Stakeholder Analysis step

Stakeholder Analysis | Definition and best method

Analyzing your Stakeholders is crucial to the success of your business or project. This step by step guide shows the best way to analyze stakeholders - by influence (or power) and interest.

What is Stakeholder Analysis?

Stakeholder Analysis is a systematic way to analyze stakeholders by their power and interest. High power, high interest stakeholders are Key Players. Low power and low interest stakeholders are least important.

How to conduct a Stakeholder Analysis - with a free template

Often the process of identifying stakeholders will result in a long list of individuals and groups. After listing all of the Stakeholders for a large building project for a University I found that I had identified nearly 20,000 Stakeholders. However, once I analyzed the list I found that a significant proportion were made up of clearly identifiable groups of people with similar interests. The snap shot of my stakeholder analysis is shown below. It shows the stakeholder groups and their interest areas mapped onto a matrix.
Completing an interest matrix will help you develop a communication plan that is aligned to each stakeholder's focus and concerns.

Once you have mapped the interests of your Stakeholders you need to prioritize them in order of importance. This step will drive your stakeholder engagement strategy. Different methodologies suggest different ways of analyzing stakeholders some complex and some very simple. A common approach is to map the interest and power or influence of each stakeholder group on a quadrant (Bryson 1995: 71 -5).

This stakeholder analysis uses a Power/Interest grid. The OGC suggest three columns and rows with interest/influence either high, medium and low (see Managing Successful Programmes). Other variations on this quadrant include power, impact, support and attitude.
You can complete your stakeholder analysis by drawing the quadrant on a flip chart or using a template. Click here for blank stakeholder analysis template in Microsoft Word. Alternatively you can use stakeholder analysis software.
Once you have mapped your Stakeholders you can focus your efforts on the highest priority groups while providing sufficient information to keep the less powerful groups happy. The table below shows an example engagement strategy based on the interest/influence stakeholder map. More detail on Stakeholder Engagement.
Stakeholder analysis
Power versus interest grid adapted from Eden and Ackermann (1998: 121-5, 344-6).
This video tutorial on how to complete a stakeholder analysis using GroupMap gives some more detail and may help in preparing your organization for a stakeholder analysis session.
The power/interest model is very flexible. You can use it to review Stakeholders in any area of your life or for any project at home or at work. For example see Stakeholder Analysis for your career.
Identifying Key Players is crucial if your project is to succeed. They have a high political interest and are powerful enough to either stop work completely or to move mountains to make your project a success. Continuing our guide to Stakeholder Analysis here are some tips to on recognizing the key players on your project.

Below is another example of a Stakeholder Analysis template created using a mind mapping tool. The first four branches organize Stakeholders into the impact and influence groupings, and Stakeholders are then mapped by adding branches to each group.

Using a mind map is a great way of analyzing stakeholders and many mind mapping tools have collaboration options which allow multiple people to work on an analysis.
The mind map below was created using

Stakeholder Analysis Mind map template

Stakeholder Analysis Mind Map
This image is a screenshot of the Stakeholder Analysis Mind map template included with the Stakeholder Management ebook.

Adding influence to the Stakeholder Analysis

Adding influence lines to the Power and Interest matrix lends a subtlety and depth to your analysis by revealing the importance of Stakeholders within each box in the matrix. They also reveal lines of communication between Stakeholders predicting the path potential issues will follow as they flow along influence lines to become an important concern for a key player.
This technique is based on Eden and Ackermann's method (1998:  349-50).

As a group review the matrix and think about who influences who. Draw lines between Stakeholders to illustrate the influences between them, the lines can be in two directions, but you should try to identify the strongest direction of the influence.

An example of a completed analysis is shown below.
using influence lines in stakeholder analysis

I suggest illustrating the stronger influence lines by using wider or darker lines. Once the lines are complete you will have clear indication of who are the most influential or central stakeholders.

The next page takes the stakeholder analysis techniques we have discussed and puts them together using a real example. Putting it all together - stakeholder analysis example.

Stakeholder Analysis resources

FREE stakeholder analysis power/interest template

Basic Stakeholder Analysis Method

BPM Stakeholder Analysis

Career Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder Analysis Pleasure and Displeasure List

Key stakeholders - how to identify key business stakeholders"

Stakeholder mind map

Stakeholder Salience

All stakeholder map templates

Stakeholder Analysis bibliography and further reading

Bryson, J. (1995) Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations (rev. edn), San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass. Latest edition Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement (Bryson on Strategic Planning).
Eden, C. and Ackermann, F. (1998) Making Strategy: The Journey of Strategic Management, London: Sage Publications.
OGC, Managing successful programmes (Office of Government Commerce), London: TSO, 2007 pg. 51. Latest edition Managing successful programmes
Obeng, E (1995), All Change!: The Project Leader's Secret Handbook, (Financial Times Series), Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.
Turner, R (2008). Gower Handbook of Project Management , Gower. Latest edition Gower Handbook of Project Management.

Guide to Stakeholder Management

- Next step - stakeholder planning