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Project managers use stakeholder analysis to identity the key stakeholder and to assess interests, positions, alliances, and importance given to the project by such stakeholders. Such knowledge allows project managers to interact more effectively with stakeholders and to increase support for a given policy, program, or project. Conducting such an analysis before project implementation allows project managers to detect and take measures to avoid misunderstandings and potential opposition to the project.
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What Are the Steps in Stakeholder Analysis?
The process of sample stakeholder analysis involves eight major steps:
- Plan: 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. A discussion of these issues should be led by the “sponsor," or initiator, of the stakeholder analysis.
- Select an appropriate policy: Good stakeholder analysis focus on a specific project. In most cases, the sponsor identifies a project, but it is important to ensure that the policy in question is an appropriate project for a stakeholder analysis before the process begins.
- Identify the key stakeholders: One crucial step in stakeholder analysis is to identify the various stakeholders and prepare a list of the same. The best approach is a priority list that defines the preference and set limits on the number of stakehodlers, based on the resources available.
- Collect information: The nest step is to collect as much information as possible regarding the identified stakehodlers. The project management team needs to gather and review secondary information on the priority stakeholders from sources such as newspapers, institutional reports and publications, speeches, organization annual reports, political platforms, and other sources.
- Interview the priority stakeholders: The next step in stakeholder analysis is to gain accurate information on the stakeholder's positions, interests, and ability to affect the process. This is best done through a formal and structured interview process.
- Fill in the stakeholder table: This step of the process involves preparing a "stakeholder table" or arranging the answers of the interview and other the secondary information collected into a concise and standardized format.The purpose behind this is to make systematic comparisons, highlight the most significant information, and to ensure stakeholder identity anonymity if required. This allows the project management team to develop clear comparisons among the different stakeholders.
- Analyze the stakeholder table: The completed "stakeholder table" require analysis to compare information and develop conclusions on stakeholders' relative importance, knowledge, interests, positions, and possible allies regarding the policy in question.
- Using the information: The final step in stakehodler analysis is to put the information to good use. The information collected from stakeholder analysis finds use to provide input into other analyses, to develop action plans to increase support for a project, or to guide a participatory, consensus-building process.
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Analyzing the Stakeholder Table
The analysis provides answers to the following questions:
A good analysis allows project managers to identify stakeholders based on their influence, which in turn helps them develop support strategies, devise ways to secure stakeholder support for issues such as project risk, and overcome obstacles to successful project competition.
- Who are the most important stakeholders?
- What is the stakeholders' knowledge of the policy?
- What are the stakeholders' positions on the specific policy?
- What do the stakeholders see as possible advantages or disadvantages of the policy?
- Which stakeholders might form alliances?
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"Stakeholder Analysis." Retrieved from http://ais.msu.edu/internal/projectmgt/documents/StakeholderAnalysisQualityGuide.pdf on 17 March 2011.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Example of a Stakeholder Analysis
In this three-part article series, we examine the stakeholder analysis. In part one, we define the term. Part two explains the importance of a stakeholder analysis in project management, and in the third article we give real-life examples of stakeholder analysis