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The quickest way to Happy Stakeholders - the pleasure and displeasure list

by | reviewed 23/03/2023
From Herding Chickens: Innovative Techniques for Project Management

The Pleasure and Displeasure list is not a formally recognised Stakeholder Analysis tool, but it is a great way to assess your internal stakeholders! It is fun to complete, takes 5 minutes and will dramatically improve how you engage with your stakeholders.

In Herding Chickens: Innovative Techniques for Project Management, Dan Bradbury and David Garrett suggest the pleasure and displeasure list in the chapter entitled Surviving the Corporate Jungle.

Creating the list educates the project team to be ‘more sensitive to the nuance and subtlety of office politics, and using it ensures ‘a better outcome, or set of outcomes for your project’ (Bradbury and Garrett, p119-120).

Sounds like the sort of outcome you need from a Stakeholder Analysis Tool!

Using the Pleasure and Displeasure list for Stakeholder Analysis

Get your team together and find a large sheet of paper. On the left hand side of the paper list out the people who can affect the project outcome. Add two columns one entitled Pleasure and the other Displeasure.

Work out what will please each person and what is sure to annoy them. Bradbury and Garret point out that these must be legitimate causes of pleasure - flowers, football, wining and dining aren’t the goal. Think about what each stakeholder wants from the project and for their business. Think return on investment and business benefits.

Stakeholder Analysis - pleasure and displeasure list
Download the templates from the book - Herding Chickens: Innovative Techniques for Project Management

The Pleasure and Displeasure list is not described as a Stakeholder Analysis tool by its creators, but as you can probably see it can be used as a quick method of analyzing stakeholders and is particularly suited for analyzing stakeholders within your project or organization. It is easy to create and doesn’t require any expertise in a theory. As such I believe it is more practical than the more complex Stakeholder Analysis Models like Stakeholder Salience.

The advantage of this tool is that it nudges the team to think about areas will have some emotional impact on stakeholders. Not personal, but professional impact. Consideration of these areas will reduce the likelihood of extreme stakeholder reactions e.g. negativity caused by damage to professional principles, goals or objectives personally important to a stakeholder. By using this tool you should see a reduction in ‘heated scenes’, difficult meetings and irrational responses.

TIP: because you will be considering emotional impact I suggest that this is not a tool for sharing with clients or publishing within your business!

Keeping Stakeholder Happy - Resources

Stakeholder pleasure and displeasure list - Bibliography

Bradbury, D. and Garrett, D (2005) Herding Chickens: Innovative Techniques for Project Management, San Francisco: Harbor Light Press.