Chapter 5. Stakeholder Management

5.2 Stakeholder Analysis

After the initial assessment has been completed, stakeholder prioritization can occur. A power/interest grid would be a very helpful tool for prioritization (Figure 5.1). It helps project managers categorize stakeholders and create effective communication strategies for each category of stakeholder on the project. This tool is one of the most common techniques utilized to group stakeholders according to their level of authority (power) and their level of concern about the project’s activities and outcomes (interest)[1]. Besides the power/interest grid, other techniques can be used such as power/influence grid, impact/influence grid, stakeholder cube, and salience model. In this book, we will not cover these techniques.

Figure 5.1 shows four quadrants of a stakeholder matrix. The horizontal axis has the interest level (low and high). The vertical axis has the power level (high and low).
Figure 5.1. Stakeholder Matrix: Power/Interest Grid and the Strategies to Deal with the Stakeholders

The stakeholder power/interest grid is a two-dimensional matrix with four quadrants. Power refers to the authority of stakeholders through which they can affect the course of activities and decisions and may block or facilitate and accelerate them. Interest refers to stakeholders’ level of concern about the project’s activities and outcomes, and how they are affected by them, either negative or positive. While carrying out the activities to identify stakeholders, we should make our research and investigation thoroughly to determine and prioritize the stakeholders. Some stakeholders would have more power and interest in our project. Therefore, we should identify them, and create a strategy to engage them during the project. These strategies have been indicated in Figure 5.1 for each quadrant based on the level of power and interest.

Properties of each quadrant with the potential stakeholder inside them have been described below:

  1. High power – High interest: These stakeholders are decision-makers and have the biggest impact on the project’s success and hence we must closely manage their expectations[2]. We should work closely with them to ensure that they agree with and support the change[3]. The project sponsor, project manager, and the team can be included in this quadrant.
  2. High power – Low Interest: These stakeholders need to be kept satisfied even though they aren’t interested because they yield power. This type of stakeholders should be dealt with cautiously as well since they may use their power in a not desired way in the project if they become unsatisfied. Government and regulatory agencies which inspect the quality of your work in compliance with legal provisions and standards can be included in this quadrant.
  3. Low power – High interest: We should keep these stakeholders adequately informed and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. They are likely to be very concerned and may feel anxious about a lack of control. They can often be very helpful with the detail of your project. Our customers or end-users who are willing to purchase the outcome of the project (e.g., a product or a service) can be included in this quadrant.
  4. Low power – Low interest: We should monitor these stakeholders, but do not bore them with excessive communication. The public and the customers who are not willing to purchase our products can be included in this quadrant. We can send them newsletters once every month, but not every week. We should monitor their interest and power level in case they may change.

When considering a stakeholder’s interest, we should assess the following:

  • How is their performance evaluated?
  • Will their performance be impacted by the project and/or the project’s outcomes?
  • Are they needed to help produce the project’s outcomes?

When considering a stakeholder’s power, we should assess the following:

  • What position do they currently hold in our organization or their organizations?
  • How much authority does this position afford them over the project?
  • Can they influence people in positions of high power?

Tools such as stakeholder power/interest grid help project managers prioritize stakeholders. Some stakeholders have little interest and little power in a project and as a result, do not require as much contact from the project team. Understanding who these stakeholders are allows the project team to spend more time with the stakeholders that have a significant interest in the project and who exert significant influence over the project. Project teams assess the interest and power of project stakeholders by researching their current positions and their actions in previous change initiatives, and by directly speaking with them about the project.

Below, let’s consider a fictitious case study of a vehicle rental company to elaborate on the stakeholder power/interest grid.

5.2.1        Case Study 5.1: A Vehicle Rental Company’s Project for their Booking System

Our car rental company, Best Rental Company Worldwide (BRCW), has a serious problem. Our booking system crashes frequently. The employees working in the relevant departments, branches, and the call center cannot process the information properly. Besides, there are significant errors in scheduling and pricing while individual and corporate customers are renting vehicles on the company’s website, and when they reach the call center to book a vehicle. The company’s IT director, who is CTO (Chief Technology Officer), asked us to initiate a project that would address the problems, and solve them. First, we should create a business case that should investigate the problem thoroughly. We should figure out the underlying reasons. In order to dig into the reasons, we should first identify the stakeholders to whom we should consult to learn what they experience with the current system, and what their concerns and expectations are. Our team targets to develop a new booking module in the ERP system, a website, and a mobile application our customers will access and use to book vehicles. We identified the stakeholders as follows:

