The ‘other’ Stakeholders

I led an introductory workshop on project management on Friday for a wonderful group of members of the Museums’ Association.  They work at museums and galleries in the UK – some in the sort of prestigious institutions that people plan to visit when they come to Britain from all over the world.

Others work in the institutions people drift into on a wet afternoon and discover a hidden gem.  How many times have you come out of a small museum or gallery and said “Wow! More people should know about this.” I’ve said it loads of times and done nothing; so I shall make it right at the bottom of this blog.

Well well, what a surprise

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has run project management training that the section on managing stakeholders went down well.  Two things I have found consistently:

  1. people attending their first project management training always find stakeholder management tools interesting – many find them revelatory
  2. people in the public and voluntary sectors particularly find this stuff relevant

… this was a surprise

One of the participants was astonished at the thought that we might analyse the wants and needs of people who attend museums.  In this person’s institutions, “stakeholder” was nearly synonymous with “important people”.

One step beyond

I go further.  Since most museums and galleries in the UK are funded, at least in part, by public money, perhaps one of their most important stakeholder groups are the people who don’t attend the museum or gallery.

After all, what is the point of stakeholder management if you don’t use it to figure out how to engage the people that nobody else has thought to engage.  I know it means more work, but among this group are potential advocates with new ideas and a real passion that will certainly remain untapped if you don’t go looking for them.

The “so what?”

Who are you ignoring totally?  Who does not appear to have a stake, only because nobody has tried to give them one?  What can this group do to enhance your project?  Go find them; go engage with them; go learn from them.

“Wow! More people should know about …

I haven’t chosen these because they are the best in the UK – though  they might be.  They are just four places I’ve really enjoyed visiting – many times in three cases.


2 thoughts on “The ‘other’ Stakeholders

  1. PM Hut

    Interesting post Mike,

    I’ve known quite a few people (even managers) mistakenly thinking that the word stakeholder is only synonymous with executives that have “a stake” in the project. Of course, the real definition of a stakeholder is “anyone with an interest in the project”.

    PS: I did publish an introduction to stakeholder analysis a long while ago. Hope you’ll get the chance to read it.

    1. Mike Clayton Post author

      Thank you for your comments. I got a chance to look at your series of articles and they deserve a wide viewing. I found this contents page helpful:

      Your master process is very similar to mine. I amalgamate some of your steps into broader stages and, more particularly, I also have an explicit planning step in my process. I’m a project manager, so I would, wouldn’t I?


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