There are a lot of things to consider when identifying stakeholders for a business project, and to avoid thinking about them carries with it the obvious inherent risks (i.e., project failure, resistance, low engagement).
Giving credit where credit is due, here are some tips from Bryan Barrow, an international project planning expert. These tips will help how to identify stakeholders for your next initiative:
1. Create a list of “potential” stakeholders
2. Remember to include both Internal and External stakeholders
3. Encourage stakeholder diversity
4. Think differently about your stakeholders to see their true value
5. Create a Stakeholder Register
6. Try to understand your stakeholders’ problems before delivering “your” solution
7. Use Problem Analysis to get to the root cause of known problems
8. Use Stakeholder Framing when you’re not sure what the problem is
9. Create a Stakeholder Benefits Matrix
10. Use the right terms in your stakeholder matrices (i.e. Power vs. Interest; Influence vs. Impact)
It’s very simple – every project (both large and small) has stakeholders who ultimately determine its success or failure. Actively addressing stakeholder management and accurately identifying stakeholders pays huge dividends, whereas ignoring it, can sink your ship.