Stakeholder analysis is the main building block of starting the plan for any project. You’re going to be analyzing everything in this process: identifying and prioritizing rights-holders, communities, interested parties, and anyone who is going to be impacted by the project, particularly when the ‘duty to consult’ is mandated for the project when Indigenous groups are involved.
Ensuring you analyze your stakeholders and rights-holders at the start will save you so much time in the long run.
Understanding relevant stakeholders, rights-holders and opinion-leaders at this point helps to identify the prospects and potential challenges for dialogue and change. You will be able to:
- Understand the issues that matter to the people and communities you’re impacting
- Place all in tiers based on their rights, interest, impact, etc.
- See how the different groupings will actually influence and speak to each other
- See risks and be able to mitigate them before you even begin planning
But what’s the gain?
To some project managers, stakeholder analysis can seem more beneficial to stakeholders instead of the team that’s leading, but in reality the value is very high. Putting your stakeholders in tiers lets you understand that not every stakeholder has the same level of impact by, or interest in, your project – or requires the same level of engagement.
That way, you won’t be wasting time focusing on stakeholders who don’t want to be as involved, or over-explaining your goals to stakeholders who are already signed on. Stakeholder analysis can also help you figure out what communication methods will work best for the people connected to your project.
You’ll do your analysis to start, but it’s also something that is ongoing for the entirety of the project. To begin, you can pick a specific matrix to plot all your stakeholders. But no matter how you approach it, you’ll likely follow these guidelines:
- Determine who your stakeholders are. Look at the people you are contacting, Indigenous groups, the community members, the public, political motivators, etc.
- Assess: look at their interest levels, how much they know about the project. Are they in, or are they opposed?
- Group them: put stakeholders in similar tiers if they seem like they’re approaching from similar interests and engagement.
- Then figure out your best way to communicate with each. Who are the legitimate community representatives? How will you approach them? This will lead into your further Stakeholder Plan.
Who are your stakeholders?
That first step can be a daunting one, especially when you are dealing with a complex group who are affected by your project. Make sure you have covered all the bases.
If you have a comb through a history of projects, take a look into your databases for the names that you think might be affected and relevant, or projects similar to yours and the indigenous groups, people and communities attached.
Rely on your people too. Ask members of your team: Who are you liaising with that needs to be part of this list? Where are the gaps in who we’re reaching out to? Who did we forget so far?
Then understand their motivations. Look out for what these stakeholders and rights-holders care about, and just think big. Almost everything could have an influence on the people attached.
- Identifying stakeholders and rights-holders
- Building stakeholder trust
- Gaining credibility required for implementation
- Understanding the context of the project/issue with respect to stakeholders
- Identifying external influencing factors
There are so many things you can take into account with stakeholder analysis. The sky can be the limit. In the end you will have a good understanding of who are the primary and secondary stakeholders, what systems should be in place and how you can impact stakeholder participation.
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