TLDR: MOPs professionals interact with many different stakeholders across projects. Stakeholder maps are useful to help new hires learn how the responsibilities of different people in the organization relate to their work. For each project, stakeholder maps visualize how people around the organization exert influence over their workload or are impacted by their tasks. Encourage new hires to prioritize building relationships with the key people they’ll be working with on a regular basis, whose interests are closely tied to their tasks and whose responsibilities and decisions significantly influence their workload.
If you’ve just hired a new MOPs team member, you’re probably thinking about the best ways to ease them into how things work in your organization. The first days and weeks in a job are all about learning new information, building relationships, and adapting to new processes and workplace dynamics. Newcomers naturally want to jump in and show the positive impact they can make, but in a fast-paced discipline like MOPs, it’s easy to get overwhelmed without some help to see the forest from the trees.
Among the resources you can use to onboard new team members, stakeholder maps are particularly useful for newcomers to identify their most important working relationships, learn the responsibilities of different people, and understand how they’ll interact when collaborating on projects.
In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to explain stakeholder maps to newcomers in your MOPs team. Having this conversation will help your new colleagues to prioritize the most useful information to learn while settling into a new role.
MOPs professionals are often spread across many different responsibilities, interacting with teams around the organization. Stakeholder maps visualize all the relevant stakeholders and categorize them based on their influence over and interest in each project. Project stakeholders will fall under one of four quadrants of interest and influence. Here’s how your new colleague can interpret them:
- Low interest, low influence: Keep a minimal level of contact with throughout a project.
- High interest, low influence: Inform with status updates as your work progresses. The project outcome impacts these people significantly, even if they don’t exert a great deal of influence over its direction.
- Low interest, high influence: Anticipate and meet their needs as you work together.
- High interest, high influence: Collaborate and communicate closely. Understand how their responsibilities impact the project and what they need to keep on track.
Through this framing, stakeholder maps spell out the dependencies and accountabilities for each project; insight that helps newcomers learn what the people around them need and how each stakeholder’s deliverables contribute to projects. In large organizations in particular, it’s difficult for new hires to interpret the influencers, decision-makers, and advocates to know—a stakeholder map trims down the org chart and onboarding docs to the key people with whom to build trust and rapport. In a nutshell, it’s a practical guide to relationship management and the interaction of responsibilities on each project.
NAVIGATING THE MAP
As new hires in MOPs start working on projects, from campaigns and reporting to migrations and implementations, they’ll need to know who to approach with queries, who can approve decisions to keep projects moving, and who can offer support and information. When these things are unclear, miscommunications arise and tasks fall short of deadlines, bloating the project scope.
The value of a stakeholder map, then, is to make transparent who does what on a day to day basis, who owns which responsibilities around the business, and the stakeholders people can expect to coordinate and collaborate with in various scenarios and across projects. By making this information accessible, stakeholder maps encourage people around the company to communicate fluidly and mitigate risks to project success.
For new hires in particular, having a resource to handily digest this information will help them quickly settle in and start making an impact. Your new colleague wants to know the most important people to meet and processes to learn first—encourage them to focus on the key people they’ll be working with on a regular basis, whose interests are closely tied to their tasks and whose responsibilities and decisions significantly influence their workload. Once new hires know their immediate surroundings, you can gradually build out and discuss more tertiary people and processes, but the most impactful and interested people on the map are the most helpful to prioritize.
When you’re new to a role or workplace, it can be daunting to make sense of all the new processes and relationships. Stakeholder maps are a great source of guidance for any new MOPs hire, helping them navigate through the nuances and structures of your organization and build strong relationships around the workplace with the people most relevant to their work. By using stakeholder maps, your new colleague can settle in with confidence and start contributing to success.
Get in touch for more guidance with onboarding new hires or project managing for success.