Stakeholders

… a core concept used in Policy Analysis and Process and Atlas101

Concept description

Stakeholdermap.com (reference below) defines a stakeholder as “anybody who can affect or is affected by an organisation, strategy or project” and notes that they “can be internal or external and they can be at senior or junior levels.”

It goes on to say:

“Stakeholders are crucial to the success of your project. Neglect them and they will actively work against you. Manage them well and they will actively promote you and your project. The first step in stakeholder mapping is to identify your stakeholders. Get your project team together and list everybody that you can think of who is, or will be affected by the project.”

Identifying stakeholders

Stakeholdermap.com lists seven tools and techniques for identifying stakeholders:

Brainstorming is a great way to identify stakeholders. Ask someone to be the scribe and capture every name, organisation or type of stakeholder you can think of. Alternatively you could give everybody a pad of sticky notes and ask them to write as many stakeholders as they can think of using one note per stakeholder. After 10 – 15 minutes put up the sticky notes on the wall or on flipchart paper. Read more on how to use brainstorming.

Mind mapping is also a useful way of unlocking your creativity and helping the ideas to flow. Your scribe can draw a mind map on a whiteboard or flipchart or you can use ‘mind-mapping’ software. See an example stakeholder mindmap for a software implementation project. There are many online and desktop providers of mindmapping software, offering free and paid options. A web search for ‘mindmapping software’ will find plenty of suggestions. We use mindmeister.com.

Stakeholder lists. Generic lists are a good starting point to identify potential stakeholders. This stakeholder list suggests 105 stakeholders and you are welcome to use it. It is a generic list so it doesn’t include many specialist or industry specific job titles, that said we hope it will be a useful to kick off your stakeholder mapping! For industry specific stakeholder lists see BPM stakeholders, big data stakeholders, construction stakeholders, ecommerce stakeholders, IT stakeholders, ITIL stakeholders and government stakeholders.

Previous projects. Search documentation from previous projects and talk to project teams to identify stakeholders likely to be involved for a particular project type or a particular client. You may be able to refer to a stakeholder map or glean stakeholders from project plans, PIDs, risk logs and so on. The ebook includes two completed stakeholder analyses, one for a software project and one for a university construction project. Get the Stakeholder Management ebook and templates.

“Organisation charts and directories. Perhaps the first place to look for stakeholders is your company organisation chart or directory. Interesting insights can also be gained by reviewing LinkedIn and social network sites. For example, use Linkedin’s advanced people search to look for stakeholders by company, industry, jobtitle, and/or seniority.

“OGC Stakeholder Categories. If you are struggling you could try using categories to identify potential stakeholders. For example the OGC [the former UK Office of Government Commerce] suggest that it can be helpful to organise stakeholders by the following categories:

  • users/beneficiaries;
  • governance (steering groups/boards);
  • influencers (trade unions, the media) and
  • providers (suppliers, partners).”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Interests and the Policy Process (core topic) in Policy Analysis and Process and Atlas101.

Sources

Stakeholdermap.com, What is a Stakeholder, at https://www.stakeholdermap.com/stakeholder-definition.html#bryson, accessed 7 October 2017.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 7 October 2017.

Image: Amarnath Marpadga (2015), How to Deal with Difficult Stakeholders for Your E-learning Course, at http://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning-design/dealing-with-difficult-elearning-stakeholders, accessed 7 October 2017.