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stakeholder analysis and mapping

1: Ask questions about stakeholders early in the process

As a project manager (PM), it’s your job to ask questions; the goal is to ensure all stakeholders that may have been selected and included on an initial Stakeholder Register are relevant to the specific project. Don’t wait until the middle of a project, or worse, nearing the end to voice concerns. Take the initiative to do additional due diligence, and raise concerns and options with project sponsors and executives before leaping in both feet first—sponsors and executives are more likely to appreciate the extra effort versus withholding this information.

2: Allow sufficient time for stakeholder analysis and mapping

Take the necessary time to analyze and weigh the anticipated contributions of each stakeholder, as well as their impact on various aspects of the project and the final expected results. Think about the risks if the stakeholder is unable to contribute to the required level. Perhaps the stakeholder can deliver in terms of their knowledge and skill level but can’t commit fully due to other obligations outside of their control. In a situation like this, consideration may need to be given to an alternate candidate.

In conjunction with stakeholder analysis, stakeholder mapping can be done to draw a clear picture of which are key stakeholders, where each stakeholder fits in the overall picture, their precise role in the project, the impact to the project, the benefits and risks, and the likely results.

3: Develop and/or utilize the best methodology for the specific project or situation

Various stakeholder analysis and mapping methodologies have been developed over the years that focus on specific criteria. Some are based on:

  • the ability/power to influence others;
  • the value within hierarchies and key areas or performance;
  • the project’s requirements and the relative significance of each stakeholder to others in the project or company as a whole; and
  • the potential for a stakeholder to be, or be perceived to be, a threat or an asset.