  1. Project manager
  2. Project team members
  3. Project sponsor: IT Director – Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  4. Steering Committee (composed of car rental company managers)
  5. IT Department
  6. HR Department
  7. Sales Department
  8. Marketing Department
  9. Maintenance / Repair Department
  10. Call Center and its managers and employees
  11. Branches across the USA (and their managers and employees)
  12. Branches outside the USA
  13. Individual Customers
  14. Organizational Customers (Corporates that rent vehicles based on a contract with BRCW)
  15. Insurance companies
  16. Travel agencies (including e-commerce agencies such as Expedia)
  17. Vehicle manufacturers
  18. Suppliers of vehicle spare parts and consumables for offices at the central units and branches
  19. Government agencies (e.g., Department of Transportation, US Environmental Protection Agency)
  20. Google Play store (for Android phones and tablets) and App Store (for Apple phones and tablets)
  21. Not-for-profit organizations (e.g., associations that were established to reduce carbon emissions)

Project sponsor, project manager, project team members, steering committee, IT, sales, marketing and maintenance/repair departments, call center, and branches all across the USA are our internal stakeholders that are inside our company, BRCW. Although it may look counterintuitive to include the manager and team members, they are also stakeholders. Indeed, they are the most important stakeholders who have a strong impact on project activities, milestones, decisions, deliverables, outcomes, and the overall project.

Figure 5.2 exhibits a stakeholder power/interest grid for the rental car company's project.
Figure 5.2. Stakeholder Power/Interest Grid for Rental Car Company’s Project  Project Sponsor

The project sponsor is typically the most powerful stakeholder. In our case, CTO is the sponsor. Sponsors have high power and high interest. They are the decision-makers and act as a supervisor and controller of the project. Sponsors often initiate the project by signing off and approving the project charter and authorizing the project manager to form and lead the team, start planning, define the scope, activities, schedule, and risks, and allocate and utilize the budget and resources. A sponsor is the authority superior to the project manager inside the organization and acts as a supervisor and facilitator during the project. A sponsor releases the budget for the team to use for the project activities. If the project client is one of the units of the organization, that is an internal client, the project sponsor also becomes the funder. If the client is outside the organization, this external client becomes the funder while the sponsor should be still inside the organization that is implementing the project. A legal contract is created between the organization (where the project sponsor, project manager, and team are), and the external client (funder). While the contract is a legally binding agreement, we still need a project charter that should be signed by the sponsor who is in our organization where the team resides. The charter should be based on the contract, and it regulates the requirements and resource allocations on the organization’s side. As discussed in Chapter 3 regarding the project charter, the project sponsor can be referred to as the “initiating sponsor.” They have the authority to start and stop the project and will support the achievement of project objectives by removing the barriers to success. They can be regarded as the “external champion” because they often serve as the last escalation point when the project team needs support bringing an off-track project back on track. Successful project teams know how to leverage the power and position of the project sponsor and will proactively ask them to deliver influencing communications throughout the organization in order to maintain the project’s momentum and high morale within the team. Project sponsors can assign one or more sustaining sponsors to act as the “internal champion(s)” of the project. These sponsors are often leaders of the internal departments that are most affected by the project, such as a marketing manager or human resources manager. When the project sponsor selects the sustaining sponsor(s), one of their goals is to ensure that the project team frequently considers the organizational impacts of the changes being introduced. By keeping the sustaining sponsor(s) actively engaged in the project, they will ensure their teams are intently participating in the project and identifying the operational impacts that must be considered in order for the change to be sustained once the project has been completed.  Project Manager and Project Team

The project manager and the team members have high power and high interest since they are responsible for conducting all the teamwork and project activities, and they define and sequence activities, estimate their duration, budget, and resources, identify resources and allocate them, identify and manage risks, and monitor and control all project activities. They are those who are held accountable in the first place for the success of the project. Project managers have to deal with stakeholders external to the organization as well as the internal environment, certainly more complex than what a manager in an internal environment faces. For example, suppliers who are late in delivering crucial parts may blow the project schedule. To compound the problem, project managers generally have little or no direct control over any of these stakeholders. Therefore, it is a challenging process for project managers and the team. We will discuss team management in more detail in Chapter 6.  Top Management and Steering Committee

