Stakeholder Analysis

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Identifying all parties involved in a project

In project management, stakeholder analysis is one of the components of (project) environment analysis and is the second step in stakeholder management after stakeholder identification.

The stakeholder analysis provides an overview of the degree of influence of the relevant participants and interest groups in the project process and on the success of the project. This analysis clearly defines their interests and their position of power, as well as their motives and objectives. All negative and positive influences on the project are examined. The stakeholder analysis is considered a key success factor because it identifies the supporters and opponents of the project, which forms the basis for the development of strategies and measures for dealing and communicating with the various stakeholders.

Definition of stakeholder analysis

PMBOK Guide of the Project Management Institute (PMI)

The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers a comprehensive description in its "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" (PMBOK Guide):

Stakeholder Analysis: "A technique for systematically gathering and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information to determine whose interests should be considered during the project. It involves identifying the interests, expectations and influence of stakeholders and assessing how they might affect the project."

ICB of the International Project Management Association (IPMA)

The International Project Management Association (IPMA) defines stakeholder analysis in its ICB (Individual Competence Baseline) as follows:

Stakeholder Analysis: "The process of identifying project stakeholders, analyzing their needs and expectations, and assessing their impact and influence on the project."

DIN standard

According to DIN 69901-5:2009-01, which relates to project management in the field of project management systems, stakeholder analysis is defined as follows:

Stakeholder analysis: "Identification and systematic investigation of stakeholders and their relationships to each other and to the project objectives in order to assess and manage their influence on the project."

These definitions emphasize that stakeholder analysis is a structured process to identify relevant stakeholders, understand their needs and expectations and assess their potential impact on a project. The aim is to develop strategies to manage stakeholders appropriately and thus ensure the success of the project.

Stakeholder analysis in project management

Stakeholder management plays an important role in project management because, depending on the complexity and scope of the project, various people or groups - the stakeholders - have a vested interest in the project itself or the project results.

Once all possible stakeholders have been identified in the first phase of stakeholder management, the stakeholder analysis examines, describes, evaluates and groups them individually. The specific requirements of the individual stakeholders are taken into account and strategically classified. With this categorization or classification of stakeholders, you are ideally equipped for the next step, the stakeholder strategy development.

Procedure for stakeholder analysis

There are many examples of stakeholder analyses that all follow the same pattern: you take the identified stakeholders and classify them in a stakeholder matrix. This matrix can be kept very simple and only answer the following two questions:

  1. Is the influence of the stakeholders high or low?
  2. Is interest in the project high or low?

Stakeholder categorization

Once you have answered these questions for the analysis, the stakeholders are categorized using a matrix.

You have two axes: the X-axis interest and the Y-axis influence. Once you have categorized the stakeholders in the matrix, you will have four groups:

  1. Observe: Quadrant at the bottom left with little influence and low interest.
  2. Inform: Top left quadrant with low influence but high interest.
  3. Involve: Top right quadrant with high influence and high interest.
  4. Satisfy: Quadrant at the bottom right with high influence but low interest.

Stakeholder-Matrix for Stakeholder-Analysis in Project Management

You can now also identify supporters, neutrals and opponents and assign them to the groups by asking yourself whether the stakeholders have a high, neutral or low interest in the success of the project:

  • Supporters of the project with high influence are in the Involve group.
  • Supporters of the project with low influence are in the Inform group.
  • Neutral stakeholders with a high level of influence are in the Satisfy group.
  • Neutral stakeholders with a low level of influence are in the Observe group.
  • Opponents of the project with a high level of influence are in the Involve group. These stakeholders are those who pose the greatest risk to the project.
  • Opponents of the project with low influence are in the Inform group.

These groups must be treated differently in the development of the stakeholder strategy and receive different amounts of attention. Stakeholder communication will also vary.

Accordingly, you can now categorize the stakeholders even further, for example with tags:

  • Multiplier - for those advocates and neutral stakeholders with high influence
  • Changeable - for all those who can be turned into advocates with little effort, such as neutral stakeholders
  • High-maintenance - especially for opponents with a high influence factor, as they can exert the greatest negative influence and pose the greatest risk; but also for individuals or groups with a high level of outreach.

Other methods for stakeholder analysis

Apart from the very simple matrix described above, there are also more complex methods that are suitable for more complex environments, but are correspondingly more complex:

  • Network analysis: this stakeholder analysis method can be used to visualize and understand the relationships and interactions between different stakeholders in the project or organization. Network analysis makes the dynamics and influences within the network or a group of people visible. It is particularly helpful for deriving communication strategies.
  • Force field analysis: This analysis can be used to identify the driving and inhibiting forces that influence changes in the project, the organization or a process. The force field analysis was developed by psychologist Kurt Lewin and is often used in change management as part of the environment analysis and stakeholder analysis.

The stakeholder analysis is followed by the development of suitable strategies for dealing with the individual groups. This stakeholder strategy development directly influences stakeholder communication during implementation.

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