How to Create a Stakeholder Map

Written by laura bramble
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Stakeholders are anyone who has an interest, or stake, in the outcome of a project; bosses, co-workers, customers, spouses and family, and the community. Stakeholder maps are a way to show who the main stakeholders in a project are and where they fall in influence or power, and in interest. Someone may be highly interested in your project, but not have the power to help it along. Another person may have the power to help, but no interest in helping. A stakeholder map is a visual way to place the key people in this project and its success in a framework so that you know how to handle them at a glance. There are several ways to map your stakeholders.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Divide your main stakeholders into the basic categories of influential or not and interested or not, and to what degree.

  2. 2

    Draw a two-dimensional graph with the left side being influence and the bottom being interest. The more influential, the higher the position and the more interested, the farther to the right they should go. Plot your stakeholders on it.

  3. 3

    Separate your graph results in three diagonal layers. The top-right layer is your A group, the middle layer is your B group and your bottom left layer is your C group.

  4. 4

    Keep your A group fully informed and involved in the project, no matter how much extra time and attention it takes. These are the people who are ready, willing and able to help.

  5. 5

    Contact your B group with important details and to get feedback. You will either have people who want to help but can't, and can provide good feedback, or you will have influential people who are not very interested in your project but could help you if they saw it was worthwhile. Both can be useful if handled right.

  6. 6

    Place group C on the back burner, making them aware of what affects them in general e-mails and giving them minimal time and attention. Do not, however, ignore or alienate them--they could change places on the graph in the future. These are people who are neither interested nor influential, but have the ability to drain your time and effort.

  7. 7

    Add a third category, active or passive, if you wish to take the map further into a 3-D presentation using nine or more cubes in a cube format. Separate your stakeholders accordingly and place actives in the front and passives toward the back. Actives are motivated people who will take charge and move things forward. Passives are people who need the groundwork done for them and who will only help if made or shown how to.

  8. 8

    Use colours to suggest the different qualities to make the 3-D presentation easier to understand.

Tips and warnings

  • See the "Seeing Who's There" reference for a visual on the 3-D presentation.

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