Top management may include the president of the company, vice-presidents, directors, division managers, and the corporate operating committee. They direct the strategy and development of the organization. Project managers should have top management support, which means it will be easier to recruit the best staff to carry out the project and acquire needed material and resources. Moreover, visibility can enhance a project manager’s professional standing in the company. On the minus side, failure can be quite dramatic and visible to all, and if the project is large as is in our case and expensive, the cost of failure will be more substantial than for a smaller, less visible project. Therefore, while dealing with top management, project managers should develop in-depth plans and major milestones that must be approved by top management during the planning and design phases of the project. They should ask top management associated with the project for their information reporting needs and frequency. They should also develop a status reporting methodology to be distributed on a scheduled basis, and keep them informed of project risks and potential impacts at all times. In our case study, the steering committee which is composed of top managers and their representatives plays a crucial role during the project.  Functional Departments

In our case study, we have functional departments, which are the IT, sales, marketing, and maintenance/repair departments as well as branches all across the USA. In general, central functional units have more authority than the regional offices have. All these units have managers and employees at various hierarchical levels. Among the central units, the IT department is the one that we should work with more closely since the project is directly related to their responsibilities, and most of the human and physical resources we need for the project activities reside in the IT department. Therefore, the IT department has high power and high interest. The project also needs human resources from the sales, marketing, and maintenance departments. We need to consult subject matter experts in these departments. Therefore, these department heads control their resources, and we rely on them. If we have a good relationship with them, they may be able to consistently provide the best staff and the best equipment for our project. Employees from these departments may be in our core team, or they may attend the project activities. Since the booking system directly affects their day-to-day operations, they have a higher interest. However, their power level may not be very high all the time. It may fluctuate from moderately high levels to lower interest levels though it is generally not very low.  Internal Customers: Branches and Call Center

The branches in our case, and also the call center, are the internal customers of our project. They will be the end-users of the new ERP module when our individual customers and employers of our organizational customers visit the branches or call the call center to book a vehicle or to talk about another issue related to the booking (e.g., complaints, roadside assistance). These two categories of internal customers are those who hold the power to accept or reject the deliverables of activities and the overall project when completed. However, they are generally represented by their managers, a product owner, or an inspection and acceptance committee who have high power and naturally very high interest. Therefore, we should place them in the quadrant that makes us manage them closely. Early in the relationship, the project manager will need to negotiate, clarify, and document project specifications and deliverables. After the project begins, the project manager must stay tuned in to the customer’s concerns and issues and keep the customer informed. If call center agents don’t find the new system user-friendly and easy to use, they may resist using it. They must be kept informed frequently, and their feedback should be sought especially in critical decisions. Their resistance and dissatisfaction may lead to rework, which may cause the project to have budget overruns and schedule slippages. This is why continuous user involvement and feedback are crucial during the project to minimize the risk of unacceptance.

While dealing with internal customers, the project manager and the team should pay attention to ensuring clarity about what stakeholders, in particular customers, want precisely. This is a part of product and project scope management. Project managers should assign business and/or systems analysts who can elicit requirements utilizing techniques such as surveys, interviews, focus group meetings, workshops, root and cause analysis, and document analysis. Project managers should be aware of any issues regarding the lack of documentation for what is wanted, lack of knowledge of the customer’s organization and operating characteristics, unrealistic deadlines, budgets, or specifications requested by the customer, hesitancy of the customer to sign off on the project or accept responsibility for decisions, and changes in project scope. As explicated in Chapter 3 “Project Initiation” and Chapter 4 “Project Planning”, project managers should address the needs and expectations of stakeholders such as customers, clients, or owners, and be sure to do the following:

  • Learn the organization’s organizational structure, culture, buzzwords, and business.
  • Clarify all project requirements and specifications in a written agreement.
  • Specify a change procedure clearly in change management and configuration management plans.
  • Establish the project manager as the focal point of communications in the project organization.  External Customers

