What is stakeholder management: Tools and techniques - LogRocket Blog (2023)

Although stakeholder management isn’t the most glamorous part of the product management practice, it is one of its most critical components.

Contrary to popular belief, the PM is not the “CEO of the product.” They can’t just do whatever they want. More often than not, a PM needs buy-in from key players to get their initiatives moving.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into the topic of stakeholder management.

Table of contents

  • What is stakeholder management and why do we need it?
  • How to implement proper stakeholder management
    • Identifying types of stakeholders
      • Support bubble chart
      • Influence x interest matrix
    • Understanding stakeholders’ relationships between themselves and the product
      • RACI matrix
      • Stakeholder map
    • Mix up your stakeholder management tools

What is stakeholder management and why do we need it?

I like to define stakeholder management as a “continuous process of getting support for initiatives while building healthy relationships and gaining influence.”

Let’s examine this definition step by step:

  • A continuous process: stakeholder management isn’t something you do once in a while. It happens all the time. Even if you decide to lock yourself in a basement and ignore all your calls, it still impacts your relationship with key players. Every action you take leaves a mark, one way or another
  • Of getting support for initiatives: for most of our initiatives, we need buy-in from key players. Whether securing resources, managing dependencies, or getting the proper approvals, you won’t go far without buy-in
  • While building healthy relationships: relationships are key. Not only is it easier to get support when people like you, but the work is simply more enjoyable if you have a healthy relationship with those around you
  • And gaining influence: over time, you want to gain the trust and respect of your colleagues. It will make getting further buy-in easier

Since a product manager usually needs other people’s buy-in and is often expected to lead through influence, stakeholder management should be at the top of your priority list.

Great stakeholder management leads to resources, support, and even friendships. Poor stakeholder management might be a nail in the coffin of one’s career.

How to implement proper stakeholder management

The general idea of stakeholder management is relatively straightforward. Keep people around you happy and on your side.

In smaller setups — when you have a handful of stakeholders to manage — you don’t really need any tools or specific strategies. Make sure to spend time with stakeholders, understand their needs, and maintain a healthy relationship with them. After that, you should be good to go.

It’s a different story when you have dozens of stakeholders on your radar or when you lead multiple initiatives with different sets of stakeholders. You need a more organized system to manage stakeholders in cases like that.

In the following section, we’ll go over how to identify types of stakeholders and how to identify the relationships between stakeholders. There are a few useful tools for managing stakeholders in a more complex setting, and we’ll go over them as well.

Identifying types of stakeholders

The first step in successful stakeholder management is identifying the types of stakeholders within your organization or project. You can do this in several ways, let’s jump into it.

Influence x interest matrix

The influence x interest matrix segments stakeholders into four buckets:

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In general, stakeholders can be placed within the four quadrants shown on the map above.

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  • High interest and high influence: these are the key players in a given initiative and should be proactively managed and consulted. Their opinion can make or break the whole project
  • High interest and low influence: although they have little influence, you can score additional points by satisfying their curiosity and keeping them informed
  • Low interest and high influence: it’s crucial to keep influential stakeholders satisfied. Even though they might not be interested in the initiative right now, if for some reason they become dissatisfied with its direction, they’ll quickly get interested
  • Low interest and low influence: people with no interest nor influence can be ignored. However, it’s worth reviewing them once in a while, as interest and influence might change over time

While the influence x interest matrix is an excellent tool for stakeholder management, I find it slightly too excessive for most initiatives. I use a simplified version that distinguishes only two types of stakeholders:

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Although the simplification brings some additional risks, over time, I learned that managing key players closely is 80 percent of the success of stakeholder management.

Regardless if you use the full version or a simplified one, make sure to update it regularly. Stakeholders’ levels of influence and interest change all the time. A distant stakeholder today might become your key player tomorrow.

Support bubble chart

You don’t only want to know how vital given stakeholders are, but also be able to group them based on their opinions regarding the initiative.

