of the business.

We have already dealt with a number of stakeholder management issues in the previous sections. However, you will see that the area of Stakeholder management is an important part of your project. If the Stakeholder management demands on your project are likely to be high and, if your team members do not have these skills, it may be an opportunity to establish some support from inside or outside your organisation. You may have the opportunity for cross skilling one of your personnel via a break on the topic of stakeholder management. Let us look at the topic of cross skilling breaks.

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