Stakeholder Analyses

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What they are

First, let’s define stakeholder. “Any individual, group, or institution who has a vested interest in the resources of the project area and/or who potentially will be affected by project activities and have something to gain or lose if conditions change or stay the same” (“Cross-Cutting Tool: Stakeholder Analysis,” World Wildlife Fund).  A stakeholder analysis assists in identifying those individuals, groups or institutions, determining their level of influence and interest in a project, and developing communication strategies to effectively engage and inform them. It is something that should be done very early in any project, but can also be helpful to do if a project happens to change direction. Below are the benefits to conducting stakeholder analyses:

  • Enables you to identify everyone with a concern or interest who needs to be involved.
  • Ensures that stakeholders know what you are doing and can actively support the project when necessary.
  • Allows you to avoid barriers by engaging the right people.
  • Helps you to avoid conflict and associated delays caused by inadvertently failing to involve key people.
  • Makes it more likely that stakeholders will support your project, which will improve the quality of the project.

How to do them

  • With the team or committee working on the project, write down as many stakeholders as you can think of. Be inclusive; this is about who may potentially be impacted, have influence or be interested.  To help, ask the following questions:
    • Who is or may be impacted by this project, changing the process, et cetera?
    • Who does or may have influence over this project, process, et cetera?
    • Who does or may have an interest in the project, process, et cetera having a successful (or unsuccessful) outcome?
  • Next, you need to put these stakeholders into categories.
    • High influence/Low interest: Keep satisfied
      • Not likely interested in the change, but can be influenced by someone or groups that are unhappy.
      • They are influencers (and can be influenced); it is important to keep these groups/individuals up to speed.
      • Do not over-communicate; you can risk boredom if too much information is pushed at them.
    • High influence/High interest: Manage closely
      • Are impacted by the change and can make it happen (or not make it happen).
      • Need to be engaged and supportive of the change.
      • Need to be kept informed.
      • Must fully engage and fully satisfy.
    • Low influence/High interest: Keep informed
      • Are impacted by changes so it is important to keep them informed and engaged.
      • May be subject matter experts, so their input can be valuable.
      • If they are not happy, they can derail by employing resistance to change techniques.
      • This group can defend the project.
    • Low influence/Low interest: Monitor
      • May be impacted, but the impact is minimal.
      • Do not over-communicate, but do communicate; their status may change (e.g., from low influence/low interest to low influence/high interest).
  • Finally, develop communication plans that allow you to appropriately inform all stakeholders of project progress. Also, provide ways to let them communicate back to you.