The Importance of stakeholder mapping

You may all be familiar with statistics on project failure but for those that aren’t it often comes down to poor stakeholder management and / or communication. Stakeholder mapping is a simple three step process that helps address both of these areas.

Identify your stakeholders

A stakeholder can be anyone who can affect the project or who is affected by the project and common examples include; users, suppliers, customers, staff. Here are a few identification techniques; asking your project sponsor, running workshops, brain-storming, reviewing organisation charts and looking at stakeholders from previous projects.

Analyse your stakeholders

Once you have a list of your stakeholders you should analyse each stakeholder (or group of stakeholders) to determine

(i)              their level of interest in the project (are they for/against)

and

(ii)            their level of influence/power over the project.
 

There are numerous ways of recording interest and influence but the most common and simplest way is to use a 2x2 matrix with low and high influence on one axis and low and high interest on the other. You can then insert the stakeholder names into the appropriate part of the matrix.

Stakeholder management

The simple table described above helps project managers build their communication plan, i.e. method of communication (meetings, phone calls), frequency (hourly, daily, weekly, quarterly), level of detail (high level, minutiae) etc.

If a stakeholder is high interest and high influence you would want to communicate more regularly with this person than you would with someone who was low interest and low power. Equally, as project manager, you may want a particular stakeholders help to influence other less interested stakeholders. It is important therefore to have an intimate knowledge of all your stakeholders.

If there's one lesson to be learned:

The landscape is forever changing and stakeholder’s power and interest can change. It is vital your stakeholder map is reviewed and updated regularly.

About the Author

Chris heads up our Guernsey office and has been delivering successful change there for Greenlight for over 3 years. All client reports speak of Chris in the highest regard. A real people person, Chris is always looking to take on new challenges.

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