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Make a success of your stakeholder analysis

in Business Analysis, Business Analysis, Project Management

Stakeholder analysis is an essential step in Project Management. It enables us to identify and understand the people, groups or organizations that can influence or be influenced by the project. The main challenge of this analysis is to ensure the buy-in and support of stakeholders throughout the project. Without good stakeholder management, a project is likely to encounter resistance, misunderstandings or even failure.

Criteria for a successful stakeholder analysis include early and accurate identification of stakeholders, a thorough understanding of their expectations and interests, and the development of effective communication and engagement strategies. Monitoring and adjusting the approach according to feedback and changing project dynamics is crucial. A successful analysis leads to better management of expectations, reduced risk of conflict and increased chances of project success.

How to carry out a successful stakeholder analysis

To carry out this analysis, it is first necessary to identify all relevant stakeholders. This includes customers, end-users, subject matter experts, regulators, sponsors and any other person or group who may be affected by or have an influence on the project.

To identify stakeholders, it’s essential to start with an exploratory analysis through interviews, observations and documentary analysis. Examination of organizational charts can reveal key relationships within the organization. Analysis of the documentation of processes, systems and procedures, if available, provides a deeper understanding of the interactions and dependencies that can affect the project. It’s important to note that stakeholder analysis never stops; it must be carried out throughout the project to adapt to changes and new information.

Create an overview of stakeholders

The next step is to classify stakeholders according to their influence and interest in the project. Using tools such as the power/interest matrix and the RACI matrix helps clarify their roles and responsibilities. For a more detailed understanding, tools such as the empathy map are useful for analyzing stakeholder attitudes, expectations and needs. The onion diagram visualizes the different layers of stakeholders, from those directly involved to those indirectly affected. The stakeholder engagement matrix helps plan and manage interactions and engagement strategies, identifying how and when each stakeholder should be involved. It is important to analyze these aspects to understand the position of stakeholders vis-à-vis the project and adapt actions accordingly.

These representations serve as the basis for essential discussions between the project sponsor, the project manager and the business analyst. They allow us to benefit from each other’s different perspectives to gain a more complete view of the issues at stake. By analyzing this information together, these players can determine the best ways of accessing stakeholders. This collaboration is particularly crucial when important stakeholders are outside the initial scope of the project, to ensure that their needs and expectations are taken into account.

Systematic stakeholder engagement

The next step is to draw up a stakeholder engagement plan. This plan, often formalized as a detailed document or dashboard, describes how and when to interact with each stakeholder. It includes communication strategies adapted to each group to ensure their participation and support throughout the project. To do this, tools such as meeting calendars, Project Management platforms and stakeholder management software can be used. These tools facilitate the organization of workshops, meetings, questionnaires and interviews, enabling us to gather information and maintain an open dialogue.

Finally, it’s vital to actively manage stakeholder expectations by clearly communicating project objectives, progress and changes. Transparency about risks and constraints helps avoid misunderstandings. It is also useful to prepare strategies for resolving conflicts that may arise between stakeholders, facilitating communication and seeking compromise where necessary.

Monitoring stakeholders from the outset also helps to identify change management needs early on, and to detect potential resistance to change. By engaging stakeholders from the outset, we can understand their concerns and expectations, making it easier to implement appropriate change management strategies. This not only minimizes resistance, but also encourages buy-in and acceptance of new initiatives, ensuring a smoother, more successful transition for the project.

For stakeholders who are numerous but not very active in the project, located in the low-power, high-impact quadrant, it’s important to keep them informed and engaged without investing a disproportionate amount of time. Rather than relying on traditional tools like newsletters and periodic e-mail updates, which are often ignored, it’s more effective to organize open discussion meetings. For example, a stand on the way to the canteen or brown-bag lunches for those most interested can encourage more active engagement. Using these informal, interactive approaches helps maintain their interest and support in a more dynamic and engaging way. Complementing this, the use of collaborative online platforms where these stakeholders can access relevant information at their convenience can also help keep them involved and informed without requiring constant interaction. These platforms enable a “pull” access model, where stakeholders can consult information whenever they wish.

Your success with stakeholder analysis

With these elements, you’ll have a successful stakeholder analysis. By combining rigorous identification, precise classification, structured engagement and proactive management of expectations and conflicts, you’ll ensure smooth, effective collaboration. Applying these techniques and tools will enable you to navigate the complex dynamics of your project with confidence, guaranteeing its success.

With these elements, you’ll have a successful stakeholder analysis. By combining rigorous identification, precise classification, structured engagement and proactive management of expectations and conflicts, you’ll ensure smooth, effective collaboration. Applying these techniques and tools will enable you to navigate the complex dynamics of your project with confidence, guaranteeing its success.

Stakeholder analysis is an integral part of our “Business Analysis – Methods and Tools” course. This training course enables you to immediately apply the tools and techniques you’ve learned on the job. It is the first step towards internationally recognized certifications such as IIBA (ECBA, CCBA and CBAP), PMI-PBA and IQBBA. Register now to strengthen your Business Analysis skills.

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