What is stakeholder management?

Stakeholder management is a critical aspect of technical program management. It involves effectively connecting with and addressing the needs of different stakeholders who have a vested interest in the program. Stakeholders can include executives, customers, team members, and other parties who are impacted by the program or have a role to play in its success.

Effective stakeholder management builds trust and confidence in the program team and its capabilities.

You should focus on building relationships rather than just creating transactional relational experience with your stakeholders.

In this lesson, we will explore the role of stakeholder management in the broader technical program management and discuss strategies for effectively managing stakeholders.

Stakeholders by degree

The most basic lens to consider stakeholders is proximity to you. We first went over this in "Program Initiation" when you needed to assemble your core program team. Let's review some of that information:

The 1st-degree stakeholders are those who will be primary contributors throughout the duration of the program. This would include the executive sponsor, the primary engineering team (focus on partnering with the engineering manager or technical lead), a primary product manager, and perhaps a domain expert like a lawyer if necessary. This is the group you should focus on assembling during the initiation phase.

The 2nd-degree stakeholders are those who will be involved intermittently. They must consistently be informed but will only contribute as needed. This might include designers early in the process, cyber security for code and architectural review, customers, teams who are tangentially impacted but are not core to the program, or leaders of any of these organizations. This is the group you should begin identifying in the initiation phase, but you don't necessarily need to assemble everyone yet.

Lastly, 3rd-degree stakeholders and up are those who merely need to be informed. They have no immediate contributions. This might include the TPgM organization, a partner organization, or other interested leaders. You can identify this group ad-hoc at any time.

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