What Is Stakeholder Management?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Stakeholder management is a critical aspect of the project management process, which promotes a positive relationship with those supporting your project.

[Featured image] A project manager meets with stakeholders on a video conference call to update them on a project.

Stakeholders are individuals or groups of people that have a vested interest in your project or venture. Stakeholder management is the process of building positive relationships with stakeholders and managing their needs to advance your project effectively.

The success of your project will heavily rely on the relationships you develop with your stakeholders, given their knowledge, resources, or investment is significant. Therefore, it’s essential to have a well-defined process to identify stakeholders, understand their requirements, and effectively manage their expectations.

5 steps of stakeholder management

Follow these five steps of the stakeholder management process to look after your stakeholders' interests and maintain crucial relationships:

1. Identify stakeholders: Conduct a stakeholder analysis to identify project stakeholders, whether internal (owners, investors, and team members) or external (creditors, suppliers, or governing bodies).

2. Prioritize stakeholders: Order stakeholders based on their impact on the project—some will have a greater impact on the project. Maintain relationships with the ones that have the most significant impact, considering the project’s priorities could shift as it’s completed.

3. Understand stakeholder needs and motives: Know what your stakeholders’ needs and motives are to better engage and communicate with them and consequently maintain a positive relationship. Meet and interview each stakeholder, surveys, and focus groups to best understand their requirements and gather feedback.

4. Create an engagement plan: Develop an engagement plan for your stakeholders that details your communication expectations, timelines, and feedback methods. Document this plan and present it to your stakeholders.

5. Implement and monitor progress: Employ your engagement plan, watching its progress, to manage expectations and make adjustments as needed.

Related terms

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Once you’re ready to learn more about stakeholder management, consider completing the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate, which provides you with an overview of how to manage a project, including how to undertake stakeholder management.

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