A guide to stakeholder mapping & how to use it

Stakeholder Mapping

What is stakeholder mapping?

Stakeholders are the heart of any successful business endeavor. They play a crucial role in the success or failure of any enterprise. For this reason, understanding, identifying, and managing them is key to minimizing risk and ensuring the success of your project. That’s where stakeholder mapping comes in.

Stakeholder mapping is the process of identifying, analyzing, and evaluating the needs of stakeholders interested in or impacting a project. The objective of stakeholder mapping is to identify and analyze the stakeholders in a project and their relative importance and influence. This mapping type helps people working on a project understand who they are and their respective roles, interests, and objectives. Moreover, stakeholder mapping is crucial for business strategy and decision-making because it helps you prioritize target populations and resources while highlighting areas of conflict or resistance.

Stakeholder mapping often includes creating a visual map of power relationships between different groups and helps to develop strategies for engaging with them. This process helps project managers determine who needs to be involved in ensuring the outcome is satisfactory for everyone concerned.

Ready to create a stakeholder map? Sign up for free 30-day trial of MindManager.

8 types of stakeholders

Stakeholders are any individuals, organizations, or groups that can affect the activities of an organization. The key to stakeholder analysis is to identify and then understand the different groups touched by the project.

The different types of stakeholders include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Senior management
  • Business partners
  • Customers
  • Financers
  • Employees
  • Suppliers
  • Government
  • Local community

These stakeholders have different interests in an organization, and their involvement largely depends on their relationship with the organization.

For example, there are:

  • External stakeholders are groups or individuals outside of your organization.
  • Internal stakeholders are groups or individuals within your organization.

Examples of external stakeholders include:

  • Shareholders are interested in making a profit and are therefore interested in the company's performance and potential revenue.
  • Customers need to receive quality services from the company, affecting their willingness to purchase products.
  • Suppliers are essential for providing resources necessary for production, while the government is interested in ensuring tax compliance and adequate regulation.
  • Local communities require that companies safeguard their environment from degradation caused by corporate activities.

Examples of internal stakeholders include:

  • Employees rely on fair wages, other benefits for their survival, and working conditions demanded by law.
  • Top management’s expertise and accomplishments directly affect the success of a company’s performance.

Stakeholder analysis 

The goals of stakeholder analysis are to identify who has an interest in the project, assess how the project will affect them, and understand their overall objectives.

Stakeholder Analysis

To begin creating a stakeholder analysis, you’ll want to identify your stakeholders and research their department, role, and location.

Here, you should analyze their influence, interests, and relationship to the project. This will allow you to use the most effective strategies to engage them.

Other factors to consider during stakeholder analysis include:

  • What are the relationships between the stakeholder groups and individuals?
  • What are their perceived benefits of this project?
  • Who are the key opinion leaders?
  • What are their motivations for contributing to or supporting your project?
  • Are there any barriers to this group participating?

Once stakeholders have been identified, and their interests understood, you can develop communication strategies to maximize cooperation.

Finally, monitoring and updating your analysis throughout the project's lifetime is vital to ensure all stakeholders' voices are heard.

This final step helps create beneficial outcomes for everyone involved in the project.

5 steps to creating a stakeholder map with MindManager

Use these 5 steps to create a stakeholder map that will help you to ensure that your project succeeds:

1. Sign in to your MindManager account.

Step 1

2. Define the overall purpose of your stakeholder map.

Before beginning your stakeholder map, you’ll need to define its purpose.

Are you creating a new product?

Are you entering a new market?

What information will you include on your map?

When this is sorted out, you can proceed to the next step.

3. Explore and identify who your stakeholders are.

During this step, you should brainstorm with the rest of your team.

When identifying stakeholders, consider everyone involved (both internally and externally) in all aspects of the process.

Step 3

4. Define the goals, interests, and involvement of each stakeholder.

Now that you’ve defined your stakeholders, you can begin to discover their wants and needs.

You’ll want to represent their goals, interests, and level of involvement in your analysis.

What does each stakeholder want to gain from your project? What are the goals they want to achieve? What are some of the concerns or issues with the project?

You’ll need to figure out what level of involvement each stakeholder has throughout the process.

The three levels of involvement include:

  • High-involvement stakeholders are people with significant interest in your project or organization who could be critically affected by its success or failure.
  • Medium-involvement stakeholders are moderately interested in your project or organization but not as much as high-involvement stakeholders.
  • Low-involvement stakeholders have a minimal interest in your project or organization and won't be hugely impacted by the outcome.

5. Design and develop your engagement plan.

Once you have all the necessary stakeholder information, you can start designing your engagement plan and stakeholder map.

MindManager offers several mapping templates that you can use to facilitate your stakeholder analysis.

Step 5

For example, you can easily manipulate MindManager’s free radial template, concept maps, or spider diagrams to show valuable stakeholder information.

You can track each stakeholder’s power level, engagement, and interest in your responsibilities using text markers.

From here, you can start to develop the proper strategies to generate interest and build support for the initiative of your stakeholders.

In the radial template, you can use map markers and filters to quickly identify the key stakeholders that need the most care and attention, the ones that you need to keep informed, and the others that you need to stay satisfied with.

Why stakeholder engagement is important

Engaging with stakeholders effectively requires both targeted communications strategies and relationship building.

Communication must be tailored to each stakeholder's specific needs and desires.

This should include:

  • Listening to their opinions
  • Responding promptly
  • Soliciting feedback
  • Keeping them informed of project progress or changes
  • Providing updates as needed

Stakeholders must develop strong emotional connections with the project or organization by cultivating relationships with key team members.

It is crucial for stakeholders to create meaningful connections with customers through surveys, focus groups, and customer service initiatives.

By engaging in these tactics, organizations can ensure that stakeholder interests are considered throughout the process of their projects.

How do you engage with stakeholders effectively?

Engaging and interacting with stakeholders is key to a successful project. It involves using active communication, clear expectations, and understanding their needs.

An effective way to engage with stakeholders is by engaging in regular meetings. You can outline your mission and objectives to help them stay informed and involved.

Understanding and incorporating their preferences into decision-making is also essential when engaging stakeholders.

Start stakeholder mapping with MindManager

Creating a stakeholder map doesn’t have to be a challenge. When you use MindManager, you can easily capture all the important information needed to ensure your stakeholders and accounted for.

These visual and customizable maps can make it simpler for you and your team to stay on track and reach your business goals.

Ready to create a stakeholder map? Sign up for free 30-day trial of MindManager.

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