The first thing that comes to mind when stakeholders are mentioned is finding out who these are, as their involvement will be crucial for a positive project outcome. A more strategic approach is to see stakeholders as those who can influence the success or failure of your project – be they employees (internal stakeholders) or investors, customers, suppliers, community members, trade associations or government (external stakeholders).
Stakeholder Mapping is the visual process of laying out all the stakeholders of a product, project, or idea on one map. This is an important process as the result and the quality will depend on the knowledge you have of the people involved in the project.
There are five steps to stakeholder mapping:
Identify – Make a list of all parties involved in the project, ie who contributes to it and who is affected by it; and note that they sometimes can be both.
Analyse – Find out the roles and expectations of each of your stakeholders, and those who have the greatest impact on the project, as not everyone has an equal value.
Prioritise – Rank your stakeholders and prioritise them by their requirements and note any potential issues.
Draw your map – Depict the relationships between objectives and stakeholders.
Engage – Communicate regularly with your stakeholders to keep their support.
Throughout the project, the status of the stakeholders may evolve and keeping steps 2 and 3 constantly up to date is crucial so that their level of influence and interest is managed properly.
There are three types of project management tool that can help you to analyse a project stakeholder to determine the actions which are necessary to align their goals with the project. These are:
Power-Interest Matrix - helps you categorise project stakeholders with increasing power and interest in the project.
Stakeholder Analysis Matrix - helps you determine the actions which are necessary to align their goals with the project.
Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix - helps you to document the current and desired engagement levels of your stakeholders, as well as to identify potential gaps in the involvement of stakeholders.
A significant benefit of stakeholder mapping is that, as a visual process, having an at a glance map representing all the people involved in the project, their interest, influence and how they connect, can be very empowering.
While stakeholder mapping is a useful tool, it does not show the stakeholders’ attitude towards the project. Are they for or against it? It is therefore worth noting the process can be quite subjective. To be of benefit, it also needs to be updated regularly, which can be quite time-consuming.
In summary, stakeholder mapping is essential for the successful project outcome, as long as it is kept up to date. It could also be viewed as an excellent risk management tool, as being able to exactly identify your stakeholders’ requirements and keeping them engaged and satisfied will definitively reduce risks.
We, at the OVAC Group, can support you or your organisation in managing projects of all sizes or in performing your stakeholder mapping process, please email us at email@example.com.