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Performing a Stakeholder Analysis

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 9/26/2011

By learning how to create this great little tool, you will be able to prioritize the various opinions, influences, and interests that go into the project you are managing. Here, I show you a way to make stakeholder analysis matrices.

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    Covering All Bases

    Just one of many project management forms, a stakeholder analysis matrix will inform you of the interests and influence of those involved in a project change. Good stakeholder analysis matrices should display each person (or group’s) interest in the change, where interests converge, the level of influence, and who will have a voice in the new developments. Stakeholder analysis matrices can be beneficial at the outset of new projects and they can be beneficial when projects change directions.

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    How Do You Make a Stakeholder Analysis Matrix?

    Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Creating these simple matrices requires a pen and some paper. You will also require the input of your team members. Begin by making a list of anyone whom has interest or influence over your project. Examples of stakeholders may be investors, clients, chairpersons, etc. Once created, you can then use this list to weigh the influence of each person. Here is a list of the next steps:

    1. Draw a box divided into four equal quadrants. Make sure you create this box large enough to fit in the various stakeholders when it is the appropriate time.

    2. Divide each quadrant into fourths again. You should now have sixteen quadrants.

    3. Label down the left side starting at the top with “Significant Importance,” “Some Importance,” “Little Importance,” “No Importance.”

    4. Label across the top starting at the left with “Significant influence,” “Some influence,” “little influence,” “No influence.”

    5. Begin to organize your stakeholders according to importance and influence.

    6. When you are done, your matrix will be a graphic display of who holds the most importance and influence (the group in the upper left-hand corner) and who holds the least amount of influence and importance (the group in the lower right-hand corner). Those in the high importance/influence category will be the first ones to consult since they carry a heavy weight in the direction of the project.

    You can download a free PDF copy of the simple Stakeholder Analysis Matrix described here.

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    3 Great Examples of a Stakeholder Analysis Matrix

    There are some great examples of stakeholder analysis matrices out there.You can make your matrix as complex or simple as you like – but the more complex it is, the more utility it will have for you.If you see each quadrant of the matrix as a continuum instead of a discrete instance, it will be easier when you have to determine whom to contact first:person x who has high influence and high importance or person y who has high influence and somewhat high importance.

    The World Wildlife Foundation has one great example set up a bit differently than I suggest in this article.Their focus is policy, but these matrices have a wide-range of possibilities beyond the political realm.Because modern businesses are often dependent upon stakeholders influence and importance, this political tool can be quite useful in determining who to involve in a project – and to what extent.

    The second stakeholder Matrix example also serves as a good stakeholder analysis example. In this second example, from the Overseas Development Administration, you can see how the stakeholder analysis matrix can fit in with a well thought out stakeholder analysis.

    A third and final example of a great stakeholder analysis matrix is located at this website. This is about as detailed as it gets, with the list made in order of interest, and the matrix mapped.

    Stakeholder analysis matrices can be a vital part of the startup of your next project.When used correctly and efficiently the provide the project team with key data about whose opinions to weigh heaviest and who to consult first in making major decisions.

    If you're looking for more sample forms and downloadable templates, check out Bright Hub's resource guide Over 50 Free Project Management Templates and Sample Forms.