Providing clarity about what stakeholders want precisely, as explained above for internal customers, is true for external customers too. Business and/or systems analysts should also elicit requirements from external customers by utilizing techniques such as surveys, interviews, focus group meetings, workshops, root and cause analysis, and document analysis. External customers are outside our organization. Therefore, they are within the external stakeholders. In our case, external customers are individual customers (people who rent vehicles for leisure or work) and organizational customers (corporates that rent vehicles based on a contract). When we finalize our project, they can book the rental vehicles on our website and mobile app, call the call center to reserve a vehicle or talk about another issue related to the booking (e.g., complaints, roadside assistance) or they can visit a branch to reserve, pick up or return a rental vehicle. Organizational customers, in general, have a contractual relationship with our company as they regularly and frequently rent vehicles with better prices and conditions. They will be interested in our new booking system since a more effective system helps them have a smoother process with minimum flaws. Most of the individual customers may not be frequent customers. They may pursue lower prices by comparing the prices based on the vehicle type. Therefore, their interest in our new system may not be high most of the time. We can name them as occasional individual customers. However, the customers who rent their vehicles from our company regularly may be interested in our project, and they may be willing to receive newsletters, for example, once every month in their email accounts. The power level for both individual and organizational customers would be low since they don’t have the authority and decision-making authority to significantly affect the course of the project (Figure 5.2).  External Stakeholders

In our case, individual customers (see, organizational customers (see, mobile app stores, insurance companies, travel agencies (including e-commerce agencies), vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations are our external stakeholders.

An important stakeholder group in our case would be two common mobile application stores – Android’s Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Our mobile app developers and testers will use their SDKs (Software Development Kits), and they should authenticate the app before it can be used by the customers on their smartphones. There will be also standards such as regarding privacy and security that we need to comply with. Thus, these two stores will have high power in our project. However, their interest level may not be high as they are not impacted by this project and its outcomes. We should keep them satisfied by complying with their standards, and terms and conditions.

Government and regulatory agencies are generally considered to have high power and low interest if they have an inspection and approval authority in the project. Project managers working in certain heavily regulated environments (e.g., pharmaceutical, banking, or military industries) will have to deal with government regulators and departments. These can include all or some levels of government from municipal, provincial, federal, to international. Besides, constructors are subject to permits and inspections from the local (city and county offices such as Public Works, Fire, and Health Departments) and federal agencies regarding the quality and legal standards they need to adhere to in their constructions (e.g., building permits, fire evacuation plan, fire and smoke equipment, safety). This is why these agencies’ power level is high. In our case, government agencies were listed as the Department of Transportation and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Although these agencies may perform controls and inspections, and release permits for our operations, they may not have power and interest in our booking system. Thus, they are inside the low-power and low-interest quadrant in Figure 5.2. If there is a function or condition that need to be added to our system, and these agencies should approve before we make the system available, then we can include them inside the high-power and low-interest quadrant.

In our booking system project, we also have not-for-profit organizations such as associations that were established to reduce carbon emissions. Similar to government agencies in our case, these organizations may not have power in our project. However, they may have a low or moderate level of interest since the system could include the fuel efficiency rates for each car. In Figure 5.2, they were placed within the low-power and low-interest quadrant.

Insurance companies and travel agencies may be interested in our new booking system since some of them have an ongoing contractual relationship with our company. When a customer wants to rent a vehicle, they can select an insurance plan during their rental time. Travel agencies, and/or travel websites (e.g., Expedia, Priceline) communicate with our company’s system to check the availability of our rental cars. Therefore, both insurance companies and travel agencies may be interested in our project. However, their power level would be at a low level as they don’t have the decision-making authority to affect the project activities.

Another stakeholder would be vehicle manufacturers from which our company, BRCW, purchases the vehicles to rent to the customers. Although they have a high interest in our vehicle portfolio, and they have an ongoing relationship with our company, they may not have a high-level interest in the booking system. Indeed, vehicle manufacturers prefer their vehicles to appear in the booking system with high-quality pictures and accurate technical information. This is why they may have a moderate level of interest in our booking system. They would be willing to see the same look and feel or the picture and information quality available in our current system. Therefore, they were placed in the low-power and high-interest quadrant in Figure 5.2. We can also use the maintenance and service points of these vehicle manufacturers. However, this wouldn’t be related to the booking system.

Another stakeholder, suppliers of vehicle spare parts and consumables for offices at the central units and branches, wouldn’t have a high interest in our booking system. They may have a moderate level of interest in the functions and conditions in our ERP module if spare parts and consumables are included. Neither do they have power in our project. Many projects heavily depend on goods provided by outside suppliers. This is true for example of construction projects where lumber, nails, brick, and mortar come from outside suppliers. If the supplied goods are delivered late or in short supply or of poor quality or if the price is greater than originally quoted, the project may suffer. Therefore, their interest level would be high. However, in our case, their interest level wouldn’t be high. Hence, they were replaced in the low-power and low-interest quadrant in Figure 5.2.

