Every change (so every project) requires understanding the individuals and groups that will participate or are affected – directly or indirectly.
Stakeholder analysis involves identifying the stakeholders and analyzing their various characteristics. These characteristics can include:
- Level of authority within the organization and the domain of change
- Attitudes toward or interest in the change
- Attitudes towards the process
- Level of decision-making authority
The goal of stakeholder analysis is to choose the best collaboration and communication approaches and to appropriately plan for stakeholder risks.
There are a variety of mechanisms for doing this and then mapping it out.
Start by brainstorming a list of the stakeholders by answering these questions:
- Who will be impacted?
- Who will be responsible or accountable
- Who will have decision authority
- Who can support
- Who can obstruct
- Who has been involved in something similar in the past?
- High influence/High Impact: these are key players and effort should be focused here to engage this group regularly
- High influence/Low impact: these stakeholders have needs that should be met so engage and consult with them while also attempting to increase their level of interest.
- Low influence/High impact: these stakeholders are supporters and potential goodwill ambassadors. Engage the group for their input and show interests in their needs.
- Low influence/Low impact: the stakeholders can be kept informed using general communications. Additional targeted engagement may move them into the goodwill ambassador quadrant.
A RACI is another popular way to look at stakeholders.
Once stakeholders are identified is is important to define how communication and engagement will achieved. There is usually no one sized fits all approach and it is important to meet the needs of each stakeholder group to ensure their interest and involvement is maintained. Some considerations include:
- timing and frequency
- delivery methods (in-person or virtual)
- preferences of the stakeholders
- geographic considerations or impact
Document this in a communication plan, including:
- what needs to be communicated
- what is the appropriate delivery method
- who the appropriate audience is
- when communication should occur
- frequency of communication
- level of detail appropriate for the communication and stakeholder
- level of formality of communication
What are your favorite methods and tools for stakeholder analysis? What successes and challenges have you had?