In most cases, you will have three types of stakeholders:

  • Supporters: people who love the initiative, benefit from it, and will help you succeed
  • Opposers: people who, for some reason, don’t like the initiative and don’t want it to succeed
  • Neutrals: people that don’t have any specific opinion.

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A bubble chart works great because it shows not only the given stakeholder’s opinion on the initiative (left-light alignment) but also their level of involvement (top-bottom alignment) and influence (bubble size).

Maximize the help you get from your top supporters, try to mitigate risks posed by top negators, and try to sway neutrals your way to maximize the chances of initiative success.

Understanding stakeholders’ relationships between themselves and the product

After you identify the types of stakeholders, it’s also important to see how these groups and individuals interact with the project, as well as with each other.

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RACI matrix

The responsibility assignment matrix, or RACI matrix, describes the relations of different stakeholders within a given initiative:

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It distinguishes four types of relationships:

  • Responsible: this stakeholder is responsible for successfully finishing a given task or initiative. There’s always at least one responsible person, but more people may be responsible for more complex initiatives
  • Accountable: the one ultimately accountable for the success of the initiative. In some cases, an accountable stakeholder is the one giving feedback and the final green light
  • Consulted: these stakeholders either have invaluable subject matter expertise or are heavily impacted by a given initiative. You should consider their opinion when making decisions
  • Informed: these people either don’t have or don’t want to have a say in a given project. However, for some reason, they should be kept in the loop — for example, because their initiatives depend on yours

The RACI matrix works excellently as a transparency tool. If you keep it public, all stakeholders will see who does what for a project. It also works as a guardrail — you can always double-check if you have consulted all essential parties and if the information reaches all critical stakeholders.

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You can use the RACI matrix to keep track of stakeholders whenever you have numerous expectations to manage.

Stakeholder map

The purpose of a stakeholder map is to identify relationships between stakeholders. After all, they don’t live in silos.

Different stakeholders have different levels of influence on other stakeholders. Sometimes, if you need the support of five other stakeholders, it might be easier to win the buy-in of their boss and then ask him to influence the rest.

Conversely, enraging one key player might lead to losing the support of half of the stakeholders. Some stakeholders impact others:

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Map your most important stakeholders and their relation to other stakeholders. This will help you spot those few with the highest leverage and focus on them.

Even if you need buy-in from 100 people, sometimes all you need is to win a few of them; the rest will follow along.

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Mix up your stakeholder management tools

This is a partial list of all stakeholder management tools, it’s by no means exhaustive. In the same vein, none of these tools is better than the others. Each tool serves a different purpose:

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Depending on how precise you need your stakeholder management practice, you might want to use all of these tools simultaneously — each for different purposes — or none at all.


Stakeholder management is the bread and butter of product management practice. It leads to buy-in, and buy-in brings resources and support. To some extent, having stakeholder support is like fuel for a product manager. The more you have, the farther you can go.

Whether you decide to use a suite of complex tools and systems for managing stakeholders or just follow your gut feeling, always keep stakeholders in the back of your head.

Their support can make or break the whole initiative.

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What are stakeholder management techniques? ›

Stakeholder management is the process by which you organize, monitor and improve your relationships with your stakeholders. It involves systematically identifying stakeholders; analyzing their needs and expectations; and planning and implementing various tasks to engage with them.

What are stakeholder engagement tools and techniques? ›

Tools and techniques used to Manage Stakeholder Engagement include effective communication methods such as the use of email, meetings, process updates through the intranet, war rooms, among others.

What are stakeholders tools? ›

The stakeholder analysis (Excel) tool developed in STAR2Cs helps to identify the stakeholders that are important for a given project and to define for each of them an appropriate level of participation (inform, consult, advise, co-create, co-decide).

What are the four 4 major components of the stakeholder management plan? ›

There are four key steps to developing a strong stakeholder management plan, beginning with identifying stakeholders, their roles and impact.
  • Identify stakeholders. ...
  • Identify and document each stakeholder's role and impact. ...
  • Prioritize stakeholders. ...
  • Develop a communications plan for stakeholders.
Mar 6, 2020

What are the three stakeholder management techniques? ›

Prioritizing the stakeholders, analyzing individual stakeholder interests, and using the OPMT are just three ways to understand project stakeholders.

