The central role of stakeholders in the successful delivery of projects is becoming increasingly recognised. However, whilst critical to success, these roles are neither passive nor predetermined. The organisation has significant opportunities to influence stakeholder’s perceptions and expectations for the benefit of both the stakeholders and the project; but only when there are effective relationships in place with each key stakeholder.
Identifying, mapping and prioritising a project’s stakeholder community is only the beginning. Projects and other initiatives can only be considered successful when their key stakeholders acknowledge they are a success. This requires the delivery team to effectively engage with each of its key stakeholders to understand and manage their expectations and then deliver the outcome to meet or exceed these ‘managed expectations’. Expectations are never ‘fixed’; effective communication can help change perceptions and expectations to make them realistic and achievable. Conversely, ineffective communications can create the perception of failure in the mind of a stakeholder even when the deliverable is ‘on time, on budget and delivering the specified scope’.
Engaging effectively and ethically with key stakeholders to help create a successful project outcome requires significant levels of skill and maturity. SRMM defines five levels of maturity and suggests a route most organisations can follow to progress from ‘Level 1’ to ‘Level 5’. The 5 levels of SRMM are:
For more on the five levels see: SRMM Implementation Guide
SRMM is based on the Stakeholder Circle® methodology, but any effective stakeholder management process can be used to develop 'stakeholder management maturity'.