The Stanford Research Institute was the first to use the stakeholder concept. It is a unique concept.
According to him, “organizations would cease being alive if they didn’t get the support of groups”.
These groups were known as Stakeholders.
I have discussed differences between Program and Project level stakeholders later in this blog. Program level stakeholders are not concerned with managing pre-determined processes. Instead, they focus on building rewarding relationships and instilling the program’s goals.
Like many other things in our personal and professional lives, stakeholder engagement is always a two-way street.
What do you want?
The level of authority that stakeholders have over the Program is called Program Management. The position of the manager can be very powerful. The Program manager is not authorized to deal with the Project Manager.
PgMP training teaches you how to engage with stakeholder rather than manage them. It is important to understand the concerns and expectations and to focus on the right message rather than the correct method.
Below is the diagram I borrowed to illustrate the difference between managing a stakeholder and engaging one.
Stakeholder engagement focuses on delivering Business Value, building rewarding relationships, and bringing in inspired leadership to influence others to reach the Program Goals. Stakeholder Management, however, focuses more on the processes and methods to achieve it.
This raises another fundamental question about why we should engage stakeholders.
Why should we engage with stakeholders?
I tried to explain the benefits and risks of engaging with the Stakeholders.
Benefits of engaging with stakeholders:
Increase predictability of outcomes
Increase your trust and rapport
More Organizational Awareness
More equipped to handle resistance from stakeholders.
The same goes for the Stakeholders.
Uncertainty about the Outcome
Coming: More rework in conjunction with new changes
Low morale in Program Management team
This can lead to unprofessional or unethical methods of achieving your goals.
We now have a better understanding of stakeholders. Let’s talk about the differences in managing and engaging stakeholders in a Project or Program.
Program OrientedProgram-OrientedThe stakeholder numbers are smaller and more diverse than expected. The Stakeholders can be identified early in the project. Some stakeholders may change their behaviour or attitudes later in the project. It is easier to keep the stakeholders motivated because the program is shorter. The program embraces changes over a shorter time period. It is easier to get stakeholders to buy in to the program’s benefits.
How does a Program interact with stakeholders differently from a Project?
The Program engages with stakeholders differently to a Project. We clearly explain the differences between the two. The PgMP training is primarily for people who have Project Management backgrounds. It is important that they are able to unlearn some things before they learn how to engage with stakeholders in Programs. While there are some similarities between the approaches, there is a fundamental difference in how stakeholders are approached.
A Program has a much wider scope than a project. The Program Manager may not know some of the stakeholders, and some may be surprising during the project. The stakeholders of the project are well-known and do not pose a problem.
Below is a diagram that I have added a few differences to. This explains the concept.
We have learned about how to engage stakeholders as per the PgMP Certification. Let’s dive deeper into the steps involved in engaging stakeholders.
The Process of Engaging Stakeholders
The key thing to do is to involve stakeholders in the PgMP certification/Program Management.
It is crucial that you do not leave this stage.