Stakeholders in a project are the people (internal and external) on whom the work will impact.
Not all stakeholders are equal – you need to prioritise stakeholders so that you can apply the maximum available time to core stakeholders and the minimum required to those with low interest or little influence or power.
Interest reflects their interest in pursuing your agenda and strategy in relation to your project’s policy, locality, issue and campaign. Is it a core objective for them or merely one of many?
Power represents the influence they can have on the project in question, e.g.
- Status – their position in the hierarchy
- Resources – control of people, budgets etc
- Representation – main or business level board member
- Reputation – key opinion former
High power, interested people: these are the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy.
High power, less interested people: put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.
Low power, interested people: keep these people adequately informed, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. These people can often be very helpful with the detail of your project.
Low power, less interested people: again, monitor these people, but do not bore them with excessive communication.
It is important to identify which stakeholders matter the most and which have the most impact (positive or negative).
Neither interest nor power are scientific measures, you will need to draw upon different views to make the best possible assessment.