Stakeholder Engagement Plan

To create long-lasting stakeholder relationships, you must adopt a concentrated strategy. This is where a Stakeholder Engagement Plan management strategy comes in. In this blog, let's explore what a stakeholder engagement plan is, its benefits, and a step-by-step guide on how to create one.

Visual PMP Academy
January 18, 2024

For any business to thrive, building and establishing strong relationships with stakeholders is fundamental. Building good rapport with suppliers can lead to improved terms of quality, pricing, and reliability. Suppliers provide the commodities and services required to generate goods or services. Consumer satisfaction is also vital for generating positive word-of-mouth and customer loyalty, as customers are the lifeblood of every firm. Likewise, cooperation with authorities, such as government agencies, can bring about better opportunities and fewer legal issues. Authorities, such as government agencies, play a crucial role in regulating and assisting enterprises.

In general, making a wise investment in genuine stakeholder connections can be advantageous in the long run. Establishing positive and authentic relationships with suppliers, consumers, and authorities is essential for business success. Those connections are even more crucial during a crisis. Since It is safe to say our success is largely due to our stakeholder relations, effectively managing stakeholders during project development is vital. Therefore, to create long-lasting stakeholder relationships, you must adopt a concentrated strategy. This is where we can come up with a Stakeholder Engagement Plan management strategy.

Overview of Stakeholder Engagement Plan

A section of the project management plan is the stakeholder engagement plan. It outlines the techniques and procedures needed to encourage stakeholders' constructive participation in decision-making and execution.

To evaluate and make modifications to the extent of stakeholder participation in require dactivities, the stakeholder engagement plan is utilized to determine the requirements for stakeholder communication as well as the engagement level.

At the outset of the project life cycle,an emcient plan that takes into account the various information demands of the project's stakeholders is established. It is then routinely evaluated and revised in response to developments in the stakeholder community. After establishing the initial group of stakeholders at the beginning phase of the stakeholder process, the first version of the stakeholder engagement plan is then developed.


Creating Your Stakeholder Engagement Plan: A Step- by-Step Guide

To create your stakeholder engagement plan, you need to follow the following steps:

1.  Identify Your Stakeholders

The team working on the project will have the capacity to determine each stakeholder's project focus by routinely identifying the stakeholders’ relevant information. Relevant information that you can gather and evaluate about the stakeholders are their interests, involvement, interdependencies, influence, and potential impact on project success. This can be done by developing a Stakeholder Register.

Stakeholder Register Development

As an operational record, a project stakeholder registration needs to be updated often throughout the project's progress. The moment you start considering your project, you have to start generating your registration.

  • First, establish the stakeholder register for your project by taking a look at the draft version that is created when the project charter has been developed.
  • After that, jot down any other names that come to mind.
  • Ask those you share your project with, who they believe could be interested in or influenced by it.
  • Next, choose a select few of the key stakeholders and have a brainstorming session with them.
  • Add and remove names from your stakeholder register until you run out of people to include as a method of deduction.

Degrees of Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholders' degreeof engagement can be categorized as follows:

  • Unaware. They are individuals who don't know about the project or its possibleeffects. They may simplybe uninformed or unfamiliar with the project.Simply put, they are not aware of the existence of theproject.
  • Resistant. These people are quite conscious of the projectand its possible effects, but resist any modifications and revisionsbrought about by the work or project's results. These stakeholders may not be in favor of the project'sefforts or results.They may often disagree or not support any endeavorto further the project outcomes.
  • Neutral. These peopleare knowledgeable about the projectyet not directly hostile to it. They may be informed about the project, but theyshow no support or are unhelpful. Supportive. These individuals are cognizant of the project'spossible effects and in favor ofthe effort and results. They simplyagree on the objectives of the project, yet are not fully engaged in it.
  • Leading. They are fully attentiveto the project's potential outcomesand actively involved in making sure it succeeds. They not only show support,but they also engagethemselves in the development, modifications, giving suggestions, and furthering of the project. 

Influence of Stakeholders

Ranking the requirements of stakeholders as a priority is necessary, the same way stakeholders rank themselves. Those stakeholders whose contributions have the most impact with a considerable level of interest are frequently given priority on the list. You may refer to these levels of contributions when considering your stakeholders’ influence:

  • Very high: A very high-influence stakeholder has considerable authority and is significantly powerful in making important project choices. They have presented significant expertise and experience in making decisions with successful outcomes.
  • High: High-influence stakeholders have the ability to motivate others to act and perform with accountability. They may command or inspire others to be actively engaged in their performance. At times, they lead by example or guide others to perform accordingly.
  • Medium: A medium-influence stakeholder frequently engages in the decision-making process. They are crucial in brainstorming, assessing situations, and offering recommendations that result in an actionable final decision.
  • Low: A low-influence stakeholder may address concerns and offer ideas on decisions. However, you might not always take their suggestions into account. They may not have gathered enough experience, or their ideas may not be feasible for the project’s outcomes.
  • Very low: A very low-influence stakeholder does not have any say or authority in any decision-making process, and although they have very little impact, they can participate in the project whenever they choose.

