Skill level: Intermediate
Stakeholder analysis is a tool for clearly defining key stakeholders for a project or other activity, understanding where stakeholders stand, and developing cooperation between the stakeholders and the project team. The main objective is to ensure successful outcomes for the project or the changes to come.
Stakeholders are the people or organizations who can be positively or negatively affected by change or action within the organization. They can also be the ones having a positive or negative impact.
Types of stakeholders include:
- Primary: those who are directly affected, either positively or negatively, by an organization's actions.
- Secondary: those who are indirectly affected by an organization's actions.
Commonly used for assessing the attitudes of stakeholders towards changes or critical actions, stakeholder analysis is frequently used during the preparation phase of a project. It can be done once or on a regular basis to track changes in stakeholder attitudes over time.
The stakeholder analysis is considered a “highly confidential” document containing very sensitive information.
- Provides clear understanding of stakeholders' interests
- Offers mechanisms to influence other stakeholders
- Enables full understanding of potential risks
- Identifies key people to be informed about the project during the execution phase
- Provides awareness of negative stakeholders as well as their adverse effects on the project
How to Use
Step 1. Stakeholder identification: Create a matrix (see table 1) that will be used to identify key stakeholders and their positions. List the level of “influence” on the X axis (top row) and the level of “importance” on the Y axis (first column).
Step 2. List all key stakeholders in the appropriate cells (see table 1).
Step 3. Stakeholder analysis: Create a second matrix (see table 2). List all key stakeholders in the first column. List relevant information regarding them in the top row, using as many columns as needed.
Step 4. Complete the information in the table by conducting interviews or through discussions with the project sponsor or another high level resource.
Step 5. Prepare an action plan to engage the stakeholders who could have a negative impact on the project or could be severely impacted by the actions.
Key stakeholders: People who have significant influence upon or importance within an organization.
Table 1 shows a matrix identifying key stakeholders and their levels of importance or influence. Table 2 shows an example of detailed stakeholder analysis that includes confidential information.
Table 1. Stakeholder identification
Table 2. Stakeholder analysis