“Human aspect” is important for problem solving! – Stakeholder analysis

Hello everyone. Last time, I wrote about “5W2H” and “Project Charter” as tools used in the first step of Lean Six Sigma, “Define”.

In my previous post, I wrote that it is important to collect facts based on the concept of MECE (Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive) when analyzing the current situation. In the post, I wrote that based on the 3C framework, “external research (Customer/Competitor)” and “internal research (Company)” are required.

I would like to write about this “internal research” several times from this time. The first one is the “stakeholder analysis”.

1. What is Stakeholder analysis?

Like the “project charter” I wrote last time, “stakeholder analysis” originally appeared in “PMBOK,” which is the bible of the project manager community (I would like to write about this PMBOK later in this blog).

“Stakeholders” means something like “people involved in projects”. In order to make a project successful, it is very important to have the “right people” involved with the “right stance”.

“Stakeholder analysis” is an analysis method for identifying “right people”, confirming their “current stance”, and considering how to change their stance if it is not appropriate. Specifically, there are two tools: “Power x Interest Grid” and “Interest Assessment”.

2. What is “Power x Interest Grid”?

"Power x Interest Grid" and Mapping Image
Fig1. “Power x Interest Grid” and Mapping Image

This is an image of the “Power x Interest Grid”. As the name suggests, the vertical axis is “Power” and the horizontal axis is “interest”, and on top of this, we will map the names of stakeholders.

First, let’s look at “Power” on the vertical axis. You can clearly identify the power if you see the position on org chart. The “interest” axis is a little trickier. I think there may be some people in your office who are quite vocal without “Power”, right?:) If they are just loud, we should just leave them alone, but there are cases where they have actual influence, without kidding. This should be taken into consideration.

Next, on the horizontal axis, “degree of interest”, this is stakeholders’ stance toward projects.

If you create a matrix with these two axes, you can have four quadrants, and as shown in Figure 1, each quadrant shows the direction of correspondence. Here’s an example of what to do, starting clockwise from the upper left quadrant.

Upper left: Keep satisfied -> (ex) At the beginning of projects, conduct brief interviews while greeting stakeholders (Making the fact that we have heard their opinion!)

Upper right: Manage closely -> (ex) Ask them to participate in regular meetings as project core members (if they are high position, another way is to ask them to join steering committee)

Bottom right: Keep informed -> (ex) Distribute minutes of regular meetings

Bottom left: Monitor -> (ex) Do nothing special

I think that the vertical axis is given and difficult to be changed, but this horizontal axis can be controlled to some extent, and I think it should be controlled. This is where “Interest assessment” comes into play.

3. What is “Interest assessment”?

“Interest Assessment” is a table that subdivides the horizontal axis of the previous “Power x Interest Grid”.

Interest assessment (Image)
Fig2. Interest assessment (Image)

Put stakeholders on the vertical axis. On the horizontal axis, from the left, the image is that the degree of interest increases in the order of “Unaware” -> “Resistant” -> “Neutral” -> “Supportive” -> “Leading”. Each definition is as follows.

“Unaware”: Doesn’t know the existence of the project

“Resistant”: Know the existence of the project, but doesn’t support

“Neutral”: Know the existence of the project, but doesn’t resist nor support

“Supportive”: Know the existence of the project, and support

“Leading”: Know the existence of the project, and proactively lead

First, map the “current stance” of each stakeholder. Enter “C (initial of Current)” for the current status. Next, map your “to be” stance. Enter “D (initial of Desired)” for this. It’s fine if the “C” and the “D” are in the same cell, but if the “D” is in the cell to the right of the “C”, you need to change the stakeholder’s stance. Write down the actions for that in the rightmost column. Here are some examples.

Currently, “Unaware” -> Project communication. If necessary, visit them to explain individually. If possible, would like to bring them to “Supportive”, or at least “Neutral”

Currently, “Resistant” -> Persuade individually. If it doesn’t work, it is also possible to ask the managers to convince them. Would like to keep them at least “Neutral”

Currently, “Neutral” -> Persuade individually. If possible, would like to bring them to “Supportive”

Currently, “Supportive” -> If you would like to bring them to “Leading”, persuade individually

I think that many people are probably struggling to deal with “Resistant” forces, but as in this example, utilize 3rd party’s power like “ask their managers to convince them” is one way. For that reason, it would be good to do as much as possible a “light interview with greetings” written in the upper left quadrant of the above “Power x Interest Grid”. It is important to increase the number of “friends” of the project by doing so.

That’s all for this time, and I would like to continue from the next time onwards. Thank you for reading until the end.

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