Despite the great influence on project success, stakeholder management has not yet established itself as a natural part of project management.
The topic of stakeholder management often appears in a negative context, for example when protests are raised against planned projects. This is a case of poor stakeholder management, where those affected are not sufficiently informed and involved in the project. This seems surprising, because stakeholder analysis and management are among the basic tasks of every project. But who should be analyzed and managed at all? According to ICB 3.0, the International Competence Guidelines of IPMA (International Project Management Association), stakeholders are persons or groups of persons who are affected (positively and negatively) or interested in the implementation and/or success of the project.
A joint project of the GPM specialist group Stakeholder Management and the study program Management and Technology of the West Coast University of Applied Sciences now presents a study on the type and extent of implementation of stakeholder management in German companies and project groups. The results of the study could be summarized pointedly in this way: Although stakeholder management is considered by the study participants to be very relevant for the success of a project (for about 90% of the managing directors, almost 70% of the department heads and two thirds of the project managers it is an important part of their projects), it is treated in daily project work rather stepmotherly - ad hoc, intuitively and incidentally. There is neither a concept in place nor are resources or budgets allocated for stakeholder management. It is worth taking a look at the individual study results.
The advantages of stakeholder management are according to
study participants a better understanding of business-related issues, improved risk management and more innovation and increased business performance through new ways of thinking. In contrast to this, there are increasing stakeholder demands due to involvement in the project, disproportionate expenditure - both financial and human - for good stakeholder management, and the risk of losing focus on the core field of business activity.
Despite these concerns, 70% of the participants stated that stakeholder management was part of their projects. This usually takes place in the form of regular status meetings (34%), or through involvement in risk management (29.5%), environment management (27.7%) and project marketing (25.4%). Concretely implemented stakeholder management activities include stakeholder identification, analysis of project documents, assessment of stakeholders, regular communication with them and monitoring of the project environment.
Nevertheless, stakeholder management is only applied in one in four projects if necessary. In over 40% of the projects, however, it is applied several times or even regularly.