Stakeholder Mapping: A Guide to Identifying and Engaging Key Players


Stakeholders are important because they have a vested interest in the outcome of a project, business, or organization. Understanding and managing stakeholder interests and expectations is crucial for ensuring the success of a project, business, or organization. Stakeholders can provide resources, such as funding, labor, materials, and expertise, that are necessary for a project or business to succeed, they can influence key decisions that impact a project or business, such as regulations, policies, and budget allocation and can have a positive or negative impact on reputation, especially customers and the community, can have a positive or negative impact on an organization’s reputation, which can affect its success in the long-term.

Important to note is that stakeholders are directly impacted by the outcome of a project, business, or organization, and their support or opposition can impact its success.

Stakeholder mapping is the process of identifying, analyzing and classifying the various stakeholders involved in a project, program or business. It helps you to understand the needs, interests, and power dynamics of different groups of people who can affect or be affected by your efforts. Effective stakeholder mapping enables you to prioritize your engagement efforts and make informed decisions that lead to better outcomes.

Why is Stakeholder Mapping Important?

  • Helps you understand the impact of your actions on different groups of people.
  • Enables you to identify key players and their level of influence.
  • Helps you prioritize engagement efforts and allocate resources effectively.
  • Enhances communication and collaboration between different groups of people.

Steps for Effective Stakeholder Mapping

  • Identify all stakeholders: Start by making a list of everyone who can be affected by your actions or has an impact on your project.
  • Classify stakeholders: Group stakeholders based on their level of interest, influence, and power.
  • Analyze stakeholders: Evaluate each group of stakeholders to understand their needs, motivations, and expectations.
  • Map stakeholders: Plot the stakeholders on a map or matrix to visualize their relationships and dynamics.
  • Engage stakeholders: Use the insights gained from your mapping to inform your engagement strategies.

Types of Stakeholders

  1. Internal stakeholders: Employees, managers, and other internal departments.
  2. External stakeholders: Customers, suppliers, regulators, and other external organizations.
  3. Primary stakeholders: Directly involved in or affected by your project or business.
  4. Secondary stakeholders: Indirectly involved or affected by your project or business.

The map or matrix typically includes the following elements:

  • A list of stakeholders along one axis,
  • An assessment of their level of interest and influence along the other axis,
  • A visual representation of the relationships and dynamics between stakeholders.

Here is an example of a simple stakeholder map in a matrix format:

Stakeholder Interest Influence
Customer High High
Supplier High Medium
Employee High Low
Regulator Medium High
Shareholder Medium Medium
Community Low Low

In this example, stakeholders are classified based on their level of interest and influence. For example, customers have high interest and high influence, while the community has low interest and low influence. The stakeholder map can be used to inform engagement strategies and allocate resources effectively.

Stakeholder mapping is a critical aspect of successful project management and business operations. By understanding the needs, interests, and power dynamics of different groups of people, you can make informed decisions, prioritize engagement efforts, and enhance communication and collaboration.

Using AI to help with stakeholder mapping

AI is all the hype right now and will only improve. It can be used to help with stakeholder mapping in several ways:

  1. Data collection and analysis: AI algorithms can collect and analyze vast amounts of data from various sources to identify and categorize stakeholders, their interests, and their level of influence.
  2. Predictive modeling: AI can be used to create predictive models that help to identify and prioritize stakeholders based on their likelihood of having an impact on a project or business.
  3. Sentiment analysis: AI can be used to analyze the tone and sentiment of stakeholders’ communication, such as social media posts or customer feedback, to gain insights into their attitudes and opinions.
  4. Automated engagement: AI-powered tools can be used to automate stakeholder engagement processes, such as sending customized messages or tracking engagement metrics.

It’s important to note that while AI can be a valuable tool in the stakeholder mapping process, it is not a replacement for human judgment and decision-making. AI should be used to support and augment human decision-making, not replace it.


I’m loving Confluence, here is a great resource for mapping:


  1. Harvard Business Review. (n.d.). The Art of Stakeholder Management. [online] Available at:
  2. Project Management Institute. (n.d.). Stakeholder Management. [online] Available at:
  3. Mind Tools. (n.d.). Stakeholder Analysis and Mapping. [online] Available at:
  4. McKinsey & Company. (n.d.). Stakeholder Management: A Guide to Engaging with Key Players. [online] Available at: