What is a Stakeholder Analysis?
When it comes to any organizational project, all of the internal people and teams who the project will involve or affect are called its stakeholders. A stakeholder analysis is a process of identifying these people before the project begins; grouping them according to their levels of participation, interest, and influence in the project; and determining how best to involve and communicate each of these stakeholder groups throughout.
What’s the Purpose of a Stakeholder Analysis?
Project managers, program managers, and product managers alike may conduct a stakeholder analysis for several strategic reasons, including:
1. To enlist the help of key organizational players.
By approaching company influencers, executives, or valuable stakeholders for help early in your project, you can leverage the knowledge and wisdom of these key players to help guide the project to a successful outcome. Enlisting these players early on will also increase the chances you will earn their support for your project.
But before you can determine which influencers and other key stakeholders to approach, you’ll need to conduct a stakeholder analysis.
2. To gain early alignment among all stakeholders on goals and plans.
Because your stakeholder analysis will help you determine which people to involve in the project, you will then be able to bring these people together for a kickoff and early-stage meetings to communicate the project’s strategic objectives and plans.
Over a third of product managers in 2021, wish they had a clearer purpose and company strategy. A stakeholder analysis will help ensure everyone starts the project with a clear understanding of what success will look like and how they can contribute to that successful outcome.
3. To help address conflicts or issues early on.
Without a stakeholder analysis, you and your team could be well into a company project before you realize a key person in your organization—perhaps an executive—does not see the value of your initiative, or would prefer to redeploy some of your resources to other projects. Such a person might actively work to thwart or derail your project.
If you had conducted a stakeholder analysis before you began, you would have likely identified this executive as potentially important to your project’s success. You could have then presented your plan to the executive, listened to their objections, and worked to earn their approval to proceed.
Watch this video for an in-depth explanation of stakeholder analysis and to learn how to efficiently conduct a stakeholder analysis.
Why should product managers conduct a stakeholder analysis?
Conducting a stakeholder analysis can be strategically valuable when kicking off any type of complex company undertaking. The more stakeholders you can identify early on and the more you can tailor your communication to win approval and support from various stakeholders, the more likely your project is to succeed.