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Understanding and visualizing your stakeholder community


SERIES ARTICLE

Series on Effective Stakeholder Engagement

By Lynda Bourne, PhD

Melbourne, Australia

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Collecting data about your stakeholder community is one thing; making effective use of this data requires its transformation into information that can be used to support decision making and action. For most people this involves being able to ‘see’ the information in context.

Stakeholder visualisation requires the mapping of complex data into a format that allows managers to ‘see their community’ and understand where stakeholder engagement activities will be most useful so they can direct their limited resources to achieve the best returns from the effort invested – there is never enough time or resources to fully manage every aspect of a stakeholder community. Unfortunately, in most situations a simplistic 2×2 matrix is not sufficient!

The world loves 2×2 matrices – they help make complex issues appear simple.  There are a range of matrices designed for managing project and program stakeholders that achieve this result; unfortunately in most situations simple shifts to dangerously simplistic very quickly.

The problem with the simple 2×2 view of the complex world of a typical stakeholder community is the assumption that everyone falls neatly into one of the four options and everyone categorised as belonging in a quadrant can be managed the same way.  A typical example is the ‘power and interest’ matrix:

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Editor’s note: This series of articles on effective project stakeholder engagement is by Lynda Bourne, PhD, Managing Director of Stakeholder Pty Ltd (Australia) and author of the books Stakeholder Relationship Management and Advising Upwards, both published by Gower (UK). Dr. Bourne is one of the world’s leading authorities on program/project stakeholder relations. See her author profile below.

 

About the Author

 

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Dr. Lynda Bourne

Melbourne, Australia

 

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Dr. Lynda Bourne
is Managing Director of Stakeholder Management Pty Ltd – an Australian based company with partners in South America and Europe. Through this global network she works with organisations to manage change through managing the relationships essential for successful delivery of organisational outcomes.   Lynda was the first graduate of the RMIT University, Doctor of Project Management course, where her research was focused on tools and techniques for more effective stakeholder engagement. She has been recognized in the field of project management through her work on development of project and program management standards. She was also included in PMI’s list of 50 most influential women in PM.

She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) and a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society (ACS). She is a recognized international speaker and seminar leader on the topic of stakeholder management, the Stakeholder Circle® visualization tool, and building credibility and reputation for more effective communication.   She has extensive experience as a Senior Project Manager and Project Director specializing in delivery of information technology and other business-related projects within the telecommunications sector, working as a Senior IT Project Management Consultant with various telecommunications companies in Australia and South East Asia (primarily in Malaysia) including senior roles with Optus and Telstra.

Dr Bourne’s publications include: Stakeholder Relationship Management, now in 2nd edition, published in 2009, Advising Upwards published in 2011, and Making Projects Work, published in 2015. She has also contributed to books on stakeholder engagement, and has published papers in many academic and professional journals and is blogger for PMI’s Voices on Project Management.

Dr. Bourne can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Lynda Bourne, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-lynda-bourne/