A stakeholder analysis is the gathering and subsequent analysis of data to determine whose interests should be taken into account when developing and/or implementing a policy, programme, or project.
Change Managers and Project Managers use stakeholder analyses to identify stakeholders in order to assess their interests, positions, alliances, and importance to the change being implemented. Such knowledge allows Change Managers to interact more effectively with stakeholders and to increase support for a given policy, programme, or project. Conducting such an analysis before project implementation allows Project Managers to detect and take measures to avoid misunderstandings and potential opposition and resistance to the project.
As a Change Manager, it is somewhat surprising how little effort is at times given by Project Management to change management activities. Not surprisingly, however, when Project Managers have multiple roles – team management, project deliverables, project resources, finance and budget management, reporting, time management. It is no wonder that Change Management responsibilities are often put to one side. Yet, when these responsibilities are taken actively and seriously, there is a better chance of project success.
So, how is a Stakeholder Analysis developed?
What are the Steps in Stakeholder Analysis?
Confirm Vision and Purpose: The first step in conducting a stakeholder analysis is to define the purpose of the analysis, identify the potential users of the information, and devise a plan for using the information. This discussion should be with the Business Sponsor or Business Project Manager. It is important that the Sponsor and/or Business Project Manager work directly with the Change Manager throughout the process of identifying stakeholders and analysing findings.
Table 1 – Stakeholders Hierarchy
|Business Project Manager|
Interview Key Stakeholders: The sponsor will identify key stakeholders who should be interviewed to determine the groups impacted by the project. This should lead to priority stakeholders being interviewed. It is critical to identify all key and priority stakeholders especially those who may not support the project in the early stages.
Interview Priority Stakeholders: The priority stakeholders are those who will lead and support the groups of people who will be impacted by the change/project. Priority stakeholders need to be seen to actively support the project and become ambassadors, leading their teams to implement the changes successfully and seamlessly. These stakeholders are often in the front-line.
Prepare a List of Stakeholders: As part of the stakeholder analysis, prepare a list of the names of the key and priority and ultimately end user stakeholders. The data captured for each person will depend on the project. I find using a spreadsheet the most effective way of tracking all stakeholders, adding columns as I develop and collate data identifying different reasons for filtering sub data, dependent on the project. This spreadsheet can be shared amongst others. Therefore any confidential information should be captured in a separate Stakeholder Table.
Stakeholder Table: This step of the process involves preparing a “stakeholder table” by arranging the answers of the interview collected into a concise and standardised format. The purpose behind this is to make systematic comparisons, highlight the most significant information, and to keep stakeholders anonymous if required. This allows the project management team to develop clear comparisons amongst the different stakeholders.
Analyse the Stakeholder Table: The completed “stakeholder table” requires analysis to compare information and develop conclusions on stakeholders’ relative importance, knowledge, interests, positions, and possible allies regarding the policy or project in question. It will also lead to conclusions on managing each group identified, and at times individuals.
Plan Stakeholder Engagement: The final step in stakeholder analysis is to put the information to good use. The information collected from stakeholder analysis is used to provide input into other analyses, to develop action plans to increase support for a project, or to engage stakeholders in the project. This information drives the Change Plan, the Change Impact Analysis, Communication Plans and Training Plans; how each and every stakeholder will be managed – meetings, reports, updates, who will meet whom and how often, how are the impacts going to be communicated, how will users be trained. All these activities ensure stakeholders are engaged, critical for project success.
Stakeholders need looking after. If you look after them, your project has more chance of success because you become a team with the same goal and vision each member is working towards.
Examples of Stakeholder Tables
Analysing the Stakeholder Table
The analysis will drive answers to the following questions:
- Who are the most important stakeholders?
- What is the stakeholders’ knowledge of the project?
- How will the stakeholder groups be impacted by the project?
- What are the stakeholders’ positions on the specific project?
- What do the stakeholders see as possible advantages or disadvantages of the project?
- Which stakeholders might form alliances?
- Which stakeholders need to be closely monitored?
- Which stakeholders could jeopardise the project?
A good analysis allows Change and Project Managers to identify stakeholders based on their influence, which in turn helps them develop support strategies and to devise ways to secure success.
A Stakeholder Analysis is one of many deliverables a Change Manager is responsible for. Evolution Culture provides advice and information on these responsibilities. If you want to know more, feel free to contact us.
21 September 2020