How to analyze your stakeholders

What is a stakeholder?

A stakeholder is anyone who works with you in a project, is directly impacted by your project, is indirectly impacted by your project or has influence on your project.


Why do you need a stakeholder analysis?

You need a stakeholder analysis to improve your projects chances of success. If you do not know who are impacted or have influence over your project, you also do not know what they want. If you do not know what your stakeholders want, you will keep running into surprises and roadblocks during your project. Stakeholders usually want to stay in the loop on your progress. If you leave them out the trust in your project may dwindle. It may also be that your project will be scuttled for the next new thing in town. So stakeholder analysis is necessary to:

  • Manage expectations on results, risks and resources/expenditures
  • Build trust
  • Keep priority and focus on your project
  • Keep yourself updated on new developments or requirements from your stakeholders

"In a company, high trust materially improves communication, collaboration, execution, innovation, strategy, engagement, partnering, and relationships with all stakeholders." ~ Stephen Covey

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Who can be your stakeholder?

As you can see from the definition above, just about anybody can be your stakeholder. Since their stake and influence in your project will differ you will need to develop different tactics for each group of stakeholders. You can fund inspiration on who can be your stakeholder in the image below.

possible stakeholders

Can you answer the following questions for your project?

  • Who works with you in this project?
  • Who will work with the results of your project?
  • Who will need to change their way of working because of your project, even if they do not work with the results?
  • Who influences your budget and resources?
  • Which regulatory, oversight or lobby groups do you need to consider?
  • Which customers and other external parties will be impacted by this project?

Now you know who your stakeholders are, you also need to know their impact on your project. There are a lot of ways to map your stakeholders. I like the one outlined in the table below. You score your stakeholders on each of the four dimensions and add up the points. The stakeholders with the most points are the ones you need to manage closely. In my next blog i will get into how to prioritize and manage your stakeholders.

PowerInfluenceNeed/InterestAttitude/Support
High
3 points
High
3 points
High
3 points
Positive
3 points
Medium
2 points
Medium
2 points
Medium
2 points
Negative
2 points
Low
1 point
Low
1 point
Low
1 point
Neutral
1 point
EreadersEreaders

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