Stakeholder analysis and communications plan

What is stakeholder analysis?

Stakeholder management comprises the identification, analysis, planning and implementation of actions designed to engage with stakeholders. Stakeholders are individuals, groups or an organisation who have an interest or role in the project or are impacted by the project.

Identifying your stakeholders

Identify your stakeholders, either through a workshop or other brainstorming activity. Don’t forget you can consult with the Strategic Projects Office for advice on who was included in previous similar projects. The various contexts of the project will also have an impact on who you may need to include. The context could include the following factors:

  • political
  • economic
  • social
  • technical
  • legal
  • environmental

Identifying stakeholders can be done by using research, interviews, brainstorming, checklists, lessons learned etc, and should include:

  • individuals and groups performing the work
  • individuals and groups affected by the work
  • owners, shareholders and customers
  • statutory and regulatory bodies

Each stakeholder should then be assessed to identify their level of interest and influence on the project.

Analysing the power, interest and influence of stakeholders

For each stakeholder, you need to identify the objective they are most interested in – eg timescales, budget, scope, benefits or quality. This will help to identify what they see as the main driver of the project and will help to identify how they are likely to react in the future. Questions to consider when assessing stakeholders can include:

  • how will they be affected by the work?
  • will they be openly supportive, negative or ambivalent?
  • what are their expectations and how can these be managed?
  • who and/or what influences the stakeholder’s view of the project?
  • who would be the best person to engage with the stakeholder?

This information may be obvious because of their role in the institution, however if you can’t work it out through brainstorming, ask them.

You should also try to work out if you think they are for your project or against it, or currently undecided. This will help with communications later on as you can gauge how to pitch communications to particular people in order to get them on board with your project. For each stakeholder, establish their level of power/influence on your project and their level of interest rating on a scale of low, medium and high. Add this to the project’s list of stakeholders.

Stakeholder power and interest grid

Stakeholder Power  Interest  For/against/un-decided 
Academic staff in depts Against 
Dept admin staff  M H Against
PVC Education  M M For
Deputy Dean Education  L H


Academic Registrar  H H For
Estates Management  L L Undecided

Engaging and influencing stakeholders

By plotting the details of the stakeholders on a stakeholder grid you can work out appropriate strategies and actions based on their position. Knowing which stakeholders fall in to each of the categories will help to define whether or not they need a place on the project team.

In the ‘partner’ area of the grid are those who have high level of power and a high interest in the project. If any of the stakeholders in this area are against the project, sometimes called ‘active blockers’, they will need to be monitored very carefully, with a view to either changing their opinion or level of interest in the project.

You also need to identify who should engage with each stakeholder. Often this will be the Project Manager; however you should use other staff available, including the Project Sponsor, if they are better placed.

Make sure to review this document during the lifecycle of the project. As stakeholders become more engaged and interest builds, you may need to move them within the grid, and potentially change your strategy for engagement.

Stakeholder grid

Potential influence Potential interest Action
High High Partner
High Medium Involve/engage
High Low Involve/engage
Medium High Consult
Medium Medium Consult
Medium Low Inform
Low High Consult
Low Medium Inform
Low Low Inform
Stakeholder categories Level of power and interest  Level of engagement 
Partners High influence/power and high interest Active supporters or blockers who need to be carefully managed. They should actively contribute towards the project.
Involve/engage High influence/power and low to medium interest Encourage supportive stakeholders to become partners; try to keep opposed stakeholders satisfied.
Consult Low/Medium influence/power and high interest Give particularly careful consideration to opposed stakeholders, and consider if any actions are necessary to try to change their views.
Inform Low/Medium influence and low/medium interest As it describes, you need to keep these stakeholders informed. Try not to get drawn in to more involved communications with these stakeholders as it will take time away from more important areas.

Developing a communication plan

Communications with stakeholders who have high levels of interest and influence (partners) will be managed differently from those with low interest and influence. You need to try to move stakeholders in the involve/engage category along to the partner area, and where possible get the stakeholders who are against the project engaged in a positive way.

Not everybody needs to know everything, but everybody needs to know something. Using the information you have gathered so far, the communication plan can be developed and further refined. It will need to consider who, what, when, how, and where. Again, brainstorming the detail for each area can help.

Action/section  What you need to do 
Who List the names and contact details of all the stakeholders you need to communicate with.
What For each stakeholder outline the key messages and information they require based on their area(s) of interest.
When Create a schedule of communication activities – some stakeholders will need information daily or weekly, others less regularly.
How Description of communication channels to be used for each stakeholder and type of communication, eg email, monthly update reports, internet updates, flyers, one to one meetings, group meetings or presentations.
Where From where will you get the information you need to communicate to stakeholders.

Information on each stakeholder’s goals and past reactions can also be gathered to assist with stakeholder management and how you communicate with each stakeholder. Use the communications plan template (.xlsx) to store the details for your project.

Further information

For further advice on stakeholder management or communication plans please contact the Strategic Projects Office, via

Arrow symbol
Contact us
Strategic Projects Office