For our latest Design Tools in Practice class, two designers from andCulture came to speak about the value and use of stakeholder mapping. They discussed how stakeholder maps provide a visual comparison of the relationships between the important entities that are involved with a specific project. These entities include groups like: the project team members, people in the organization involved/or maybe not involved in the project, and the organization's clients/customers. The andCulture designers advised that the stakeholder map should not show everyone, but that it is up to the project team to define which groups to include.

The map can also be used as a consensus building tool with the project team and clients and should be iterated on as the project evolves. In the planning stages, the stakeholder map can help determine who the project team should focus on, help to understand the political environment, and refine the scope of the project.

They talked about how it is important to define the criteria to relate/compare the stakeholders. One common form is a 2x2 matrix with the y-axis labeled "Level of Influence" and the x-axis labeled "Level of Interest".

Here is an example:

After the presentation, we practiced creating a stakeholder map with a made-up project–starting a new recycling program at The University of the Arts. We formed teams of two, and mapped the people that we felt would be involved in a project of that kind, and where they would be placed according to their level of influence and interest.

One of the teams offered a new axis to evaluate stakeholders that positioned them according to how much their daily routine changed. This provides an interesting lens, showing that sometimes stakeholders that may have the greatest influence or interest are not necessarily the ones who feel the most change in their daily routine. The project team can then make sure they take into consideration the needs of the stakeholders who feel the greatest effects of the new program.


Thanks to andCulture for the great presentation, and  the helpful work session on stakeholder mapping!