Stakeholder Management - Have Intimacy with your Key stakeholders

Stakeholder relationship is very crucial in getting the work done and avoiding conflicts. Having good and deep relations with your key stakeholders will determine the success of your project. If you have excellent relationship with your stakeholders, I will call the relation "Intimate" where there is good trust between the two parties and work gets done effectively.  So there are two parts here 1) Measuring and managing the relationship strength with a stakeholder ( so that you can call it intimate) 2). Identifying with whom to be Intimate. 

The important word is “key” stakeholders. How do you know if a person is a key stakeholder or not ?. Hence the first step in this process is to Identify all the stakeholders , you may have to brainstorm here and make a complete list. The people who will be positively or negatively impacted by the project are your stakeholders.  Stakeholders can be organizations / association or individuals.

Once you have made the list based on the Power/ Interest grid  you should prioritize and determine who are your key stakeholders.  High power, and highly interested people must be engaged fully and more time and effort will be required to manage them closely and keep them satisfied. Likewise people with Low power and Low interest in the project must be just monitored and PM should spend only limited effort . 

So now that you know your stakeholders, have prioritized them and determined your  “key” stakeholders the next step is to build intimacy with them.  The better you can understand and manage them , the quicker you can resolve project issues and dependencies.  Having a good working relation with them is very important. You will have to spend time and energy and it has to be a well-planned activity.  Some recommendations, which can help you building relationships and managing stakeholders.

Step 1 – Identify Internal and External Stakeholders.

Internal Stakeholder

External Stakeholders

Executive leadership

Other Government Interest groups

Program Management Team ( PMO, Program manager etc)

Public impacted by program

Program Customers

Associations / organizations impacted

Project teams of related Program

Special interest groups ( Environment, Health etc.)

Vendors and agencies associated with the program

Others ( Media, Tax Payers)

Project team members



Step 2 -  Understand your stakeholders

1.       Determine what interests them about the project.  Do they have financial or emotional gain? , What will motivate them ?

2.       What information do they want from the project team or project manager and in what format and frequency? Document this need.

3.       What is their current attitude towards the project and project team ? Is it good / Bad. Understanding this will help you determine where their questions and comments are coming from and you can better address the same.  Understand what factors or influencers have led them to form this opinion . If you can understand this , you can better manage them.

4.       If they are highly negative and destructive,  try to brainstorm what can possibly win their support and make them positive.  In case you cannot win their support, how will you manage them throughout the project life cycle and handle their opposition.

5.       Finally who may be getting influenced by their opinions , do these new set of people need to be managed or are they already covered.


Step 3

Once you have a deep understanding of the stakeholder, create a plan of how you will manage them,. What meetings, communications, and relationship building activities you will be doing over the period of time.  You can make a plan for each key stakeholder and then track its and check the result to see if you are moving in the direction you want.

Stakeholder name


What to manage

How to manage

Stakeholder 1

Highly negative due to past failure


Will be negatively impacted and has influence on media

* Can we reduce the impact

* What can be compensated

* Building confidence by showing results

* Communicate in writing since he can misquote to media

* Weekly meetings for next 2 months


* Sharing status report and achievements


* making note of his expectations and trying taking actions to reduce the impact for him


Following this structured approach will help you build intimacy with key stakeholders and will move you closer to project success.

Some do’s and Don’t

1.       Talk to your stakeholders directly, never take information from other sources to make key decisions.

2.       Build rapport quickly, don’t take time to get started.

3.       Don’t under-estimate the overall activity to manage stakeholders. Ensure that you devote appropriate time for this.

4.       Don’t delegate the meetings or communications which you are expected to do.


Building Trust   is very important factor. Usually trust reduces the doubt on capabilities and hence saves communication effort and need to explain every step. If you can get your KEY stakeholders to trust you you can get work done quickly. Building trust takes time and effort. You must make small promises and then fulfill the same time and again to build trust. Never default on your commitments and if you delay or default then ensure you proactively reach out the stakeholder and give explaination. 


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