Stakeholder analysis is an important part of your stakeholder engagement plan and stakeholder management efforts!
In this blog, we'll cover:
- What is Stakeholder Analysis?
- 3 Reasons Stakeholder Analysis is Important
- The 5 stakeholder Analysis Steps
- Next Steps
- Free Stakeholder Analysis Template
What is Stakeholder Analysis?
Stakeholder analysis means taking a close look at your stakeholders by identifying them and then prioritizing them according to their levels of interest, and influence in a project. Stakeholder analysis helps you to learn about and understand your stakeholders better so your project and your engagement efforts are more effective.
The 5 Stakeholder Analysis Steps:
- The identification process is where you brainstorm all your possible stakeholders
- Once identified, you can prioritize your stakeholders according to their level of interest and influence regarding your project
- After prioritizing your stakeholders, you want to better understand their perspectives and opinions towards your organization and your project
- Next, you’ll decide how best to engage based on what you’ve learned from the previous steps
- Finally, once you begin engaging and learning more about your stakeholders, you’ll want to repeat this process periodically
3 Reasons Why Stakeholder Analysis is Important
1. Fuller Understanding for Better Outcomes
Determining your stakeholder’s opinions about your organization and your project is important information to help guide your engagement plan and leads to better decision-making.
You can combine stakeholder perspectives with your team’s technical knowledge to help you better understand your project and your stakeholders.
Remember, your stakeholders’ lived experience and expertise are important to consider!
2. Identify Stakeholder Issues Early
By taking the time to understand your stakeholders, you’re more likely to understand their concerns, which will help you to identify topics that might be sensitive and could potentially turn into issues. This is important because having the ability to identify and address issues early means you’re better able to prepare the necessary resources and step in to save critical relationships!
As Dayna Morgan from BRITT Land & Engagement explained in our Stakeholder Issues Expert Blog, “dealing with issues early on can actually build advocates.”
3. Communicate Effectively with Stakeholders
When you identify your stakeholders and understand their perspectives and concerns, you can better plan your communication strategy and the tactics you’ll use to engage more effectively and focus on building important stakeholder relationships.
The 5 Stakeholder Analysis Steps
1. Identifying your Stakeholders
To identify all your potential stakeholders, we recommend making the stakeholder identification process a team exercise. With your team, brainstorm each individual or group that could be affected by your project in a positive or negative way.
Not sure where to start? Consider the following trigger questions:
- How could this project disrupt neighbourhoods/communities?
- Is this project occurring on or impacting traditional territory? (Like Indigenous or Tribal land)
- Will this project impact other organizations?
- What are the environmental impacts of this project?
- Will this project impact anyone financially?
- Who could this project inconvenience?
- Who is likely to voice concerns over your organization’s decisions and actions?
- Have you engaged with stakeholders previously who would likely be interested or impacted again?
Once you begin answering these questions, you’ll develop a better idea of the types of stakeholders and communities impacted by your project. Use these insights to start building your stakeholder list.
2. Prioritizing your Stakeholders
Determine Stakeholder’s Level of Interest/Influence
A popular stakeholder mapping canvas is Mendelow’s Power-Interest Matrix, which you can use to determine your stakeholders’ level of interest and influence on your organization or project—This is done through a stakeholder mapping exercise.
Why Map Your Stakeholders?
There are several benefits to mapping your stakeholder. Categorizing stakeholders through a stakeholder mapping exercise helps guide your level of engagement for each category of stakeholders, so you know where your resources need to be focused.
3. Understanding your Stakeholders
Once your stakeholders are identified and prioritized, you need to take some time to understand them and their perspectives on your project.
Consider the following questions to get started:
- What does project success look like to your stakeholders?
- How are your stakeholders impacted (positively or negatively) by this project?
- What is their current opinion of your project/organization?
- Are they interested in your project? If so, what’s their interest (e.g. financial, environmental, emotional etc.)
When you begin to understand stakeholder perspectives you can make an assessment as to where they stand regarding your project (i.e. support, object, conditional, undecided or neutral).
Remember, stakeholder assessment can change over time! Make sure you continue to monitor your stakeholder and their perspectives on your project (i.e. stakeholders can move from support to object as your project progresses).
4. Engaging with Your Stakeholders
Once you’ve identified your stakeholders, prioritized them and learned about their perspectives, it’s time to start engaging!
The Spectrum of Public Participation developed by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), is an excellent tool for identifying which level of engagement (or participation) is best for your stakeholder engagement strategy.
The IAP2 Spectrum identifies five different levels of participation: inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and empower. Some organizations prefer to choose one strategy for all stakeholders, while other organizations prefer to focus on tailoring their engagement strategy based upon a stakeholder’s interest or influence/power, which enables them to focus efforts where it's needed most.
For example, a low influence/low interest stakeholder is not likely to be influenced or be concerned with your project and might only need to be informed (often with one-way communication).
Whereas your key stakeholders (i.e. high influence/high interest) have a much greater potential to impact your project and, based on the IAP2 levels of engagement, may need to be consulted, involved, collaborated with and/or empowered, depending on the circumstance or your organization's vision for engagement.
Once you decide on your level of engagement, you’re ready to choose your specific engagement tactics. Your tactics are simply your chosen methods for how you’re going to engage.
5. Repeating the Stakeholder Analysis Process
Your stakeholder analysis process isn’t done after you analyze your stakeholders once; you need to revisit this process periodically throughout your project.
It’s important to revisit this process because as you collect data from your engagement efforts and get insights into the things people care about, you’ll begin to see themes emerge that can influence your stakeholder engagement plan moving forward.
Repeating this process is vital as you’ll want to monitor to see if stakeholder perspectives and their assessment of your project (i.e. do they still fall under: support, object, conditional, undecided or neutral) has changed.
When it comes to the stakeholder engagement information that you’ll be collecting (communications, issues, commitments, tasks, etc.), staying organized and keeping detailed records of all your engagement efforts is critical during this process and there’s no better way than with Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) software like Jambo!
Free Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Template
When you’re in the very beginning stages, making sense of all your stakeholder analysis information can feel overwhelming. A simple way to organize your stakeholder analysis data is with a stakeholder analysis matrix.