Select Page

In project management, one key pillar of success is managing your stakeholders well . Stakeholders are people or parties that may have an interest in your project. Manage them well, and they drive your project to success. Mess up, and things may get harder for you. A stakeholder register helps you to organize your efforts.

Managing your stakeholders can be done properly, with proper documentation and record, so you and your team are always up to date with each of them. However, how do you create one? Are there any good stakeholder register examples out there?

A stakeholder register contains information about the stakeholders of your project. You may see details such as name, location, role, preferred methods of communication, power, impact, and many more. A stakeholder register can be simple or done in full if you manage a major project.

This article looks at stakeholder register, particularly on how you can go ahead and create one. We also discuss how detailed your stakeholder register should be to ensure you get the most out of your effort.

Stakeholder Management Plan and Stakeholder Register Templates

Ad-hoc stakeholder management doesn’t work. You need to plan stakeholder engagement in a strategic way. Otherwise, your project may fail.

These templates will help you manage your project efficiently.

Get Access Now

What Is A Stakeholder Register?

A stakeholder register is a document that details the stakeholders of your project. They typically contain information about the stakeholders, their sentiments, and your possible plans to engage with them. The stakeholder register is a confidential document to be handled with care.

To execute stakeholder management, you start by identifying who your stakeholders are. If you have not done this step, we detailed the process here. Also, feel free to use our stakeholder identification cheat sheet too.

Once you have identified your stakeholders, the next natural step is to organize them and start going into details about each of them. This process is put into a document commonly referred to as a stakeholder register.

A stakeholder register is commonly done on a spreadsheet, although you can easily create a register using any system you prefer. If you believe writing them on a whiteboard makes sense, go ahead with what suits you. 

When filling in your stakeholder register, you commonly spend time writing information about people. This information can range from: 

  • Their contact details,
  • How they can impact your project, 
  • Their sentiment and interest in your project,
  • How do you plan to nudge them in the right direction, 
  • And any other relevant details. 

Once you see the things you will add to a stakeholder register, you may sense how sensitive this document is. You may probably start thinking about how you need to protect this document. 

This is because you do not want the document to leak and these stakeholders to actually see your ‘plan’ to manipulate them and to get them to do what you want. 

It may be best to have two versions of a stakeholder register, one that only the closest people to the project can view and another more ‘public’ version, perhaps viewable by project team members. Your stakeholders should not see this document.

Stakeholder Register Example

Consider using a spreadsheet, columns for details, and rows for stakeholders when writing a stakeholder register. You can create a simpler stakeholder register containing only contact details, impact, and impact description, or add in all to create a full stakeholder register.

When selecting a stakeholder register template, start by deciding how detailed you want it to be. Your decision may depend on several factors, such as project scale and time.

Theoretically speaking, if your project is not large, it should have fewer stakeholders. This means you may be able to create a simpler stakeholder register. 

If you manage a smaller project, you may have less resources in hand. This means you may not have the time to really sit down and get a full stakeholder register done. 

Once you have decided, start by opening up a new spreadsheet file. Reserve the columns for details and the rows for the stakeholders’ names. 

For example, let’s assume you manage a project where you organize testers to try out a new web application.

You have identified several people, such as Steve and Mario, as important stakeholders in your project. Steve is the CEO of the company or chief advisor of the project, and Mario is the lead QA of the app, tasked to run the test process.

Let’s look at some following examples of how you can create a simple, advanced, or full stakeholder register using the example of Steve and Mario.

Simple

For a simple stakeholder register, you only need these details in your columns:

  • Full name
  • Role (On The Project)
  • Email/Contact
  • Impact
  • Impact Description
Details Steve Mario
Full Name Steve Morgensen Mario Meir (meɪˈɪər) (may-EER)
Role Chief advisor Quality Assurance Lead
Contact steve.mor@company.com mario.mei@company.com
Impact 10 6
Impact Description – Steve is the final decision-maker on the project.
– Steve can override the decisions made by other internal stakeholders.
– Mario works with the lead developer to ensure the testing session really tests what is required
– Mario builds the test checklist and also runs the testing session with testers.

