One of the techniques used by a business analyst in identifying stakeholders is data representation. In a way, we use data representation to formalize the data we’ve gathered and analyzed into a useful, understandable, and relevant format.
A very common data representation technique is Stakeholder Mapping or the Stakeholder Analysis Matrix.
The Stakeholder Analysis Matrix will help us to assign an importance level to each stakeholder.
We typically use a two-by-two grid model for the Stakeholder matrix and each stakeholder is mapped to a quadrant of the grid.
Possible parameters that are commonly used in pairs are: Power versus Interest, Power versus Influence, and Impact versus Influence.
Lets have a closer look on each of these parameters to understand how to categorize the identified stakeholders:
- Power – This is the capacity of a stakeholder to help or hinder the project. For example, the project sponsor holds considerable power.
- Interest – This is how much the stakeholder is interested and involved in the progress of the project. The customer is an example of a highly interested stakeholder.
- Influence – This is the ability to persuade, coerce, or motivate people to bring about change. For example, special interest groups can often rally support from others, particularly members of the public.
- Impact – This is the degree to which a stakeholder’s action or inaction could affect successful project execution. For example, suppliers can have considerable impact because the project’s schedule may be dependent on getting accurate deliveries on time.
Considering the Matrix of Power versus Interest, the stakeholders can be categorized as below:
- High power/high interest – These stakeholders are the most important. You must manage them closely, engage and communicate with them fully, and ensure that they have a positive attitude and are satisfied with the progress of your project.
- High power/low interest – Stakeholders with high power and low interest may include senior managers who are not directly involved in your project. To manage this type of stakeholder, keep them satisfied, but avoid giving them too much information.
- Low power/high interest – This category of stakeholder may include suppliers, or lower level project team members, who have little influence on the project outcome. To deal with these stakeholders, keep them adequately informed, but don’t spend too much time and effort managing their attitude.
- Low power/low interest – Stakeholders in this category need only to be monitored and occasionally informed of project progress.
Whatever be the parameters of the matrix, the stakeholders that land in the high-high quadrant are the ones that require the most attention. Usually these are the folks that we need to spend most of our energy in how we communicate, how we engage, and how well we collaborate with them to drive project success.