Which of the following are tools and techniques of the identify stakeholders process? ›

The following are tools and techniques used in the "Manage Stakeholder Expectations" process: communication methods, interpersonal skills, and management skills.

How do you identify stakeholders techniques? ›

Methods used in stakeholder identification

Brainstorming in group meetings (MS = 4.33) was ranked 1st, as the most frequently used method of stakeholder identification. Other methods used were, interviews with the expert (MS = 3.20) ranked 2nd and identification by other stakeholders (MS = 3.00).

What are the five 5 different stakeholder engagement approaches? ›

To incorporate stakeholder views and opinions, EviEM initiates a five-stage process: (1) identification of stakeholders; (2) identification of policy- and practice-relevant topics; (3) framing and prioritisation of review questions; (4) establishment of the specific scope of a review; (5) a public review of a draft ...

What are the five 5 levels of stakeholders engagement? ›

What are the five levels of stakeholder engagement?
  • Unaware.
  • Resistant.
  • Neutral.
  • Supportive.
  • Leading.
Feb 11, 2021

Which tool can be used to help with stakeholder management? ›

Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

The last tool that we will explore in this article is the RACI Matrix. This tool can be used as a succinct way to ensure that stakeholders and project members are aware of who is doing what, and who is accountable for approval.

What are the 4 types of stakeholders? ›

The primary stakeholders in a typical corporation are its investors, employees, customers, and suppliers.

What is the purpose of stakeholder management? ›

Stakeholder management is the process of maintaining good relationships with the people who have most impact on your work. Communicating with each one in the right way can play a vital part in keeping them "on board."

What are the 7 principles of stakeholder management? ›

The 7 principles of Stakeholder Management!
Bucholtz and Carroll point out that the principles highlight action words that illustrate the spirit that should be used in engaging with stakeholders:
  • acknowledge.
  • monitor.
  • listen.
  • communicate.
  • adopt.
  • recognise.
  • work.
  • avoid.

What are the four C's of stakeholders management? ›

Based on BSR's 20 years of developing such integrated strategies for dozens of companies and in collaboration with a panoply of stakeholders, we have created the "Four Cs" to help companies build integrated strategies by looking at customers, competitors, the corporation, and civil society and government.

What is the most effective strategy in stakeholder management? ›

Proactive mitigation

With a solid understanding of your stakeholders, their influence and triggers, the next step is to develop a mitigation plan. This step details the risks you are prepared to accept, share or avoid and outlines how you can reduce their impact.

What are the three commonly used techniques used in managing projects? ›

Let's take a look at seven of the most popular project management techniques that can help take your project to the next level.
  • #1: Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • #2: Gantt Chart.
  • #3: Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
  • #4: Kanban.
  • #5: Scrum.
  • #6: Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
  • #7: Critical Path Method (CPM)
Jan 22, 2022

Which tools and techniques are used by the manage team process? ›

Team Management Tools and Techniques to Improve Your Team Management Skills
  • 1- Delegation. An effective manager is humble enough to know that he can't do everything and needs to trust his members so that he can delegate the tasks to the proper person. ...
  • 2- Motivation. ...
  • 3- Development. ...
  • 4- Communication. ...
  • 5- Discipline.
May 28, 2019

What tools and techniques are used to obtain final stakeholder feedback? ›

5 Channels for Gathering Feedback from Internal Stakeholders
  • Email & Chat.
  • Team Meetings.
  • Feedback Reports.
  • Collaborative Spreadsheets.
  • Feedback Collection Platforms.

What techniques do you use to motivate stakeholders? ›

10 Ways to Engage Project Stakeholders
  • Identify stakeholders early. ...
  • Get stakeholders talking to one another. ...
  • Seek to understand before being understood. ...
  • Listen, really listen. ...
  • Lead with integrity. ...
  • Engage your stakeholders in the estimates. ...
  • Work WITH your team. ...
  • Manage expectations.