Advanced

For a more advanced stakeholder register, you can use these details instead in your columns:

  • Full name
  • Role
  • Email
  • Authority
  • Interest
  • Expectations
Details Steve Mario
Full Name Steve Morgensen Mario Meir (meɪˈɪər) (may-EER)
Role Chief advisor Quality assurance lead
Email/Contact steve.mor@company.com mario.mei@company.com
Authority – Steve is the ultimate authority, since he is the CEO.
– Steve can override decisions made by anybody in the company.
– Steve may be able to smooth out issues with external stakeholders.
– Mario does not have much authority. He is quite low under the organizational chain.
– His work needs to be approved by the lead developer and Steve.
Interest – Steve may not have much interest in the project, since it is not directly under his responsibility.
– He should be keen to know the project’s progress.
– Mario is very interested in the project, as he is one of the main QAs of this web app.
– The results from this testing session would help him and his team to improve the app’s chances of success.
Expectations – Steve hopes that the success of this testing session will help the web app to be better and bring in better sales and profit for the company.
– This should help Steve with the company’s upcoming series C fundraising.
– Mario hopes the test session will validate his idea and prove his ability to develop an efficient test strategy for the project. 
– This can help Mario to push for promotion to become a test manager, as he is competing with Sanjay, who is temporarily acting as the company’s test manager.

Notice how the advanced stakeholder register makes you think deeper about the motivations and concerns of the stakeholders . You have to ‘switch hats’ and use some empathy to understand the project from the stakeholder’s side. 

Doing this helps you align their interest with yours, and you can then ensure they will work towards making your project a success.

Full

A full stakeholder register goes all out, with no holds barred. A full register may be a little bit of a stretch to do yourself, so consider getting your team members to chip in whenever appropriate. 

You will have a rather full column, as you need to include all these in your stakeholder register:

  • Full name
  • Role
  • Email/Contact
  • Authority
  • Interest
  • Involvement
  • Impact
  • Communication Preferences
  • Expectations
  • Engagement Strategy
Details Steve Mario
Full Name Steve Morgensen Mario Meir (meɪˈɪər) (may-EER)
Role Chief advisor Quality assurance lead
Email/Contact steve.mor@company.com mario.mei@company.com
Authority – Steve is the ultimate authority since he is the CEO.
– Steve can override decisions made by anybody in the company.
– Steve may be able to smooth out issues with external stakeholders.
– Mario does not have much authority. He is quite low under the organizational chain.
– His work needs to be approved by the lead developer and Steve.
Interest – Steve may not be interested in the project since it is not directly under his responsibility.
– He should be keen to know the project’s progress.
– Mario is very interested in the project, as he is one of the main QAs of this web app.
– The results from this testing session would help him and his team to improve the app’s chances of success.
Involvement – Steve should be able to put in 5-10 minutes every few days to be briefed on the project’s progress.
– Steve may be keen to speak to the testers before the session starts.
– Mario should work full-time in his role, finalizing the test strategy with the other tester. 
– Mario will also be conducting the test session. 
Impact 10 6
Communication Preferences Email Slack, email, phone, and face-to-face meeting
Expectations – Steve hopes that the success of this testing session will help the web app to be better and bring in better sales and profit for the company.
– This should help Steve with the company’s upcoming series C fundraising.
– Mario hopes the test session will validate his idea and prove his ability to develop an efficient test strategy for the project. 
– This can help Mario to push for promotion to become a test manager, as he is competing with Sanjay, who is temporarily acting as the company’s test manager.
Engagement Strategy – Steve should probably receive a bi-weekly email about the project’s progress on Tuesday and Friday.
– Steve should be invited to speak to the testers before the session starts.
– Mario needs to be added to the project’s Slack group, as he needs to work closely with other team members.
– Mario needs to update me about his work progress every 2 days.
– I need to provide leadership mentoring to Mario to help him win the promotion. 

Suppose you compare this full stakeholder register to the advanced one. In that case, you will notice you need to apply more empathy, as you need to think into situations such as how involved these stakeholders can be with your project. 

On top of that, you also are required to turn your understanding of your stakeholders into an action plan. You also need to strategize how to get them involved with your project at the right level.

Why Is This Stakeholder Register Better Than PMBOK’s?

PMBOK’s stakeholder register advises you to fill the column using generic descriptors such as low, medium, and high, which may not work well in real life. Instead, you should fill them with narratives, as they provide a more accurate description of your stakeholders’ sentiments and details.

If you are in project management, chances are you have read about the Project Management Book Of Knowledge (PMBOK) from PMI. You might have also noticed that the way the stakeholder register here is written differently from PMBOK’s.

Our reason to be different? We looked at PMBOK’s recommendation that you fill the columns using generic descriptors such as ‘Low,’ ‘Medium,’ or ‘High,’ and we think that is not good enough. 

We also think that may not work well in real situations, as they are not detailed enough. If you think about it, any Tom, Dick, and Harry could put ‘Low,’ ‘Medium,’ or ‘High’ labels into the columns. It does not need much thinking.

This is why I recommend you write using a narrative style. This way, you write down what you think and feel about the stakeholder. You also need to think deeper to develop narrative descriptors, which help you better understand your stakeholders.

