Have you never heard of a stakeholder map? Are you starting a project, and you need to make alliances? Do not worry! Today we will teach you everything you need to know to know how to make a stakeholder map and strengthen the strategic partnerships of your project.
Without giving you any spoilers, we will tell you what a stakeholder map is and how to make one. Then, we will also talk about maintaining a good communication strategy with your stakeholders and dealing with those who are difficult …
Are you ready? Let us begin!
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What is a Stakeholder map, and why is it important?
According to the Project Manager, a stakeholder map is understood as:
“A visual four-quadrant influence-interest matrix used to identify stakeholders and categorize them in terms of their influence and interest in the project.”
In other words, stakeholder mapping allows you to identify interest groups that can be future allies of your project. Therefore, it is very (very) important that you carry out a thorough investigation regarding which actors are influential in carrying out your project.
We tell you that there are usually many stakeholders in your project, so without proper stakeholder mapping, you will have difficulties communicating with them and keeping them happy. In this way, stakeholder mapping is the beginning of putting together an effective communication strategy.
You must bear in mind that projects cannot be successful if there is little or no communication with other stakeholders in your environment. The better the communication, the more fluid the project execution will be and, at the same time, the easier it will be for you to understand the wishes of your stakeholders.
Likewise, the stakeholder map is also an excellent way to manage the expectations of your potential allies. By drawing a map of stakeholders, you will be more explicit about their interests regarding the project. Therefore, as it is executed, a project manager can gradually grapple with those expectations, aligning them with the project and getting everyone happy with the deliverables.
Firstly, to finish this conceptual section on the stakeholder map, we want to share a phrase from our professor David Franco about the importance of stakeholders in the development of a project:
“Stakeholders are factors that share a project with us, and that can affect, directly or indirectly, its outcome. We, as individual beings, cannot do a project alone. It is important to allow the contribution of other actors to reach a successful end.”
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How to make a stakeholder map?
Now, up to this point, you are already clear about what a stakeholder map is. Naturally, the next step is to tell you how to make a stakeholder map. Take note!
Identify stakeholders of your project
To start making a stakeholder map, you must identify potential interest groups related to your project—both those actors who are already carrying out a similar project, as well as potential investors.
To do this, you can list all the people, companies, or institutions in the state that exaggerate your work or have a vested interest in your success or failure.
And also, Some of the variables that you must take into account in a stakeholder map:
- Your expectations about the project
- Your interest in the project
- Their ability to influence the project.
Understand the key stakeholders of your project
As the next step to map your stakeholders, we recommend that you be clear about the characteristics of each stakeholder regarding your project. Therefore, we have developed some questions that will be your guide in this process:
Do they have an economic or emotional interest in the result of your work? Is this positive or negative?
- What motivates them the most regarding your project?
- Which of the information about your project is relevant to them?
- Who influences your opinion? Are those influences other stakeholders?
- If they are interested in your project, what can you do to win their support?
Interview the most influential stakeholders
After making a good stakeholder map, you should try to make an alliance with them. However, to do this, the most common way to tell them about your project (and let them know about your existence) is through an interview.
Once you have the key stakeholders for your project, you should contact them by mail or phone. Once the interview has been agreed upon, it only remains for you to build a bond of trust with the stakeholder of your project. Next, we want to show you some sample questions so that you can write a successful interview with your stakeholders:
- Why are you interested in this project?
- What are your expectations for this project?
- What do you think the impact of this project will be after launch?
- How fast do you see this project going?
- If you feel positive about this project, why?
- If you are concerned about this project, why?
- Do you prefer meetings in person, by phone, or by email?
- What inspires you to get involved in this project?
If you have experience in job interviews, conducting this interview with your
stakeholders will not be a problem. As a last tip, although the discussion will be virtual (due to the current pandemic), you should not forget to use good body language. Then please tell us how you are doing!
Maintain good stakeholder management
Once you communicate and interview with the most significant stakeholders, you will have a better overview to make a stakeholder map. In this way, you must identify which stakeholders have the highest level of power and interest in your project.
And also, this is an important step as it allows you to organize your stakeholder map.
It should note that if you have a staff of stakeholders at your disposal, it will much easier to categorize all the stakeholders of your project.
In our example, you will see four quadrants with two significant variables that you must consider: interest and power.
If you still confuse about how to categorize stakeholders, here is a list of the guidelines you should follow in your stakeholder analysis:
High-powered and very interested people: they are the stakeholders that you should prioritize the most. The actions you must do with these types of actors actively involve and attract them regarding the project.
High Power and Less Interested People: Keep these parties involved (as far as you can), and above all, you should keep them satisfied stakeholders, but not so much that they get bored with your message.
Low-power and highly interested people: Stakeholders in this category are often very useful as support for your project. Therefore, you must keep them informed of the news and processes.
People with little power and less interest: with this type of stakeholder, you must keep them under control but not bore them with project information.
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