How to Develop a Stakeholder Engagement Plan – Steps & Templates

Learn how to develop a Stakeholder Engagement Plan that works. This post offers guidance by a PMP certified project manager. The post discusses the steps and templates you need to begin effective planning today.

What is a Stakeholder Engagement Plan?

The Stakeholder Engagement Plan is a subsidiary management plan. It is a part of the Project Management Plan. It identifies the actions that will be undertaken to involve the project stakeholders in the project. 

What is the Importance of Stakeholder Engagement?

Stakeholder engagement reduces resistance to the project and increases support for the project. Often, stakeholder engagement is essential to project success.

What are Effective Stakeholder Management Processes?

The four commonly recognized stakeholder management processes are:

  1. Identify stakeholders,
  2. plan stakeholder engagement,
  3. management stakeholder engagement, and
  4. monitor stakeholder engagement.

How to Develop a Stakeholder Engagement Plan

Stakeholder Engagement Plans are developed by implementing good practices in project management. The steps are listed here and described below.

  1. Secure a well-considered Stakeholder Engagement Plan template
  2. Identify roles and responsibilities, as they pertain to stakeholder engagement.
  3. Identify stakeholders
  4. Plan stakeholder engagement
  5. Manage stakeholder engagement
  6. Monitor stakeholder engagement
  7. Identify assumptions, issues, and risks as they pertain to stakeholder engagement
  8. Obtain Plan approval
Effective Stakeholder Engagement Plans are developed by implementing widely recognized good practices.

Step 1. Secure a Well-Considered Stakeholder Engagement Plan Template.

If you intend to develop an effective Stakeholder Engagement Plan, begin by selecting the right tool for job. Secure a well-considered template. Since this Plan is one of several subsidiary management plans within the Project Management Plan, secure a template that aligns with your Project Management Plan template and your other subsidiary management plan templates. By working with templates that are designed to fit within your Project Management Plan, you are better positioned to avoid gaps in planning.

(At the end of this post, you will find links to a collection of well-considered Project Management templates and a Stakeholder Engagement Plan template.)

Well-considered project management templates may help you avoid gaps in planning.

Step 2. Identify Roles and Define Responsibilities

Your template should provide for identifying the roles and defining the responsibilities of those who will perform the project work, as it relates to stakeholder engagement. As you begin planning, remember to involve others. Project team members, other project stakeholders, and the project sponsor may have additional insight to share which will foster buy-in for the project.  

Involve others when you develop the Stakeholder Engagement Plan.

Step 3. Identify Stakeholders

The first process for planning stakeholder management includes identifying the project stakeholders. A well-considered Stakeholder Engagement Plan template will include space for documenting the stakeholder identification activities that will be performed throughout the project life cycle. Further, it will provide for assigning persons responsible for performing the identification activities and space to specify the performance dates.

It’s a good practice to maintain a current list of all project stakeholders. We prefer to keep this list as a Stakeholder Register. As a stand-alone document, the Stakeholder Register is easy to share with others. As such, it helps us safeguard sensitive information related to stakeholder analysis.

Your template should also provide for performing stakeholder analysis. For example, our Stakeholder Engagement Plan template (linked to at the bottom of this post) provides for naming the stakeholder, categorizing the stakeholder, identifying the stakeholder needs, assessing the stakeholder’s level of influence, assessing the stakeholder’s ability to impact project resources, and assigning a total score.

Armed with the stakeholder analysis, you are now positioned to plan the stakeholder level of engagement. Once you understand the desired levels of engagement, you can assign stakeholders to groups. For example, if it is determined that numerous stakeholders need to be kept informed only, they might all be included in a group whose only communication need includes receiving a status report.

It’s a good practice to maintain a current list of all project stakeholders.

Step 4. Plan Stakeholder Engagement

After performing stakeholder analysis, you will have information you need to plan engagement. Not all engagement activities will be performed for all stakeholders. In this section of your template, you will design activities to meet varying stakeholder needs and levels of engagement. 

Step 5. Manage Stakeholder Engagement

Your Stakeholder Engagement Plan template should also include space for managing the engagement activities. Plan what activities will be conducted with each of the stakeholder groups. 

Also, identify what type of communications should be distributed and/or posted to each stakeholder group. Remember to transfer this information to your Communications Management Plan.

Step 6. Monitor Stakeholder Engagement

Identify the person(s) responsible for monitoring stakeholder engagement and identify when the results of stakeholder engagement will be analyzed. 

Your template should also include space for documenting each analysis.

Step 7. Identify Assumptions, Issues, and Risks as They Pertain to Stakeholder Engagement.

Often, assumptions, issues, and risks present themselves while planning. If so, document them in this Plan and later transfer them to the appropriate location for further management. 

Step 8. Obtain Plan Approval.

Typically, the Project Sponsor formally approves the Stakeholder Engagement Plan. Our template includes a section to obtain the Approver’s signature. 

Caution – If your Plan is not approved, you may not have authority to begin work.

What is the Best Stakeholder Engagement Plan Template?

The best Stakeholder Engagement Plan template is one that aligns with good practices in project management. It’s one that facilitates the right amount of engagement to support project success.

 “The Practitioner’s Book of Project Management Templates” is an e-book that will guide you in implementing good practices. It contains 86 editable templates that are designed to work together toward development of a comprehensive Project Management Plan. In it, you will find the Stakeholder Engagement Plan template. It also includes the Stakeholder Register template mentioned above.

Start Planning Now

Ready to start planning? Download our e-book and get started. It includes the Stakeholder Engagement Plan template, numerous other subsidiary management plan templates, project document templates, and a Project Management Plan template. 

Need the Schedule Management Plan template only. You can find it here, too.