In this post I show you how to make a stakeholder map.
So, let’s get started. Let’s make a list. My way.
Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational. – Hugh Mackay
How to Make a Stakeholder Map
Bring together the project team and think about all the people who you need for project success. This will include the people you need to deliver the project, those who are affected by the change, and those on the sidelines observing your every move!
Now, write down each stakeholder on a Post-it note and stick these on a wall or flip chart. Limit this exercise to about fifteen minutes.
Next, transfer the Post-it notes to one of three flip charts:
- Customer or client organisation – those affected by the project or change.
- Project organisation – what you are responsible for.
- Suppliers and contractors – internal and external groups tasked to deliver parts of the project or give some sort of advice.
On each chart arrange each stakeholder group based on similar need. For example, sponsor, end-user, core team, key contact and so on.
Next rank each stakeholder according to their importance. Those absolutely critical to progress and success and those who are not.
Simply underline each stakeholder in the first group.
Finally, decide if each stakeholder is primarily interested in the outcome of the project or what happens during the project.
Draw a circle around those that are outcome oriented and an asterisk for those interested in project delivery.
Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods. – W. H. Auden
Now you know how to make a stakeholder map.
If needed, make a full written copy of the flip charts, and use this to decide how you engage with your stakeholders and establish their criteria for success.
Use the stakeholder map to identify:
- relationships — coalitions — between stakeholders,
- conflicts of interest,
- the interests of stakeholders relative to the problem the project seeks to address, and
- the viability of the project or change in non-financial terms.
If you don’t like this approach — which is based loosely on Eddie Obeng’s stakeholder map — that’s fine.
As an alternative use one of the more traditional approaches listed below. But make sure you use it to help build relationships with your stakeholders.
How do you identify your stakeholders?
What tips can you share?
Creative Commons image courtesy Khalid R.