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June 30, 2020

Stakeholder Analysis | Templates to Analyse and Communicate Stakeholders Effectively

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder analysis is an integral part of project management as it helps you secure the support you need to successfully manage your project.
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Stakeholder Analysis Template, Stakeholder Analysis
Stakeholder Analysis Template

Drafting an effective Stakeholder Analysis Template:

The ideal stakeholder analysis template begins by identifying the individuals, groups, and various parties who have a stake in your project and then rank those stakeholders based on their relationship with the project. The information you collect at this stage will, in turn, assist you in outlining an effective communications plan.

At the end of the day, stakeholders hold significant power and can support or hinder your project in various ways, whether it be through the decision to back your project financially or not; or the ability to significantly influence public opinion in favor of or against your project. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can simply focus on the positive stakeholders and ignore those which may present a challenge for you. Successfully managing your project requires you to direct your energy into both sets of stakeholders.

Stakeholder analysis needs to take place before a project commences. Rather than simply identifying each organization that holds a stake in your project, you can go one step further and identify each individual within the various organizations so that you can target your communications more effectively. It may also be worthwhile to separate your stakeholders into various groups as each stakeholder will have different interests and priorities and, ultimately, differing opinions.

Stakeholder Matrix

There are 3 types of stakeholder matrices -
  • Stakeholder Power-Interest Matrix (AKA Power Interest Grid)
  • Stakeholder Analysis Matrix
  • Stakeholder Engagement matrix

Power Interest Grid

power interest grid, Stakeholder Power-Interest Matrix, Stakeholder Analysis
Stakeholder Analysis

When conducting a stakeholder analysis, there are two key variables that you will need to take note of power and interest. In this context, power is defined as the stakeholder’s propensity to propel, stop, or change the project at will. Interest is defined by looking at the overlap between the stakeholder and the project’s goals. By understanding their interests, you can better understand your project's anticipated impact should need not be met (in other words, their expectations).

To effectively draw up a stakeholder power-interest matrix, you will need to plot each stakeholder in the matrix based on their ability to impact the project and their level of interest. You may find some stakeholders are equal in these regards. You may also come to realize that the levels of power and interest can grow and wane over time, depending on each party. The stakeholder you perceive as having the most influence today may change tomorrow.

A stakeholder with strong influence and a high amount of interest is heavily invested in your project. If you gain their support early, you may be able to secure more resources, whether financial or otherwise. Likewise, a stakeholder who has low power and equally low levels of interest does not need as much management over the course of your project. You may even come across what is known as a “fence-sitter”; a stakeholder who sits in the middle and only makes a decision when it becomes clear which side is going to succeed.

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix

A stakeholder analysis matrix is a crucial project management mechanism to determine which actions are required to align the stakeholder’s goals with those of the project. At this point, you will need to identify the varying degrees of importance of each stakeholder and what would be required to manage them.

Correctly understanding your stakeholders is of paramount importance. You will need to ascertain what it is that has attracted the stakeholders to your particular project. You will also want to understand if they are for, against, or neutral towards your project.

Stakeholder Engagement Matrix

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stakeholder matrix
Stakeholder Engagement matrix

Managing Your Stakeholders:

To manage your stakeholders, you will need to follow four simple rules: (a) keep high power but low-interest stakeholders satisfied; (b) apply minimal effort to stakeholders with little power or interest (c) engage stakeholders with high levels of power and interest closely and (d) keep stakeholders informed as much as possible, particularly those with low levels of power but high levels of interest in your project.

A stakeholder may have different types of interests in your project, and they need not be financial. Other types of interest can include political opinions, ownership, moral and ethical values, or even social groups who are either positively or adversely affected by your project's goals. It is up to you to determine if someone you perceived as actually wielding a high level of influence over your project has that ability in reality, as this may not be the case.

Stakeholder Communication Plan: What do I need to include?

Stakeholder Communication Plan
Stakeholder Communication Plan

There are many reasons you would want to engage your stakeholders, including but not limited to motivation, productivity, avoiding ambiguity, and increased support from the relevant contributors. According to a list published by Microsoft, almost every reason for project failure can be pinned on someone neglecting to communicate correctly, promptly, or not at all.

A project manager should carefully outline the approach they intend to use to communicate with their stakeholders through a stakeholder communication plan. As already explained, a key component of drafting an effective stakeholder communication plan is to identify and understand your audience early on. You need to understand what drives them to be involved or contribute to a particular project.

Start by obtaining detailed feedback from your stakeholders. Interview and arrange consultations with the stakeholders you have identified to ensure the strategy is correct. However, your stakeholder communication plan should also allow for ways to keep the stakeholder engaged once your project has begun, right through to the end. Consider meeting them in person through regular consultations and meetings and providing timely updates with opportunities for them to provide constant feedback.

Being clear with your stakeholders about what success looks like is another way to increase your communication effectively. Some stakeholders may only view success in terms of how it relates to their area of expertise but may miss out on the overall big picture.

Stakeholder Strategy and Register Template

A stakeholder register helps to capture details on the stakeholders' interests and expectations from the project to help understand their communication requirements.

Check out the here for how to create a stakeholder register template.

Presenting Techno-PM’s Stakeholder Fool-Proof Communication Plan

Techno-PM understands how difficult it can be to compile a stakeholder communication plan and maintain them over time while strengthening relationships with your key stakeholders.
To learn more about our stakeholder management plan templates and what we can do to assist you on your journey to project management success, visit our website and contact us today.

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