Understanding Your Stakeholders
A stakeholder is any group or individual with an interest or a stake in the change. Anyone who can affect or be affected by its activities.
Stakeholder analysis is the process of identifying the relevant stakeholders and their interests, assessing their influence, or how they are impacted by the change, in order to formulate strategies for managing relationships with them.
The aim of stakeholder analysis is to provide you with information about the individuals and groups that may affect the achievement or otherwise of achieving the desired change. This makes it easier to anticipate problems, gain the support of the most influential stakeholders and develop effective plans and activities to implement the change successfully.
The Association of Project Management's (APM) 10 Key Principles of Stakeholder Engagement provides a comprehensive framework for fostering meaningful and collaborative engagement with stakeholders. It covers aspects such as inclusivity, transparency, responsiveness and accountability to ensure that your proposed change contributes positively to the interests and concerns of all stakeholders. You should familiarise yourself with these principles before engaging with your stakeholders.
When should I complete a stakeholder analysis?
You should perform a stakeholder analysis right at the start of your initiative and throughout the change process, at key milestones and decision points and before people focused activities. The interests and influence of stakeholders will change over time, so a regular review of stakeholder relationships is crucial to enable you to plan effectively and help ensure those impacted by the change are involved at the right time.
The level and depth of analysis required will depend on the size and significance of the change. Small-scale change is likely to impact a limited number of stakeholders, so you may not require significant input from others during the identification stage.
For a significant change, which impacts a number of stakeholders, we'd recommend that you complete detailed analysis following the steps outlined in the guide below and update your stakeholder analysis and engagement plan regularly.
We recommend using our Change Management Checklist throughout the change process to remind you of the key questions you should be answering before making a decision or carrying out any activity that is likely to have an impact on people in some way.
For large scale change, please refer to the University's Change Management Process. A member of the change team should be responsible for understanding your stakeholders and putting appropriate plans in place.
How do I complete a stakeholder analysis?
This step-by-step guide will help you to complete a stakeholder analysis and develop a Stakeholder Engagement Plan for your change initiative. It includes templates and tools to help you complete your analysis in a structured and straightforward way. The following topics are covered:
- Establishing the vision
- Identifying your stakeholders
- Mapping your stakeholders
- Prioritising your stakeholders
- Engaging with your stakeholders
- Creating a Stakeholder Engagement Plan
- Evaluating your stakeholders
Test your knowledge
Take this short quiz on stakeholder analysis and engagement to test your knowledge and understanding!
Resources and Templates:
RACI Matrix Template: Defining Roles and Responsibilities.
Stakeholder Matrix Template: Mapping your Stakeholders.
Stakeholder Engagement Plan Template: Creating a Stakeholder Engagement Plan.
Stakeholder SWOT Analysis Template: Evaluating your Stakeholders.
What will you learn: How to survive the change, what to do in the process of change, how to encourage engagement during the change.
Who's it for: Managers who are going through the change, those who want to learn more about the engagement during the change, people who need to learn how to encourage engagement during the change.
Benefits of effective stakeholder Management:
- Increased trust and confidence
- Better understanding of reasons for resistance
- Better understanding of stakeholder needs
- Increased chances of acceptance and adoption of change
- Time invested in the right places
- Improved communication and relationships between the project team and impacted colleagues
- Improved reputation
Barriers to effective Stakeholder Management:
- Unclear purpose
- Failure to understand stakeholder needs and capacities
- Insufficient skills and resources to carry out meaningful engagement
- Non-inclusive engagement approaches that respect differences and diversity
- Engagement fatigue: too much engagement without substance or understanding of specific needs
- Failure to provide feedback on how stakeholder input has been used
- Failure to evaluate engagement approaches in order to improve
- Failure to allocate enough time to carry out stakeholder analysis and engagement properly
- Failure to identify all your stakeholders: collaborative thinking instead of silo working.