Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Stakeholder Analysis

What is a Stakeholder?

Stakeholders are people with a vested interest in the success of the project, whose support, or cooperation is necessary for the project to succeed. Stakeholder buy-in will make the difference in time to complete the project. In some cases, the biggest barrier to project success has been stakeholders.

In project management stakeholders are people, groups, or institutions with interests in a project or program. Stakeholders can be customers, the local community, managerial staff, non-managerial staff, a government entity, and both private and public owners (shareholders). It can be virtually anyone as long as that person or group has something to do with the project.

Lets take a general software company, probable stakeholders would be those responsible for design and development

Stakeholders' Interests, Impact, Priority

Stakeholders can be listed in a table or spreadsheet with their key interests, potential level of project impact, and priority in relation to other stakeholders. Be careful to outline multiple interests, particularly those that are hidden in relation to project goals and objectives.

he key is to keep in mind that identifying interests is done with stakeholders' perspective in mind, not your own. This is difficult as interests are usually hidden and may contradict openly stated aims. Each interest should be related to the appropriate project phase; that is, interests change as the project moves from beginning to ending phases. With some stakeholders it may be crucial to extract interests by formally asking them questions such as:

  • What are your project expectations?
  • How do you benefit from successful project completion?
  • Which stakeholders do you believe are in conflict with the project interests?

Once major interests are identified, it is also useful to outline how the project will be impacted if these are or are not met. In most cases, a simple annotation of positive (+), negative (-), or unknown (?) can be used as well as high (H), medium (M), low (L), or uncertain (?).

You should now have a more precise list your project's stakeholders. At this point their importance, interests, and impact on the project should be clearly identified and analyzed. In part two, I will explore the role of the stakeholder analysis in project management

Examples of Stakeholder Analysis


Example of Stakeholder Analysis: Part II

In article two of her three-part series, Natasha Baker explains the role of the stakeholder analysis in project management. In part one she defined the project stakeholder and in part three she gives real-life examples of stakeholder analysis.

What is Stakeholder Analysis?

Stakeholder analysis is a process of systematically gathering and analyzing qualitative information (data) to determine whose interests should be taken into account when developing and or implementing a policy, program, or project.

Why Is this Analysis Useful?

Project managers can use a stakeholder analysis to identity the key stakeholderand to assess their knowledge, interests, positions, alliances, and importance related to the project. This allows project managers to interact more effectively with key stakeholders and to increase support for a given policy, program, or project. When this analysis is conducted before a project is implemented, project managers can detect and act to prevent potential misunderstandings about or opposition to the project. When a stakeholder analysis and other key tools are used to guide the implementation, project is more likely to succeed.