Stakeholder maps are used by designers and researchers to visually summarise and communicate the relationships between all those involved in a particular activity or project. Stakeholder analysis is used in project management to further understand and manage the needs and concerns of all relevant stakeholders, by identifying those affected and evaluating their influence, impact and attitudes toward the activity or project.In any project, including design projects, it is important to identify all those who have a stake in the outcomes in order to properly scope and evaluate the project. Stakeholder maps provide a visual guide for project teams to help communicate to all vested interests, including those who benefit, those who hold power, those who might be adversely affected and those who may seek to stop it. Stakeholders can be identified by groups, general roles, specific roles and individual people, building information into an organised structure, including groupings and hierarchies. Such maps may be iterated over time as a project evolves.
Stakeholder analysis takes this process one step further by analysing the attitudes of the stakeholders towards the project or activity, and is often used in the preparation stage of projects to assess and manage the attitudes of relevant constituents. Typically, analysis might focus on the power or influence of each stakeholder (organisation, group, individual) and their interest in or attitudes toward the project or activity, which are then summarised as a 2×2 matrix or grid. There are various versions of such grids such as the influence-interest grid, the power-imapct grid and the power-interest grid. Stakeholders are mapped onto the grid and then actions identified against each stakeholder in order to manage their impact on the project and ensure its success.
For example, those with high influence but low interest (top-left in the above grid), can be engaged and consulted around their area of interest to try and increase their interest and move them across to the right. Those with high influence and interest (top-right) are the key players to focus on and should be involved in key decisions and regularly consulted. Those with low influence and low interest (bottom left), can be kept informed with general emails and updates. Finally, those with low influence but high interest (bottom-right) should be used to help in low risk decision and consulted on their specific areas of interest. They can also be used as supporters for leverage where they have specific influence.
Stakeholder maps and analysis can help the process of managing any project or activity, especially where there are diverse interests and potentially difficulties Knowing who and how to influence can help any designer or researcher to get things done.
Universal Methods of Design by Martin & Hanington