Stakeholder Analysis Solutions
for all Types of Stakeholders.

Risk free stakeholder analysis beyond stakeholder theory to reality!

That is a big statement, but that is true. You really can rest easy when following these guidelines to identify external and internal stakeholders and to determine the needs of stakeholders. For all types of stakeholder definition, project stakeholders and so on, these guidelines can help protect you from project difficulties.

My aim here is to both write about the practical side of working with stakeholders and to provide you the stakeholder analysis process that delivers results. There are many places on the internet to read about stakeholder analysis. I can only write about it from my experiences as a management consultant.

I will not bore you with the complete academics of this topic. Read on, as this is dependable information you can use today.

Be sure to read my personal example Risk Free Stakeholder Analysis - A Note from Working Memory - at the bottom of this page.

Introducing Stakeholder Analysis

Why is stakeholder analysis so important?

There are three main objectives:

1. To channel stakeholders to determine project requirements;

2. To determine the importance of each of the requirements, and;

3. To determine the relative importance of each of stakeholders involvement in the project.

One reason that many change management and business improvement projects face difficulties and/or fail is because of in-complete analysis of the people, systems and processes that do or can influence the project. For example, if stakeholders are not consulted at the beginning, so that their functional working requirements are reviewed in consideration of the projects requirements, then how can an organisation ensure the project will be rolled out successfully with minimal problems and resistance to change?

This is one of main reasons why we undertake stakeholder analysis before implementation. It allows the project to provide and display balance to different needs and view points in the organisation. Input from stakeholders at the beginning of a change project when plans are being formulated can help reduce the possibility for disagreements during the projects approach or over what the final project outcomes will be.

Further more by inviting and allowing all stakeholders to be involved at the formulating stage of a project we can ensure both a complete understanding of the project requirements and its affect within the organisation. As equally important we can determine the relative importance of each of the types of stakeholders. Depending on and paying particular attention to the nature and timing of the consultation with the stakeholders, we may determine that some stakeholders have a higher comparative importance in the change project than others.

The key to Successful Stakeholder Analysis

Important to the success of any change management project is the absolute clear identification of the requirements of the project. By this I mean that the project requirements (outcomes) are determined by the underlying operational and strategic objectives of the company and these are then converted back into what are the actual physical and functional requirements of the groups associated with the change so that we can achieve those objectives. These groups are called the stakeholders.

Stakeholders are affected by the changes, or are in a position to be able to affect the outcome, and so we need look at what each of the stakeholder groups requirements are from a people, structure and operating strategy or business or unit or authority, etc point of view is, and what their level of interest is. Each of the elements of these are covered at What is Change Management

It is obtaining this level of interest and influence from a self and/or peer assessment from the stakeholders that provides us the measures we can use to determine the relative importance of each of the groups to the project.

How to Undertake Stakeholder Analysis

Importantly the types of stakeholders can for the most part be identified instinctively or by a formal review of the organisation chart and or of the relevant external bodies. To ensure all bases are covered, it may be decided to undertake a self/peer assessment earlier towards the beginning of the project formation to identify all the relevant stakeholder groups and then move on to begin to establish the comparative importance of each of them.

Then move forward to consult with each of the stakeholder groups individually to identify their needs and views, and integrate these into the overall project requirements. This step involves a consultative approach with each stakeholder to ascertain their different needs and wants and then to include these into the projects functional requirements, i.e. regarding people, systems and processes.

Now at this stage with all the wants and needs of stakeholders requirements compiled together we can begin to determine the comparative importance of each of them. This can be done by using weighting measures taken from the self and peer assessments in step one or by any other intuitive measurements and metrics suitable for the company.

Importantly determining the comparative importance of the individual groups, their requirements, wants and needs can be a sensitive area as many people wish to avoid discussing the relevance or importance of other groups. If a decision is made to consult stakeholders the exact circumstances at the time should determine the best method and approach to do so. At the approach proceed with an element of sensitivity, ensure all stakeholder parties are fully informed and have a reasonable expectation of what can be expected from them and/or how they will react.

The result is by identifying the relative importance at both the stakeholder level and the functional requirements level we have both the scale and hierarchy of importance that will filter through each aspect of the change project and will prove invaluable when key decisions need to be made.

Proven Stakeholder Analysis Guidelines

These guidelines are particularly important as the review of the various stakeholders can cause disturbances to the project.

Analysis needs to be undertaken with clear guidelines regarding what needs to be assessed when consulting stakeholders for determining their importance and involvement. Disturbances can result from the change initiative being deferred because of differences that emerge and that cannot be resolved between the groups.

In some instances key people involved such as the line or department manager or those responsible for the projects implementation may accept the responsibility for identifying all the functional requirements of the project across the various stakeholder groups. For example the mine manager may accept to establish him or herself as the final decision maker in this instance to avoid unnecessary disturbances.

Do you think more Stakeholder Analysis is required?

When deciding to undertake any further stakeholder analysis, we should keep in mind two points. One is that we have come to this point because a change is required to support the underlying strategic and operational objective of the firm. The second point is to have come to this point already a comprehensive load of work would have been done to determine the change is required. These operational and strategic requirement decisions implemented successfully return to the interests of stakeholders, and therefore it may be determined that the needs of the stakeholder groups and the importance of their functional needs are already expressed in the decisions being made.

If this is the case it may be counter productive and inappropriate for any further consultation to be carried out. Also some stakeholders may see this further consultation as an opportunity to discourage some aspects of the change initiatives they disagree with and the broader or higher level decisions they have not been involved in.

Importantly, the stakeholder analysis process has been undertaken and their functional requirements and the comparative importance of the requirements have been identified. This is the only reason this aspect of the change management process is necessary. If this is not the purpose, then do not do it.

Risk Free Stakeholder Analysis - A Note from a Working Memory

Once as a junior consultant I remember being contracted into a consulting team and witnessed failure of a project. It was my conclusion that it was the consultants fault because the stakeholder analysis was not carried out sincerely and not considered thoroughly.

Why, because the consulting firm came into the organisation hired by management to assist with its business improvement initiatives. However the consultant bought along a tool-kit of solutions with pre-conceived courses of action best to meet the clients requirements. They did not include undertaking a stakeholder analysis. The head consultant followed his proprietary approach and results were less than planned. Eventually and after a lot of ill spent money the client asked the head consultant to leave because of a lack of tangible results. And the project was over.

My analysis was that the reason for the results not being realised was because for the most part the people in the field had not been sincerely consulated, their functional and operational requirements were not seriously considered, and they were not set up for success in the formulation of the project. The project could not possibly of succeeded when those at the coal face were not being heard in regards the current operational situation and requirements where the tyre hits the road. This would have been avoided had the consultant bothered to take seriously to the steering group for review what was being fed back as functionally and operationally important for the people in the field to be successful. And the overall project would have been cheaper for the client as well.

I hope this information above will assist you in avoiding these outcomes within your own organisation.

Like This Page

New! Comments
Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Return to top of Stakeholder Analysis

Return to Change Management Process

Return to Change Management Consultant Home Page

p.s. Do you want more information about the self/peer assessment documents and process for stakeholder analysis? Contact me and I will reply to you with further information as soon as possible. Thank you.