What Details Do You Add Into A Stakeholder Register?

When writing a stakeholder register, add in the contact details, role, and preferred method of communication of the stakeholder. Next, add in power, impact, involvement, expectation, and how you intend to engage with each stakeholder.

Detail Notes
Name – Full name if possible
– Pronunciation guide if needed
– Full name and acronym if it is an organization
Department – Department your stakeholder belongs to
– Their role in the department
Email Their email and any other contacts you may have
Location Add in if the stakeholder is in a different city or country
Role On Project – Describe in the best way you can
– Project documentation may detail the role better.
Communication Preference – Email is the default
– Check if the stakeholder prefers a face-to-face meeting or phone calls
Authority – How much authority does this stakeholder have over your project?
– Organization leaders, investors may have a lot of power.
Impact – The larger the impact, the more easily this stakeholder can move your project forward
– Organization leaders, investors, shareholders, and regulators usually have a large impact.
– Expressed on a scale of 1-10
Impact Description Describe how the stakeholder can impact your project
Interest The more the stakeholders may benefit or lose out from your project, the higher their interest is usually.
Involvement – How much time and effort is the stakeholder willing to invest in your project?
– It can be expressed as ‘full-time,’ ‘weekends,’ ‘4 hours a week’, etc.
– Note down why the stakeholder has such an involvement level.
Expectation What does the stakeholder want to achieve by working with your project? 
Engagement Strategy How do you plan to communicate, engage and interact with this stakeholder?

Now that you have seen all the examples of a stakeholder register. Now let’s discuss what you should add into your own stakeholder register.

Do understand that a well-crafted stakeholder register should become a one-stop center for you. You should be able to quickly review, refresh, and stay updated with the progress of your stakeholder engagement work. 

When creating your stakeholder register, apply empathy, and do your best to ‘switch hats.’ This helps you to look at your project from the stakeholders’ side and helps you to make better guesses and predictions about them.

You can also talk to the other team members for their insights and ideas to help you plan your stakeholder register. Lastly, you can ask them yourself, although you may want to use less direct words.

Consider having the below in your stakeholder register:

Full Name

You can usually find this piece of information in the email signature. Or table nameplates. You can also try to look up their name using their work email and search on Google or LinkedIn.

If the name is in a foreign language, consider putting in a phonetic transcript or audio translation to help you pronounce the name right. It may also help to identify their preferred name and surname. You may get the info by asking directly or checking out their email signatures.

Department

Add the department or the organization that the stakeholder belongs to. You can also add their official job title with that organization. 

Consider putting in the full name and acronym of the organization. Consider adding that to the stakeholder register if the organization is named in a foreign language.

Location

Consider adding location details if the stakeholder is in a different city or country. You can also add their office location to help mail documents, onsite meeting, etc.

Consider adding information about time zones, such as time differences and time zone names. This may help in setting up meetings and deadlines for tasks. 

Role On The Project

List down the stakeholder’s responsibility for your project here, not the job title of the stakeholder. Many project managers make this mistake, so be careful here.  

You may be able to look at their task descriptions properly from official documents about the project, such as meeting minutes or briefing books. These may help you write down the role. 

Preferred Method Of Communication

Not everyone is comfortable using email . Some may prefer more ‘old-school’ methods, such as having a breakfast meeting. Some also prefer to use instant messaging or video calls.

Start with email, explore and see which works best with the stakeholder. You may also consider asking the stakeholder directly.

Authority

This reflects this stakeholder’s authority to dictate the project’s decisions and progress. Authority usually comes from the job title, expert knowledge, and reputation. Investors and shareholders can also have strong authority. 

Consider also writing down how this stakeholder can impose its authority. For example, the VC may have the authority to raise or remove funds from your project. In many cases, the higher the authority, the more important this stakeholder is for your project.

Impact

Impact looks at the ability of the stakeholder to move the project forward in a positive manner. Pay attention here, as many project managers also assume that impact can be negative.

Leaders of the organization, funding providers, and regulators tend to have a higher impact. The impact level can be expressed using a scale of 1-10.

Interest

Involvement determines how eager and keen the stakeholder is to be involved with your project. Typically, the more affected the stakeholder is by your project, the higher the interest level.

When thinking about interest, think about both positive and negative results. This is because stakeholders negatively affected by your project will also be very interested in being involved with your project but to derail it instead.

Involvement 

Involvement determines how much time and effort the stakeholders are willing to invest in your project. When thinking about involvement, do not simply assume that the higher the interest, expectations, and impact, the more involved they will be. 

