The Stakeholder Tool

Whether you love, nurture or hate stakeholders, the fact is that they can make or break a project--and a project team should be aware of anyone who has an influence on the project. Usually you start your project with making an inventory of people who have any interest in your project. This may result in a list or (even better) a view of the world around your team.
 
But is that enough? Doing a project is about people working together--and the relationships between them. If we could pinpoint what relationships work for you and those that are more troublesome, you could focus your energy on aspects in your network that make your live hard. This article intends to help you quantify the nature of these key relationships, and help you pinpoint the people you have to focus your energy on--and which ones can help you spread the message.
 
First of all, you need to know the project environment. An effective method is taking a piece of paper and putting the project in the middle. Around the project you can draw circles of related groups: project team, customer, end-users, suppliers, IT department, etc. But just identifying groups is not enough--you need to drill down to specific names. Remember that a project is getting done by people, not groups. A basic stakeholder scheme may look something like this:
 
Fig. 1: …

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"I never thought much of the courage of a lion-tamer. Inside the cage he is at least safe from people."

- George Bernard Shaw

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