The Visual Agile Coach Stakeholder Engagement Mirror doesn’t manage stakeholders.
Stakeholder Engagement would be a better label.
Why Create a Stakeholder Engagement Mirror?
Typically Stakeholder Management follows a path of first identifying stakeholders, planning how to manage them and then engagement of Stakeholders - an ongoing activity.
The Visual Agile Coach Stakeholder Engagement Mirror focuses on proactively engaging, developing and improving stakeholder relationships – going beyond the ‘tick box’ to cultivating a mutually beneficial outcome-based relationship.
Where the needs of the project / team are mirrored – and aligned - to the those of your stakeholders.
When to Create a Stakeholder Engagement Mirror?
- Stakeholders have been identified and categorised and you need a plan to engage them
- Incorporate within PI planning, Stakeholder Engagement can be activity in its own right
- Traditional - RACI based – Stakeholder Management is not working, you’re just going through the motions or your stakeholder’s disengaged (or worse: disruptive)
- A project or team has reached a new stage or phase and stakeholder relationships need a reset or reinvigorating
How to Create a Stakeholder Engagement Mirror (with Drawify)
- Starting with your Visual Agile Coach Stakeholder Radar (see link in comments) select the stakeholders you wish to engage with, you can prioritise individuals or start with Personas or business function groupings, start at the centre ring and work outwards or vice versa.
- Consider (or brainstorm with your team) where each Stakeholder is right now with regards your project or team AND where you want or need them to be (future state) to support you best. Are they enthusiastic and supportive? Or are they disengaged, apathetic or worse disruptive and blocking?
Give some thought to ‘Why’ they are behaving like they are, what is driving or motivating them? Seek to understand and empathise.
- Stakeholder Engagement is 2-way, after you’ve considered what your stakeholders want and need from you, don’t forget to consider what you need or want from your stakeholders, the more you can align or mirror the higher the chances of success. Maybe its resource, technical input or an introduction or support at a meeting.
- Time to join the current state and desired future state together with an engagement plan. Lots of small steps can be as effective as 1 giant leap. List the tools and techniques you have to engage with, from the casual coffee chat to the Steering Committee and everything in between – considering what will work best for each stakeholder and how it takes you closer to the future state.
- And review and repeat: Stakeholder Engagement is an ongoing activity and the type of engagement activities, relationships, needs and wants will evolve over the course of the project or relationship – so keep the Stakeholder Engagement Mirror fresh and live.
You’re ready to look in the mirror and move from Stakeholder Management to Stakeholder Engagement.
Visual Agile Coaching Tips
- Create Personas for your stakeholders to bring them to life or as a visual shortcut, they can be generic i.e. Senior Manager, Customer, Sales-person or personalised – which could be a unique way to build a relationship.
- Yours and your stakeholder’s needs can be visually represented in the mirror, it won’t always be an exact match, it doesn’t have to be a perfect mirror image as their maybe differences that your images can convey.
- Visualise the Stakeholder Engagement activities: coffee chats or water cooler moments look quite different to Steering Committees or PI Plannings, a visual can convey the context and subtlety of the interaction type.
- Show the start of the engagement journey (the current state) to future state, try using different facial expressions to illustrate the emotional and personal aspect of stakeholder relationships.
Stakeholder Management Tips
- Use Personas. @Matt Randall introduced me to personas in the context of Change Management where he created well researched personas for different roles within business functions. When delivering change we considered the impact on each Persona – representative of a Stakeholder Group – and how best to engage.
Individual stakeholders will always have individual needs but Personas can be used as an efficient and objective short cut and as a starting point from which to drill down into any individual requirements.
- Not one and done: Stakeholder Engagement isn’t solved by a single email or meeting. It is a process over time. The Stakeholder Engagement Mirror helps plan that journey, recognising that as ‘shit happens’ you may need to go back to the start or reverse a few steps to get a Stakeholder relationship back on track.
- Not 1 size fits all: Stakeholder relationships are unique, from the senior individual to the scrum team (i.e. group of stakeholders) their needs and therefore the approach to engagement and management will differ. If your individual Stakeholder engagement plans are all identical then consider how to tailor and flex (without over engineering, 80:20 is probably a good starting point)
- Don’t over complicate Stakeholder Management, in simple terms it is about bringing the right people together to achieve the best outcome for your project, assignment, team or mission.
- The Stakeholder Engagement Mirror works best with empathy. It’s worth asking yourself why even the most scary, disengaged, blocking stakeholder behaves like they do. Maybe their aggression is fuelled by fear, or disengagement is born from no one taking the time to explain a problem or motivating them with a solution.
What is Stakeholder Management and who or what are Stakeholders?
First, a quick recap on Stakeholder Management: the relationship management of individuals or groups who can impact your work (project, product, team) or who through your work you seek to impact.
Stakeholders can be anyone both internal to your organisation (team members, managers, business partners) or external (customers, suppliers, regulators etc.)
Stakeholder Management Checklist
- All known Stakeholders identified and mapped
- All Stakeholders current position considered versus desired position
- A Stakeholder Management plan starting to form