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Client and Stakeholder Engagement: Tools and Techniques

By akumar
Oct. 27, 2015

Who does what? Is the PM doing that? Or is the client supplying that? Where do we get this?

I’ve had conversations with project teams and client teams, and as a general rule of thumb, the first step in ensuring project delivery success is figuring out who should be involved on the project, and how their roles and responsibilities impact the project delivery.

Below, I will explore some tools and techniques to help reduce confusion and delays by expediting communications and navigating multiple inputs.

TL;DR:

 

Issue

Action(s)

Outcome

In projects, confusion can occur around team responsibilities and communications, leading to project complications, cost overruns, and delays.

Client and Stakeholder Engagement Tools and Techniques

Better engagement and collaboration leads to higher quality, cost savings, and increased project success.

Still interested? Okay let’s get started. The first tool for client and stakeholder engagement for projects is...

The Stakeholder Register

The Stakeholder Register is a living document of all individuals working or providing input on the project. All of the identifying information is held in this spreadsheet, and levels of interest, influence, and engagement can also be summarized here.

In a stakeholder register, we like to track:

  • Organization
  • Name
  • Role
  • Email / Phone / Skype
  • Escalations: is this person a good point of escalation if someone or something needs a resolution on a project?
  • Interest Classification
  • Influence Classification
  • Engagement Assessment

 

Stakeholder Register

 

Next up is the Power / Interest grid (from which we get interest classification).

Power / Interest Grid

The Power / Interest grid groups stakeholders based on level of authority and level of concern regarding the project outcomes. This grid and grouping can be useful in planning, communicating, and working with stakeholders on your project.

 

Power Interest Grid

 

Next up is the Power / Influence grid (from which we get influence classification).

Power / Influence Grid

The Power / Influence grid groups stakeholders based on level of authority and active involvement in the project. This grid and grouping can be useful in how to approach and resolve issues on a project.

Groupings

Champions: Powerful people who are actively supportive of the project

Blockers: Powerful people who will actively resist the project

Supporters: People with little power who are in favour of the project

Detractors: People with little power who are against the project

Power Influence Grid

 

Armed with an understanding of stakeholders power, interest, and influence, the next step is assessing their engagement levels and working towards achieving desired levels for your champions and supporters.

Next up is the Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix.

Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

The Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix is a great way to routinely evaluate participation levels of the project team to ensure everyone is on the same page about what is essential for successful project completion.

Engagement Levels can be classified in the following ways:

Unaware: Unaware of project and potential impacts

Resistant: Aware of project and potential impacts and resistant to change

Neutral: Aware of project yet neither supportive nor resistant

Supportive: Aware of project and potential impacts and supportive to change

Leading: Aware of project and potential impacts and actively engaged in ensuring project success

 

Below is an example matrix (click to enlarge):

The last tool that we will explore in this article is the RACI Matrix. This tool can be used as a succinct way to ensure that stakeholders and project members are aware of who is doing what, and who is accountable for approval.

Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RACI)

The RACI chart is especially useful in clarifying roles and responsibilities on project teams and cross-functional teams with many ambiguities.

R = Responsible = Who does the work needed to complete the task

A = Accountable = Who accepts the task and signs off on completion

C = Consulted = Who provides subject matter expertise and opinions to the project team to guide the completion of the task

I = Informed = Who is kept up to date on the progress of the work for a given task

 

Example RACI Matrix (click to enlarge):

 

Key Takeaways

Using client and stakeholder engagement tools and techniques can help your organization increase collaboration, improve quality, reduce costs, and increase project success by reducing confusion and clarifying project roles and responsibilities, making sure your projects continue to run smoothly. 

Learn more: Successful Software Project Delivery in 10 Steps

Thanks for reading.

Andrew Kumar

PMP, CSM, CSPO

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