Distinction of Stakeholder Groups

You can easily determine what information you're looking for, exchange ideas with every stakeholder, and know how to involve them in project decisions by classifying stakeholders into the following three groups:

  • Drivers: Drivers are people who have authority in establishing, defining objectives, forming, and making decisions for your project. You are working on this project on their behalf.
  • Supporters: If you are a driver, you may have supporters. They assist you in completing your project. Those who approve or supply the resources for your project, in addition to those who actively work on it, are considered your supporters.
  • Observers: Observers have no active participation or involvement in your project and have no voice in it. However, eventually, your initiative can have an impact on them. They are individuals who simply see your project's developments and outcomes but neither support nor drive.


2.  Map Stakeholder’s Interest Grid: an Illustration of their Influence

Now that you have the means to identify your stakeholders, it is time to map a Stakeholder’s Interest Grid that will allow you to categorize them based on their relationship with your project. One technique for categorizing stakeholders, by applying several strategies, is stakeholder mapping and representation. Stakeholder categorization helps the team establish rapport with the chosen project stakeholders.

The Stakeholder’s Interest Grid

Typical strategies consist of a power-interest grid, power-influence grid, or impact-influence grid.

All of these strategies simplify the categorizing of stakeholders based on their degree of authority (power), interest (engagement), or influence (impact). On the whole, it illustrates their ability to modify project design or implementation.To establish the efficiency of your grid, it is recommended that you classify your stakeholders with the following tools: primary groups, stakeholder cube, salience model, and directions of influence

Stakeholder Primary Groups

The four primary groups of stakeholders are high-interest/high-influence, high-interest/low-influence, high-influence/low-interest, and low-influence/low-interest.

  • High-interest/high-influence. These stakeholders have the most impact on the project's success and are primarily decision-makers. They are involved in your "leading" or "supporting" category. These “leading” stakeholders must guide, lead, and most importantly, support their team members as they carry out their assigned tasks.
  • High-interest/low-influence. Even though they don't have as much power, these stakeholders most likely fall under the "supporting" or "leading" category, as well. Nevertheless, they should be informed of all important communications. Likewise, depending on the circumstance they are encouraged to participate in different ways.
  • High-influence/low-interest. These stakeholders may fall into your "resistant" or "neutral" categories, and maintaining your alignment with them will require attention. Despite their lack of interest, these stakeholders must be kept happy since they delegate authority. This kind of stakeholder should also be handled carefully. This can be done by understanding their needs, preferences, and communication styles, and by demonstrating competence, credibility, and respect. Ensuring these actions is given importance because, if they are dissatisfied, they might utilize their influence in a counterproductive way for the project.
  • Low-influence/low-interest. These stakeholders fall into the category of "unaware." This demographic is not very interested in your product, its success, or both. These individuals also don't affect you, your group, your product, or your service. For this set of stakeholders, monitoring them is the appropriate stakeholder management technique.

Stakeholder Cube

The grid components of the Stakeholder Cube are merged into a three-dimensional representation of a stakeholder's power, interest, and attitude. This multidimensional model enhances the understanding of the stakeholder community as a multifaceted entity and contributes to the creation of communication plans.

Salience Model

The Salience Model helps to identify “Who Truly Matters”, or What Really Counts”. It describes stakeholder classes according to evaluations of their legitimacy, urgency, and power. It clarifies the degree to which stakeholders are visible, vocal, and important to a project. When dealing with large, complex communities of stakeholders or when there are complex networks of relationships among the community's stakeholders, the salience model might help you to refocus on what’s important.

Directions of Influence

Group your stakeholders based on how much of an impact they have on your project's work or the project team. The following categories apply to stakeholders:Upward. These are the managing sponsors: Senior Management and Steering Committee. They maintain organizational commitment.

  • Downward. They are the team members or staff. They are responsible for working to deliver the success of the project.
  • Outward. They are the end-users or consumers of the project. The project is created for their benefit. They can also be suppliers, government, vendors, customers, or the public.
  • Sideward. They are peers and communities of practice of the project manager. They can either be a source or competition for resources.

3. Develop a Project Management Communication Plan

Communicating effectively is one of the most evident means between you and your stakeholders to understand the objectives of and accomplish your project. However, communication can be a challenge since each stakeholder has different attitudes, mindsets, or opinions. Fortunately, there are ways how to effectively communicate with them based on their degree of interest and influence. Stakeholder mapping offers you some guidance on how to converse with stakeholders. Now that you are familiar with these grid points, your next step is to create a communication management plan.Planning for communications is typically done very early in a project, with stakeholder identification and project management plan preparation.