We didn’t include any contractors in our case study. However, there are times when organizations don’t have in-house expertise. Thus, available resources and work is farmed out to contractors or subcontractors for the whole project or some of the activities. In a construction project, these subcontractors may be consultants, electricians, carpenters, and architects. Managing them requires many of the skills needed to manage full-time project team members. We may have problems with them regarding the quality of the work, cost overruns, and schedule slippage.

5.2.2        Case Study 5.2: Grocery LLC’s Mobile-Commerce Project

In Chapter 3 of this textbook, we created a project charter in the initiation phase of Grocery LLC’s mobile e-commerce project. The stakeholders specified in this charter under “9. Key Stakeholder List” are below. Besides, project team members who are indicated under “12. Project Team” in Chapter 3 have been included in the list below.

  1. Project manager (Senior Systems Analyst)
  2. Project team members (The core team)
    1. Project manager: Senior systems analyst
    2. Two systems (business) analysts
    3. Two UI/UX designers
    4. Three developers (including Android and IOS developers, and the backend developer)
    5. Two testers (quality assurance engineers)
    6. Two sales and marketing experts
  3. Project sponsor (Chief Operations Officer – COO)
  4. Product owner (The representative from the operational department who was assigned by the COO)
  5. IT Department
  6. Sales Department
  7. Marketing Department
  8. HR Department
  9. Store managers and employees
  10. Suppliers
  11. Online customers
  12. Customers who visit the stores in person
  13. Government agencies that announce the pandemic restrictions
  14. Google Play and App Store for the mobile application

The stakeholders have been placed on the grid as illustrated in Figure 5.3. Different from Figure 5.2, this grid shows each stakeholder with dots inside their quadrants. We should always keep in mind that the location of each dot should be justified, and they don’t indicate a GPS location so that they provide a comparison of their locations with other stakeholders.

Figure 5.3 exhibits the stakeholder power/interest grid for Grocery LLC's mobile commerce project.
Figure 5.3. Stakeholder Power/Interest Grid for Mobile Commerce Project

High Power – High Interest Quadrant

We have explained in Case Study 1.1 that the project sponsor, project manager, and project team are placed in this quadrant. The product owner in the m-commerce project of Grocery LLC is a representative from the operational department who was assigned by the COO. This person represents the interests of the internal client, and the priority of the product specification is managed and directed by this person. Therefore, the product owner has a high authority to affect the course of the project, and naturally, their interest is at a very high level from the very beginning to the very end of the project, extending beyond the completion of the project. Let’s assume that two store managers will be assigned to the inspection committee that will assess the performance measures of the mobile application to grant acceptance. In any case, whether they are at the committee or not, store managers are directly affected by the activities and outcome of this project. Finally, the IT Department will be the main functional unit that will coordinate this project’s technical activities (programming, testing, deployment), and assign systems (business) analysts, UI/UX designers, developers (including Android and IOS developers, and the backend developer), and testers if these human resources are available in this department. If they are not available, the IT department will start a recruitment process through the HR department.

High Power – Low Interest Quadrant

Similar to Case Study 1.1, mobile application stores, Android’s Google Play and Apple’s App Store, would have high power in this project. Developers and testers in this project will use their SDKs (Software Development Kits), and they should authenticate the app before it can be used by the customers on their smartphones. Thus, we should keep them satisfied by complying with their standards, and terms and conditions. During the project, we should keep an eye on the announcements made by the government agencies regarding the pandemic. Modifications or new restrictions may affect the ongoing activities, and challenge the allocation of human and physical resources. The fourth stakeholder in this quadrant would be the HR department. Although the HR department may not have high interest, their power level could be higher due to the fact that the recruitment process should be carried out through them as explained above in the “high power – high interest quadrant”.

Low Power – High Interest Quadrant

As indicated in the “high power – high interest quadrant”, store managers’ interest will be high as their stores will need to manage the online orders. They will also be interested in the features of this application and its store interface since the store employees will need a user-friendly application to process the orders smoothly. Therefore, employees are expected to have a high-level interest in this project. Although both managers’ and employees’ power to influence the project activities and outcomes wouldn’t be high, we can still expect a moderate level of power because of their key role in the process. In the headquarters of Grocery LLC, sales and marketing departments are expected to have a high interest in this project. Actually, both departments will provide human resources directly in the project team. Besides, the mobile application’s content and its marketing tools will be managed by these two departments. Finally, we can place online customers in this quadrant as the end-users of the mobile app. The project team should elicit these stakeholders’ expectations from the app while creating, validating, and finalizing the requirements of the app.

