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Project management ABC: S for Stakeholder Mapping

The key to effective communication and collaboration

Project management ABC: S for Stakeholder Mapping

The supervisor urges the project to be completed quickly so that it remains within the specified time frame. At the same time, the sponsor wants the project not to exceed the budget and the customer demands the highest possible quality. As a project manager, it can be difficult to keep an eye on the often conflicting interests of different stakeholders and implement a project accordingly. Stakeholder mapping can help to maintain an overview of the various interest groups and their expectations, as well as to derive suitable strategies for dealing with the individual stakeholders.

What is Stakeholder Mapping?

As a project manager, it is essential to understand the importance of stakeholders for the success of a project. Stakeholders are the people or groups who have a legitimate interest in a project or who are affected or influenced by a project. These can be internal stakeholders, such as employees or an internal client, but also external stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, regulatory authorities, the media, the public, or investors.
Identifying and involving the right stakeholders in the project is crucial to ensure effective communication and collaboration with all interest groups. Only if the needs, concerns and expectations of all stakeholders are known and taken into account can conflicts be avoided and acceptance of the project increased.
Stakeholder mapping is a process that helps project managers to identify and analyze all relevant stakeholders of a project to understand their influence on the project. It enables project managers to get a clear picture of which stakeholders are most affected by the project and how they can best be involved.

Advantages of Stakeholder Mapping

The advantages of stakeholder mapping are manifold. Firstly, it helps to better understand the needs and expectations of stakeholders. This enables the project manager to tailor communication and collaboration to the needs of the individual stakeholders.
Secondly, stakeholder mapping enables potential conflicts or resistance to be identified at an early stage. By taking into account the different interests and power relations of the stakeholders, targeted measures can be taken to avoid or resolve conflicts. Stakeholder mapping thus helps to prevent the project from failing.

The stakeholder mapping process

The stakeholder mapping process consists of five steps:

1. Identify stakeholders:

First of all, all relevant stakeholders must be identified – from investors and employees, to customers and suppliers, to the media or even politicians. No relevant interest group should be overlooked. Depending on the project, a comprehensive stakeholder analysis can be carried out. However, the following questions can also help to identify all stakeholders:

  • Who is interested in the project and its outcome?
  • Who benefits from the project? Who could be disadvantaged by the project?
  • Who is financially involved in the project?
  • Who is professionally involved?
  • Who could be disturbed by the project?

2. Understand and evaluate stakeholders:

Once the stakeholders have been identified, it is important to understand their interests, needs, and expectations. This can be achieved through interviews, surveys or other forms of stakeholder analysis. The information should be collected and documented in a structured way to enable later evaluation and the derivation of a strategy. In addition, this analysis helps to understand which stakeholders are particularly important, as not every interest group has the same influence or is positively disposed toward the project. Influence, power, and likelihood of conflict have proven to be useful criteria for evaluating stakeholders.

Influence / power Probability of conflict
Does the stakeholder have the power…
… to promote the project?
… to cause the project to fail?
… to influence the opinion of other stakeholders?
Does the stakeholder…
…have an advantage or disadvantage from the project?
… have goals that correspond or contradict those of the project?
… communicate a positive or negative attitude towards the project?

3. Creation of the stakeholder matrix:

The stakeholder matrix helps to visualize the results of the analysis. This matrix consists of four fields in which the stakeholders are entered based on the criteria. This allows project managers to quickly identify which stakeholders are most important for the project and how they should best be involved.

4. Derive strategy:

The stakeholder matrix serves as a basis for prioritizing stakeholders and developing suitable communication and collaboration strategies. The following strategies have proven successful:

Inform and involve
Engagement and conflict management
Regular, transparent communication is crucial for these stakeholders. Inform them about relevant developments at an early stage and actively involve them in decision-making processes. You can also make constructive use of the expertise of these stakeholders or ask them for support in convincing other stakeholders of the project. These stakeholders can cause the project to fail, which is why intensive communication and proactive conflict management are required here. Make sure that these stakeholders are involved at an early stage, try to understand their concerns and perspectives and work together to find solutions. Communicate with this group as personally and regularly as possible to avoid conflicts, build trust, and get them as enthusiastic as possible about the project.
Standard communication
Proactive communication / relationship-building
Stakeholders with little power and a low probability of conflict require regular but standardized information. Clear and simple communication is important to keep them informed without causing unnecessary unrest. However, it is important to monitor this stakeholder group in case their influence and conflict potential change throughout the project. Despite having little power, this group can have a significant impact on the project. To recognize and prevent potential conflicts at an early stage, you should try to build a strong relationship with these stakeholders. Tailor information to this group, show empathy, and provide regular updates.

5. Monitor stakeholders:

Stakeholder mapping should not be a one-off activity. Rather, it should be checked repeatedly during the implementation of a project to ensure that it is still up to date. For example, if your communication strategy leads to a decrease in the conflict potential of a stakeholder, your stakeholder matrix should be adjusted accordingly. Conversely, it can also happen that an interest group gains influence, for example, because it is effective in the media. In such cases, the stakeholder matrix and therefore the communication strategy should also be adapted.


Stakeholder mapping is an important tool for project managers as it can help to ensure the success of a project. By identifying and taking into account the interests, needs, and expectations of stakeholders, conflicts can be avoided or proactively addressed.

Project management software such as myPARM ProjectManagement can support you in this by managing the various stakeholders in the software and assigning them to projects according to their roles. In this way, communication can also be optimally managed.
In addition, the stakeholders can also be evaluated and analyzed in myPARM ProjectManagement.

Learn more about the project and portfolio management software myPARM:

Would you like to get to know myPARM in a demo presentation? Then make an appointment with us right away!

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