Even though they are in charge of projects, project managers don't possess all the knowledge and skills necessary to complete them. Usually, projects involve various people and organizations with a vested interest in a project. These are commonly known as stakeholders.
Projects come in all sizes; the bigger they are, the more complications project managers face. To successfully manage a project, project managers must involve stakeholders beyond their immediate project team.
Stakeholders are crucial for the success of any project, and identifying them is an essential element of project management. Let's see how you can form a stakeholder register and what elements you should include.
What Is the Stakeholder Register in Project Management?
Why is having a stakeholder register important? This is a document that contains relevant information about project stakeholders. It identifies organizations, groups, and people interested in the project or its outcome.
The stakeholder register usually contains the following information about stakeholders: name, title, role, interest, power, requirements, expectations, and type of influence. It's a good idea to create a stakeholder register when project sponsors sign the project charter.
Once you have a project charter ready, it will be easier to analyze and identify stakeholders. Then you can create a strategy to communicate with and manage stakeholders. This tool helps you complete your project quickly and efficiently while keeping all your stakeholder information in one place.
What Is Included in a Stakeholder Register?
A stakeholder register is a straightforward document containing information about the project's stakeholders. It clearly identifies groups, organizations, and people who have an interest in the project and its outcome.
We already mentioned the most important elements of a stakeholder register; you can categorize this document into three areas: stakeholder identification, evaluation, and classification.
Organizational stakeholders include technical management, senior management, line managers, and the project team.
Product and market-based stakeholders include customers, suppliers, and governments with a regulatory interest in a product.
Financing-based stakeholders include banks, creditors, and investors.
While stakeholders have a definite interest in the project, they will often have minor requirements that usually arise when unmet. Therefore, you need to evaluate each stakeholder and what their requirements are.
In short: this part of the stakeholder register focuses on evaluating stakeholders based on the following criteria: their requirements, interest and power, influence on the project, expectations, and communication needs.
There are internal and external stakeholders. Technical managers and project teams are internal stakeholders, while external stakeholders include regulatory agencies and suppliers, to name a few.
When Should a Stakeholder Register Be Updated?
Since stakeholders enter the project in different stages, it's necessary to update the stakeholder register regularly. You would be surprised to know how many updates this document is subjected to.
Any change or updated information needs to be recorded in this particular document. Updates may include information on new stakeholders or if the stakeholder is no longer involved in a project.
What Is the Purpose of a Stakeholder Register?
Stakeholders make things interesting and dynamic around the company. They can use their influence to harm or help your project at any given time. This document aims to identify who is impacted by the project and what their influence on the project is.
The stakeholder register will become an essential tool for team forming, development, and project planning throughout a project. It will help project managers define success criteria and communication while defining tasks and responsibilities.
A well-defined stakeholder register created early and monitored throughout the project lifecycle will increase the likelihood of the project's success. This document allows you to sort each stakeholder into various categories and keep track of the best ways to deliver information to them.
How Do You Create a Stakeholder Register in Project Management?
You can create a stakeholder register in three easy steps.
- The first step is to identify who your stakeholders are. We mentioned earlier that they could be team members, executives, project managers, and others.
- The next step includes creating a stakeholder register. You can use Excel or Word documents for this purpose, or simply download templates if you don't want to start from scratch. Templates save you a lot of time and already contain standard fields. Still, you can add those specific to your organization, like engagement level, influence, and expectations.
- The final step involves analyzing stakeholders. Now is the time to fill in all the fields in your stakeholder register. You should use publicly available information if you can't reach external stakeholders.
Analyzing is the most important segment of creating a stakeholder register, so note the stakeholders' interests and expected outcomes.
Stakeholder Register Template
A stakeholder register template is your go-to document and can serve as a blueprint for all upcoming projects. Make sure to include information you can duplicate across different initiatives, like the information you want to track for each stakeholder, their communication preferences, and their level of influence. This way, you will have everything in one place. Alongside the key information about each stakeholder, like name, role, title, category, level of interest, and so on, your stakeholder template should include a section for basic project information. You will fill this section with the project's name, type, description, purpose, and start and end date.
Who Should Create the Stakeholder Register Template?
Essentially, a project manager creates a stakeholder register; however, in some instances, it might be initiated by the project sponsor. Once you create a template for the specific project, the project manager will fill in the information as stakeholders are identified.
What Should a Stakeholder Register Template Include?
This template includes relevant information about each stakeholder, while its purpose is to keep everything organized and in one place. If you need a simple log for tracking stakeholders, your register will include the following information:
- Stakeholder name
- Role or title
- Category (external or internal)
- Level of influence
- Specific needs
- Communication method
- Contact information
- How often do they want to be updated, and on what information
This template can serve as a reference tool, and you can regularly update it as any change happens throughout the project lifecycle. The stakeholder register template allows you to perform detailed analysis and map all stakeholders, which is crucial for managing any project.