Module 1: User Discovery & Needfinding
The Stakeholder Map is a technique used to identify relevant individuals or groups and sort them according to your project's key criteria. This enables you to define action steps on how to interact with each of the stakeholders.
Why should you use the Stakeholder Map?
- Captures a holistic picture of the main actors involved
- Focus on satisfying the most important stakeholders
- Improves decision-making process
- Helps risk assessment
- Structures existing knowledge
What are stakeholders, and why is the stakeholder map relevant?
Stakeholders are all the interested parties in a project. They can have decision power over the project or be influenced by and use the outcomes. In the picture on the top, you can see some examples.
Because they are affected, stakeholders will likely have individual desires and expectations regarding your project. For you, this means managing potentially opposing opinions and priorities but minimize unnecessary involvement. The stakeholder map will help you assess how their interests should be prioritized and addressed to make better-informed strategies and decisions.
How can you identify and map relevant stakeholders for your project?
Follow these next steps to assess your project's stakeholders and evaluate which ones to focus on.
1. Identify your stakeholders
Use the following categories to identify your stakeholders. The image at the top of this method card can serve as an example.
- Internal: immediately influential and directly involved with the project
- Connected: those who have an economic or contractual relationship
- External: Stakeholders outside of your organization that are interested or affected by your decisions' consequences and outcomes
Don't worry if there is some overlap between those groups. The goal of this first step is just to help you identify your stakeholders.
It might also be that you already have a Stakeholder Map in a different format ready for your project. Ensure that you also include customers and users and move on to the next step using those stakeholders.
2. Interest and power level
Rate the level of interest and power your stakeholders have for all of your identified stakeholders. To decide on those two levels, you can try to answer the following questions:
- How much will my project affect the stakeholder? - (Interest)
- How much can this stakeholder affect my project? - (Power)
3. Stakeholder Mapping
Map those stakeholders according to their level of interest and power regarding your project in a two-by-two matrix.
4. Develop an action plan
Use this matrix to decide how to involve each stakeholder and assess how their interests should be prioritized.
Stakeholders on the far top-right of the matrix should be strongly involved and collaborated with closely. On the other extreme, those in the bottom-left should be involved using minimal effort, for example, by being notified of significant events and milestones.
Use those insights to develop an action plan, for example scheduling a monthly meeting, defining which stakeholders to involve in which decisions, how to involve people with high interest and low power, etc.
whiteboard, Post-Its, markers