Create an efficient communications management plan, taking into account the various information needs of the project's stakeholders. Every time a new project phase begins, or as the stakeholder community changes, you should evaluate your communications management plan often and adjust as needed.Follow these steps to create a Project Management Communication Plan:


By analyzing communication requirements, you can identify the information needs of the project stakeholders. To define your communication requirements and the needs of your stakeholders, combine an evaluation of the information's value with the type and format of data.


Nowadays, in the constantly improving world of technology, There is a wide range of common methods that you can use to exchange information and collaborate. These communication means include conversations, meetings, written documents, databases, social media, webinars, websites, and virtual meeting rooms. Due to the necessity for information and its urgency, there is an increasing demand for technological availability and dependability, user-friendliness, project environment, and information sensitivity and confidentiality. These are some of the factors that can influence the choice and usage of communication technology.


In addition to the most basic linear form of the communication process (sender to receiver), communication models can depict the more interactive form. This interactive form encompasses the additional element of feedback (sender, receiver, and feedback). This more complex model shows the intricacy of any communication involving the human-to-human elements of the sender(s) or receiver(s).


You may use a variety of communication techniques to share with your stakeholders. These techniques fall within the broad categories of push, pull, and interactive communication.


Assess your chosen communication styles by determining your optimum format, topic, means of communication, and scheduled communication activities. This assessment is frequently used with unsupportive stakeholders. It may come after a stakeholder engagement assessment to find gaps in stakeholder involvement that call for more specialized communication activities and communication tools.


Increasing your political awareness aids you in recognizing formal and informal power dynamics, relationships, and the willingness of your stakeholders to work within them.


When you are culturally aware, you are able to understand and adapt to the project's communication approach in light of cultural diversity among individuals, groups, and organizations.

4. Manage Revisions and Changes in the Stakeholder Engagement Plan

Regular updates are made to the stakeholder engagement plan to account for changes in the stakeholder community. The following are typical trigger scenarios that call for plan updates:

  • when the project is about to enter a new phase;
  • whenever modifications are made to the industry or organizational structure;
  • when new individuals or institutions join the stakeholder community, existing stakeholders are no longer included, or the significance of a certain stakeholder to the project's success changes;
  • and when evaluating stakeholder engagement strategies is necessary because of outcomes from previous project process areas (i.e. problem, risk, or change of management).

Drivers: Their Impact on Stakeholder Engagement

It is crucial to keep drivers involved in your project from start to finish because they establish the outputs your project should produce, and once it is completed, they assess its success.

Their interest and your evaluation of the project's viability may affect whether you should move forward with it.

 Let's examine how to engage drivers in each of your project's four phases:

  1. Starting the project. Talk to and identify as many drivers as you can.
  2. Organizing and Preparing. Speak with drivers to make sure their requirements and expectations are incorporated into your project plan.
  3. Performing the Task. To help team members better understand the project's objectives and to emphasize the project's significance, introduce drivers to the project team. Let the drivers discuss with your team their expectations and interests.
  4. Finishing the Project. Ask the drivers to evaluate the project outcomes to see if their requirements and expectations were satisfied.

Advantages of Stakeholder Engagement Plan

The following advantages of the stakeholder engagement plan are possible:

  • Frequently engaging with the stakeholder community early in the project life cycle reduces risk, fosters trust, and supports modifications, all of which lower project costs and raise the project's chances of success.
  • Having a clear direction and guidance can help the team in gaining support from stakeholders.
  • Understanding the priorities of the stakeholders aids the team in preventing dangerous decisions that could have an impact on the project.
  • Having a clear understanding of the stakeholders’ priorities, the team can prevent risky decisions from being made by stakeholders that could affect the project.
  • Determining the feasibility of the stakeholder's expectations can be easily done by the team.
  • Updating the engagement plan can provide stakeholders with information about the anticipated results and timelines of the project.
  • Providing details can assist the team in determining and evaluating any special demands the stakeholders may have.
  • Being transparent in the engagement plan can guarantee that the strategy takes into account the expectations and demands of the stakeholders.
  • Maintaining the enthusiasm and interest of the stakeholders can be achieved.

The Five Types of Power in Stakeholders

The majority of specialists identify five types of stakeholder power: informational, political, legal, shareholder, and economic.

Stakeholder Engagement Plan vs. Stakeholder Register

Stakeholder Engagement Plan - A tool used in the process of creating the stakeholder engagement plan is the stakeholder register.

Stakeholder Register - The list of project stakeholders, together with extra classification data and other details, can be found in the stakeholder register. 

Stakeholder Engagement Plan vs. Communication Management Plan

The Communication Management Plan is part of the project management plan. It outlines the planning, organizing, carrying out, and monitoring of project communications. The requirements for stakeholder communication are included in this plan.

Project Stakeholder Management processes provide information to and are received by the stakeholder management communications strategies and their execution plans.

The Stakeholder Engagement Plan is developed by using the communication management plan.



A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge PMBOK 6th Edition

Stakeholder Relationship Management, A Maturity Model for Organizational Implementation, Lynda Bourne

Project Management, All-In-One, Dummies, 7 Books in one, Stanely E. Portny

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