You may express involvement in time, such as ‘4 hours a week’ or part-time basis. If you see the need, also write down why they are at their current level of commitment.

Expectations

Expectations look at the goals the stakeholder wants to achieve by being involved with your project. Your ability to ‘switch hats’ and apply empathy will be tested here, since you need to think from their side. 

A common approach is using the acronym WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) Give that a try and see what you can come up with. You can also discuss this with your team members.

Engagement Strategy

Here, you detail how you intend to move the stakeholder toward what you want them to do. If the stakeholder is important, you may need to dedicate more time and effort to them. 

If you believe a stakeholder may cause friction with the team, you may want to think of a strategy to limit communication. For example, keeping updates on weekly emails and not inviting the person to join any face-to-face meetings.

Why Should You Write Down A Stakeholder Register?

Writing down a stakeholder register lets you have a clear view of your stakeholder management process. You can easily see where to start engaging, track the engagement process with the stakeholders, and make educated guesses about the stakeholders’ sentiment, mindset, and impact. 

If you can sense it, you should see how sensitive a stakeholder register is as a document. You may question whether you should even put such things on a document. 

As sensitive as they are, writing down a stakeholder register does come with many benefits:

You Get A Bird’s Eye View 

One of the best reasons to have a stakeholder register is organization. You list the stakeholders, look at their details, and immediately see their sentiments, situations, and how you plan to engage them.

This means you get a bird’s eye view of your stakeholders. Instead of stressing about recalling who is who and what your plan was, write them down so you can quickly refresh yourself. 

This way, you free up all that brain space to tackle more important matters about your project.

You Can Strategize Better

When creating a stakeholder register, you must think deeply and hard about each stakeholder. You need to consider their WIIFM (What’s in it for me?), sentiment, if they feel threatened by your project, and many more. 

You may notice more issues as you ‘change hats’ and think about your project from their position. You can think even further and see if you can manage these issues.

If these issues, concerns, or sentiments may be negative to your project, you can strategize how to neutralize, pre-empt, or control the damage. If they are positive, you can strategize how to leverage them to push your project forward.

This means you can strategize easier and better when you have a stakeholder register. 

You Avoid Misidentifying Stakeholders

When identifying stakeholders, many project managers make a common mistake. They misidentify their stakeholders. They either miss out on a stakeholder completely, mistakenly think of a minor stakeholder as a major one, or vice versa.

Misidentifying stakeholders can be detrimental to your project, as they may suddenly appear in the middle of your work and disrupt it. 

Suppose two of the programmers in your project are working part-time with you after work, and they work full-time with another project manager. 

Imagine how unhappy this project manager may be when he discovers that you borrowed his programmers without permission. Imagine further how he may march to your CEO’s office and cause you a world of pain. 

All because you forgot to include him in your stakeholder register. Because of this, you forgot to check with him.

Creating a stakeholder register can help you reconfirm your initial thoughts and may be able to help you identify the actual shareholders that you should take care of as your project progresses.

You Can Easily Keep Track Of Things

Another key reason to document a stakeholder register is to help you keep track of things. Being a project manager is not a walk in the park. There are so many moving parts to harmonize, conflicts to smoothen, and problems to be solved.

As a result, you may have forgotten about the last phone conversation with Steve from accounting about some procedural mistake on your spending report for your project. 

Imagine when he asks you out for lunch and asks if you have talked to your finance controller about the problem, and you have completely forgotten about it. 

You can solve this issue with a stakeholder register. You can easily create an engagement log about your last conversation with Steve and write, “ask Gina to check with Steve about the spending report SOP.”

When you go meet Steve for lunch, you will be able to quickly review your stakeholder register and stay up to date with what is happening between you and him. 

Multiply this effect to the 20 or so stakeholders you are managing. Can you see how powerful a stakeholder register is now?

Recapping The Process

When producing a stakeholder register, start by thinking about the stakeholders and how detailed you want to be. Smaller projects may be fine with a simple register, but if the project involves many stakeholders, consider getting a full stakeholder register written out instead.

Once you have decided, create a spreadsheet, and reserve the columns for the details of your stakeholders. Use the rows for your stakeholders’ names. When filling in the descriptors for your stakeholders, use a narrative style, as it makes you think deeper and produces more accurate work. Avoid using generic labels.

It may also help to apply empathy or the ability to ‘switch hats’ and think from your stakeholder’s position. You can also ask some of these stakeholders directly, although you want to be less direct. 

Execute those well, and you may understand your stakeholders better. You are now well-armed to channel your stakeholders’ energy and drive toward your project and turn it into a raving success!

The post Stakeholder Register Examples (small and big projects) appeared first on IT Project Managers .

Click For Original Article