What simple technique can be used to classify stakeholders? ›

The Power/Interest Grid compares stakeholders based on their authority and involvement in the project. The simple matrix shows a stakeholder's level of influence on one axis, and how much your organization impacts (or is impacted by) these stakeholders on the other.

What are 6 effective way to communicate with stakeholders? ›

7 ways to effectively communicate with your stakeholders
  • Identify key stakeholders and plan communications. ...
  • Email and e-newsletters. ...
  • Communication automation. ...
  • Presentations. ...
  • Project Summary Reports. ...
  • Group video call or 'screen to screen' meetings. ...
  • Leverage informal stakeholder communications.
Aug 13, 2021

What are the 3 main stakeholders? ›

As a general rule, stakeholder priority can be divided into three levels. The first and most important comprises employees, customers, and investors, without whom the business will not be able to operate. Secondary to them are suppliers, community groups and media influencers.

What are the five key questions for stakeholder management? ›

Five key questions to ask stakeholders
  • Describe the purpose of this project in your own words.
  • What's the most important thing for us to get right?
  • How would you characterise the target audience?
  • If you could ask users one thing, what would it be?
  • How will you know if this is successful?
Nov 4, 2019

What is a stakeholder mapping tool? ›

Stakeholder map is a tool used in Stakeholder Analysis to group people by their power and interest. Stakeholder analysis helps you to plan, manage, and understand how to engage and communicate with all the key people who could have an impact on your project.

What are the 10 key principles of stakeholder engagement and management? ›

Key Principles of Effective Stakeholder Engagement
  • Plan. You need to be asking a number of questions when developing a stakeholder plan. ...
  • Consult early and often. ...
  • The right language. ...
  • The right setting. ...
  • Pick up the phone. ...
  • Active listening. ...
  • Effective feedback and follow-up.
May 4, 2021

What is the first step in stakeholder management? ›

Stakeholder Analysis is the first step in Stakeholder Management, an important process that successful people use to win support from others. Managing stakeholders can help you, too, to ensure that your projects succeed where others might fail.

Who are the 5 main stakeholders in a business? ›

Common examples of stakeholders include employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, communities, and governments.

What are the 5 internal stakeholders? ›

In a project, there are both internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders may include top management, project team members, your manager, peers, resource manager, and internal customers.

What are strong stakeholder management skills? ›

Successful stakeholder management demonstrates good communication and organisational skills, alongside a strong grasp of the business's goals. In interviews, candidates will often be asked how they would navigate stakeholder management, as it is crucial to the success of a business and team member performance.

Who is responsible for stakeholder management? ›

Stakeholder engagement roles and responsibilities

senior responsible owner - responsible for early engagement and managing the relationship with key stakeholders; the SRO endorses and owns the overall approach to stakeholder engagement.

What are the four styles of managing stakeholders? ›

Understanding stakeholder decision styles is a valuable part the stakeholder management strategy. Rowe and Boulgarides identify four styles: directive, analytic, conceptual, and behavioral. Individuals usually exhibit a combination of these styles, though one or more may dominate.

What are the Big 5 of stakeholder theory? ›

Customers, employees, suppliers, communities and investors comprise the “Big Five” stakeholders.

What is the key to effective stakeholder management? ›

But take heart – the key to effective stakeholder management is planning. With a good strategy and tactical plan in place it's possible to handle all the “curve balls” that can come your way during the stakeholder engagement process.

What are the five step processes in stakeholder management? ›

This is not the only way to work with stakeholders but it's a good start.
  • Step 1 Identify stakeholders.
  • Step 2 Listen and inform.
  • Step 3 Exchange.
  • Step 4 Integrate interests.
  • Step 5 Agree.

What is an example of stakeholder management? ›

Examples include employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, communities, and governments. Upstream stakeholders contribute to or approve the activities required to design, build and bring a product to market.

What are three methods for determining stakeholder needs? ›

The three major criteria assessed are: a stakeholder's power, their influence and their interest in the project topic.


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