Low power – Low Interest Quadrant

In this case study, we have two stakeholder groups in this quadrant. Suppliers have a key and frequent relationship with the grocery chain. However, their interest would be mostly on the supply chain management system through which they communicate with the chain and the intermediaries to dispatch the items ordered by the stores. Increased sales by means of the mobile app would benefit suppliers. However, the relationship with the grocery chain depends on the agreements and contracts independent of the mobile application. Nevertheless, we can still expect a moderate level of interest in this project. The second stakeholder group in this project would be customers who prefer visiting the stores in person, and hence who don’t think of using the mobile app. Their interest level can be at a minimum level.

5.2.3        Stakeholder Register

In order to have a better picture of stakeholders, we should have a stakeholder register accompanied by the power/interest grid we delineated above. This register should include information about all our stakeholders, both key and those with low interest and low power. Table 5.1 illustrates an example of a stakeholder register based on our case study about a rental vehicle booking system implemented at BRCW.

Table 5.1. Stakeholder Register
ID Stakeholder Name, Title, and Contact Information Organization Name Power Level (H/M/L) Interest Level (H/M/L) Current Level of Support Level of Support Required Risk Rating (H/M/L) Related Stakeholders Issues & Concerns Engagement Strategy & Tactics
1 Project Sponsor


BRCW H H Supports Actively Supports Actively L
  • Project Team
  • Steering Committee
  • IT Department
Committed to the project and wants to ensure the external resources the organization provides deliver on expectations. Should be managed closely.

Signs off the project charter and the plan, and authorizes the project manager.

Releases the budget and resources.

Very frequent communication.

2 Google Play Store Google (Android) H L Neutral Supports M
  • App Store
  • Project Team
Should authenticate our app before it can be used by our customers on their smartphones.

Google Play’s SDK will be used.

App features, privacy, and security issues should be complied with.

New apps must target at least Android 11 (API level 30).

Google Play guidelines must be followed for compliance.
3 Organizational Customer Company X L H Opposes Supports H
  • Project Team
  • Sales Department
  • Call Center
  • Branches
Company X managers raised some issues in the recent meetings to terminate the contract with BRCW.

They don’t think that BRCW can create a new effective app.

The project team and sales department must communicate with this stakeholder’s top management frequently to show BRCW’s commitment to this project.

Each increment of the website and mobile app should be shown to receive feedback.

4 Occasional individual customers NA L L Neutral Supports L
  • Project Team
  • Call Center
  • Branches
They try to find the most affordable price among many rental companies’ offers. The new booking system should be optimized to show the best offers to these customers.

Level of support (either current or desired) can be evaluated in five levels[4]:

  1. Supports Actively: Anticipates and feels the need for change, actively works with the project team.
  2. Supports: Anticipates and feels the need for change, but does not involve in the project team.
  3. Neutral – Neither supporting nor opposing.
  4. Opposes – Neither feels the need for change nor tries to prevent the change.
  5. Opposes Actively – Doesn’t see the need for change, actively working to prevent the change.

In some cases, it isn’t uncommon for project managers to be working with stakeholders that are not supportive of the project. They may feel the project is not going to benefit them or their organizations. They may also resist making the changes that are necessary to support the project’s outcomes. Some stakeholders are very upfront about their resistance and others are not. In these situations, the project sponsor may be integral to winning these stakeholders over. Knowing when to tactfully involve others in stakeholder management is another key success factor for effective project management.

Stakeholders are critical factors to be taken into account while identifying the risks. Their risk rating helps the team determine individual and overall project risks. The project manager and the team should use judgment in deciding how to handle each stakeholder by evaluating their current and desired support level, the potential impact on the project activities, decisions and outcomes, and their issues and concerns regarding the project and other stakeholders. The role of stakeholders in identifying and managing risks will be discussed in Chapter 10.

Stakeholders may convey their issues regarding the project explicitly or implicitly. Therefore, the team should attempt to analyze and list what kind of issues and concerns are available and may emerge during the implementation of the project. Based on all the inputs discussed, the team should carry out brainstorming sessions and come up with strategies for the stakeholders whose lack of support significantly might impact the project’s success, how to gain their support, and how to engage them effectively in the project. Table 5.1 includes issues and concerns with four stakeholders in the rental booking system project, and engagement strategy and tactics.

