What is stakeholder management?
A product’s stakeholder management is a term that refers to preserving good connections with the company stakeholders, which are people who have the most impact on the company’s work. The product’s stakeholder management strategy involves the development of tasks, activities, and behaviors that will impact the stakeholders involved in the product’s development.
The stakeholders of a product are defined as any individuals or groups who will impact the product’s eventual success and are interested in its development. Stakeholders can also be divided into two categories: those who are upstream (such as investors and development staff) and those who are downstream (customers and consumers).
The Importance of Stakeholder Management
Without a doubt, the ability to manage stakeholders is a critical talent for a product manager, given that it is difficult to satisfy all requests at all times.
Who is responsible for Stakeholder Management
Typically, the product’s stakeholder management will be in the hand of the product manager.
Following are some tips for a product manager who seeks to apply well-put stakeholder management:
● A product manager must remember that they are not designing a product purely based on the company’s select few who may or may not buy or utilize the product in its entirety. However, a product manager must be firm in the face of requests from senior personnel or simply having to say no when this occurs.
● The Product Manager is not exempt from the limits imposed by budgetary constraints and corporate strategic objectives. A manager must tread a fine line between being tough and diplomatic at times, which is no easy task when dealing with political issues. Their influence can Take a product manager in different directions. The person in that capacity must have a systematic approach to deal with their needs effectively.
● A manager must tread a fine line between being tough and diplomatic at times, which is no easy task when dealing with political issues.
How to use Stakeholder Management
Stakeholder Management as a framework for decision making
It is feasible to be objective and fair while managing the stakeholders of a product by following a framework. It is also possible to regulate the amount of time and resources that a product manager must devote to those individuals or groups by following this framework.
Generally speaking, there are four significant steps that a product manager must complete:
Identifying interested parties
Product stakeholders are typically identified through various research activities. That includes brainstorming sessions, questionnaire feedback, conducting interviews, establishing best practices based on corporate experience, and other actions that provide data about who can influence the product’s success. You must appropriately assess stakeholders’ relevance because their relative importance will be affected by their various requirements and desires and overall volume.
Identifying the influence of each stakeholder
In most cases, the spheres of interest of each stakeholder have been depicted on a stakeholder map or something like that. You may organize all of your upstream and downstream affiliates more effectively using a diagram or a table. Typically, stakeholders are divided into four categories: those who are involved in the product’s development, those who are influenced by the product, those who have invested in the product (such as supporters, shareholders, and leadership), and those who govern regulatory organizations.
Create communication strategies and plans that are effective
Once the influence of a particular group of people has been determined, a product manager should devise a strategy for interacting with each of these groups or individuals. It is customary for an essential stakeholder with significant interest and investment in the product to receive a more extensive and intensive communication plan.
Additionally, a more hopeful stakeholder interested in the product may also call for a complete approach to be implemented. Further, it would be best to decide who will engage with each individual or group of shareholders, including in the communication plan.
Someone else than the project manager may be more appropriate in some situations, such as dealing with investors who are not affiliated with the immediate firm.
Participate in discussions with stakeholders
An effective product manager will first identify all of the product’s stakeholders, determine how they impact the development, and then devise a strategy for interacting with them.
After engaging the stakeholders objectively and fairly, the product manager will be able to decide how to improve the product. It is critical to remember that as the product’s development progresses and the project’s business cycle progresses, a given stakeholder’s impact on the product may shift. For the framework to remain current and practical, the product manager needs to revisit it frequently and repeat its activities.
In stakeholder management, stakeholder analysis is essential.
An essential notion that spans the entire management framework. The framework’s components dealing with stakeholder identification, stakeholder impact, and developing communication strategies will be informed by a stakeholder analysis.
In an ideal situation, the research is carried out as early in the project as possible, and it can be a beneficial tool for product managers, project managers, and program managers alike.
The investigation is strategic. When recruiting aid persons in crucial roles, it is especially effective when they possess specialized knowledge or access to valuable resources.
It should also keep the business’s strategic objectives in mind so that stakeholder expectations remain aligned with them as the organization grows. A practical stakeholder analysis will anticipate any worries, conflicts, or disagreements early in the product development process, which will allow for a more efficient product development process.
What Factors Should Be Taken Into Account in Stakeholder Analysis?
Product managers should consider several factors when evaluating the stakeholders of their products or services.
The most obvious consideration is how the effort will influence the individual or group in question. Product engineers will be significantly more affected than marketing professionals, and there is little doubt. From the standpoint of attitude, it is worthwhile to consider if a particular stakeholder will be supportive and optimistic about the project or whether they will be uncertain or even skeptical.
Another issue that can be highly stressful to a product manager is dealing with the expectations of a specific individual or group of people. They could be under the impression that their requirements are more significant than they are. A manager should also think about the factors that influence or trigger the outlook of a stakeholder: having a good understanding of these factors can help management avoid potential problems in the future.
The pressures applied on the product manager will differ depending on who puts the pressure on them. Customers have a wide range of requirements, and as a result, they project opposing interests on product managers.
Their influence can take a product manager in different directions. The person in that capacity must have a systematic approach to deal with their needs effectively.
On the other hand, the project manager is not exempt from the limits imposed by budgetary constraints and corporate strategic objectives. A manager must tread a fine line between being tough and diplomatic at times, which is no easy task when dealing with political issues.
Furthermore, from a political standpoint, the product manager would do well to identify who is the most appropriate person to engage with a stakeholder at what time of day. After all, stakeholders are humans, and as such, they will always inject politics into whatever business they participate in.