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Learn to do a Proper Stakeholder Analysis for Project Management

Project planning is not easy. It is important to have everyone invested in the project plan right from the start. Having support right from the beginning means that a proper stakeholder analysis must be done. This vital step sets up the ultimate success of the project, and leads to greater satisfaction for all involved. Learn the basics of what it is right now and get a free template to use for basic research.

The importance of doing a stakeholder analysis

A stakeholder analysis is all about proper preparation. What is being prepared for is the most important people involved in the project once it’s complete.

  • What it is: A stakeholder analysis is a technique that is frequently used in the preparation phase of project management to assess the expectations of the project stakeholders. The aim of the stakeholder analysis process is to underline major interests of all the stakeholders to guide the movement of the entire project lifecycle.
  • Why it’s important: The stakeholder analysis is used to identify the key stakeholders who have vested interest in the project, and craft the project in a way that will align with their interests and expectations.
  • Who they are: Most commonly, project stakeholders are sponsors, senior managers, contractors, and consumers. Anyone who will be impacted once the project is complete and put into use can also be considered.

The stakeholders of the project need to give their consent regarding the development of the project, the rest of the team can’t start until the project is approved. This is why stakeholder analysis is considered one of the most important aspects of project management. Without the support of the stakeholders projects will not move forward. The process usually starts by gathering the most basic information about all stakeholders in one place:

stakeholder analysis template example

The example above is a stakeholder analysis template that anyone can use to gather all of the necessary information in one place for easy reference.

How to conduct a stakeholder analysis

The basics of conducting a stakeholder analysis are the following:

  • Identify the stakeholders: Stakeholders are all those whose participation is crucial for achieving the project goals. These are the people who are somehow affected with the outcome in the project. Look at all levels of management, outside influencers and contractors, and consumers of the end product.
  • Determine their interests: Not all stakeholders share similar interests. Every project manager should take into account the individual interests of the shareholders of the company, executive managers, customers, and the team members. The point of doing a stakeholder analysis is to assess all of these interests and come to a definite resolution.
  • Organize the action plans: The project action plans should be crafted with the concerns of the stakeholders in mind. Once the major interests are identified, it is useful to outline project success criteria as an additional step to prioritize stakeholder interests. The idea is to move the project in a direction that strives to meet the stakeholder interests.

It is also important to note that the technique of stakeholder analysis does not vary based on the project management methodology used. The elements mentioned above are crucial when conducting a stakeholder analysis, and they rarely change from one project method to another.

The benefits of doing a stakeholder analysis

When it comes to managing projects, it is incredibly important to undergo a stakeholder analysis. The benefits that come from conducting a stakeholder analysis are the following:

  • Identify those who may impact the acceptance of the project.
  • Determining how a project will be successful as seen through the eyes of those who will use or approve it.
  • Different viewpoints are offered up.
  • Risk identification can be done.
  • There is a sense of accountability and responsibility created.

The aim of the stakeholder analysis is to strategically plan out the development of the project in a way that will meet the interests of all of those that are affected by the project. In other words, the stakeholder analysis clarifies the objectives, interests, and expectations of the project in a way which will create an exceptional product.

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Scott Ellis

Scott is a content manager for PMFoo, a free online resource that quickly matches businesses and individuals to their Project Management software needs. He specializes in project management tips, tools, and tricks . On the rare occasion Scott isn't writing, he's reading comic books, playing video games, or cheering the mighty Blue Jays. No, Scott is not a 12 year old boy. He assures us all he is a grown man.