Furthermore, we should consider the relationship among stakeholders. Can we improve the project’s chances by working with those who support us to improve the views of those who oppose? Therefore, as indicated in Table 5.1, it would be helpful for the team to have information regarding the relationships among the stakeholders. For example, related stakeholders have been indicated as the project team, sales department, call center, and branches for organizational customers.

A stakeholder register is a living document that should be reassessed regularly as is done for other plans and documents such as risk register and issue log (see Chapter 10). Thus, the project team should assign some time in their weekly or monthly meetings to discuss whether revisions are required to do in the stakeholder register. Stakeholders’ power and interest levels, support levels, risk ratings, issues and concerns, and accordingly engagement strategies and tactics could change throughout the project. Besides, new stakeholders may be added later. This process is discussed in 5.3 “Managing and Monitoring Stakeholders”.    Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

Another data representation tool that can be used is a Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix. It can also be incorporated into the stakeholder register. In Table 5.1 above, the level of support was indicated in five levels: (1) Supports actively, (2) supports, (3) neutral, (4) opposes, and (5) opposes actively[5]. Besides this, another matrix can be used as detailed in the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition. C indicates the current engagement level whereas D indicates desired level.

Table 5.2 Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix (Adopted from PMBOK Guide 6th Edition)
Stakeholder ID Unaware Resistant Neutral Supportive Leading
1 C D
2 C D
3 C D

*C: Current, D: Desired

As indicated in Table 5.2, stakeholders are evaluated based on five levels of engagement. They may be unaware of the project and its potential impacts. They may be aware of the project and potential impacts but resistant to any changes that may occur as a result of the work or outcomes of the project. These stakeholders will be unsupportive of the work or outcomes of the project. When stakeholders are aware of the project but neither supportive nor unsupportive, we can classify them as neutral. When they are aware of the project and potential impacts and supportive of the work and its outcomes, we can classify them as supportive. Eventually, stakeholders are classified as leading when they are aware of the project and potential impacts and actively engaged in ensuring that the project is a success.    Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RACI Chart)

Another data representation technique that can be used to illustrate each team member’s and relevant stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities in each project activity can be a responsibility assignment matrix. It shows the project resources assigned to each work package (lowest level activities in a WBS). One of the common responsibility assignment matrices is RACI (responsible, accountable, consult, and inform) chart. A RACI chart is a useful tool to ensure clear assignment of roles and responsibilities when the team consists of internal and external resources[6]. As seen in Table 5.3, a RACI chart displays the activities associated with team members and stakeholders.

In order to avoid confusion about who is ultimately in charge of supervision and/or decision-making for an activity, there should be only one person associated with accountability[7]. A role that is “Accountable” has the final authority or accountability for the task’s completion. This role is generally assumed by the project sponsor, project manager, or a supervisor or team members delegated by the project manager for an activity. As seen in Table 5.3, for each activity, we have only one role that assumes an accountability role. For example, in the “Collect Requirements” activity, Jim is the team member who is responsible for coordinating the whole activity and/or performing the tasks directly. Jim can consult Jane and Anna who may be subject matter experts who have a substantial amount of experience and knowledge or those who are affected significantly by the activity and have an interest in this activity and the overall project. Thus, Jim can interview Jane and Anna, and learn about their needs, expectations, and concerns. Mary can be the project manager or the supervisor in the team that audits and approves the activity and its deliverables. Tom could be a stakeholder with high interest and low power. We should keep him informed about what is going on in this activity. We can also receive feedback from Tom to improve the tasks in this activity.

Table 5.3 RACI Chart
Team Member or Stakeholder
Activity Jim Mary Chris Jane Anna Tom
Plan Scope Management A R R I C C
Collect Requirements R A I C C I
Define Scope A R R I C C
Create WBS A R R R I


  1. Project Management Institute. (2017). A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK guide) (6th ed.). Project Management Institute.
  3. International Institute of Business Analysis. (2015). A guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK Guide), version 3.0. Toronto, Ont: International Institute of Business Analysis.
  4. Anupam (n.d.). Stakeholder Analysis Register. Retrieved from
  5. Anupam (n.d.). Stakeholder Analysis Register. Retrieved from
  6. Project Management Institute. (2017). A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK guide) (6th ed.). Project Management Institute.
  7. Project Management Institute. (2017). A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK guide) (6th ed.). Project Management Institute.


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Project Management by Abdullah Oguz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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