Why Stakeholder Analysis is Important

Project stakeholders are individuals, groups, and organizations that may affect or be affected by your projects. It's critical to understand how people inside and outside your organization may impact your projects. In this post, we will explore why stakeholder analysis is important. Furthermore, I'll provide you with two tools for quick assessments.

picture of project stakeholders in a meeting

Why Analyze Project Stakeholders

Some project managers say they don't have enough time to analyze the stakeholders. That's a mistake!

So, why is it important? The short answer – to determine how to best invest your time and energy.

Stakeholders are NOT the same. Their power, interest, influence, expectations, and impact differ greatly. Consequently, it's important to identify the most influential stakeholders.

Once the key stakeholders are determined, it's time to develop a stakeholder engagement plan and influence them at the right times. Why? To navigate stakeholder-related threats. Furthermore, you can develop the most critical relationships. 

Allow me to introduce you to two powerful tools: the stakeholder classification grids and the stakeholder engagement assessment matrix.

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Stakeholder Classification Grids

There are several tools that project managers can use, and the good news is these tools are simple, yet powerful. In light of that, The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition) offers the following stakeholder classification grids:

  • Power/interest grid — rate each stakeholder based on their level of power and interest in the project.
  • Power/influence grid — analyze each stakeholder based on their level of power, influence and active involvement.
  • Influence/impact grid — rate each stakeholder, based on their level of involvement and potential impact on the project objectives.
  • Salience model — categorize the stakeholders on three levels:
    • Power — ability exert their authority
    • Urgency — need for immediate attention
    • Legitimacy — determination of whether the stakeholder’s involvement is appropriate.

Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

Similarly, there is an additional technique called the stakeholder engagement assessment matrix. That's a mouthful, huh? 

Let's see how it works. Take a look at the chart below.

Bill Monroe is currently resistant to the project. We want him to be supportive.

Alison is unaware of the project. What can we do to bring her up to speed and gain her support?

Stakeholder
Unaware
Resistant
Neutral
Supportive
Leading
Bill Monroe
 
C
 
D

 
Customer Support Team
 
 
 
C, D
 
Doc Watson
 
 
C
 
D
Alison Krauss
C
 
 
D
 

C = current engagement. D = desired engagement.

Once this assessment has been completed, it's time to develop plans to engage the unaware, resistant, and neutral stakeholders and influence them toward the desired engagement level.

Keep in the mind, the project manager does not have to do the engagement alone. It's a good idea to involve your sponsor, team members, and the peers who can help achieve the desired outcomes. 

Where to Store Your Stakeholder Information

Project managers should capture the results of your analysis in the stakeholder register. Be careful where you store this sensitive information. Keep it private.


Don’t know what to put in your register or how to create one? Learn how to develop a stakeholder management register.

Stakeholder Register Template

Not sure of where to start with capturing stakeholders? Grab a free stakeholder management register template.

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