Stakeholder radar

Because being customer focused is only half of the story when it comes to corporate entrepreneurship

As a lot of enterprise product owners and intraprapreneurs can tell you, understanding and managing a product’s stakeholders is of equal importance as not losing sight of the customer’s needs.

With a healthy experience of running corporate product teams, we have developed a simple method that can help teams keep track of their project’s stakeholders. Above all, the stakeholder radar will help product owners manage the expectation of each individual stakeholder based on their degree of organizational power and interest in the project.

To create a stakeholder radar you need a roll of painters tape, sticky notes, Sharpies and whiteboard markers.

Step 1

List on sticky notes the names of all your project’s stakeholders.

To make sure you are not forgetting anyone it is advisable to do have your team help out create the radar.

Step 2

Using the painters tape, on a flat surface create an XOY axis system.

Divide each of the axis in three equal segments and start labeling them as follows (see picture):

  • OX is the ‘interest in the project’ line, label each of the three segments: high interest, medium interest and low interest.
  • OY is the ‘organizational power’ line, label each of the three segments: high power, medium power and low power.

Step 4

Once you are done labeling the axis start placing the sticky notes with the stakeholders’ names in the graph, making sure sure you’re taking into consideration the degree of interest each individual has in your project and their respective degree of organizational power.

Using the whiteboard marker you can also draw circle sectors clearly showing the stakeholders that have high degree of interest and high power; medium degree of interest and medium power; low degree of interest and low power.

Note that you don’t have to be precise when it comes to placing the sticky notes in the graph as long as everyone on your team agrees with the degree of interest and power each of the stakeholder has.

It is advisable to closely manage the stakeholders that have high organizational power and high interest interest in your project. By managing closely, we suggest informing them in-depth and periodically on the progress of your venture. Having periodical status meeting can also be a viable option.

For the stakeholders with medium degree of interest and medium degree of power it is advisable just keep them in the loop on what’s happening with your project.

As for the stakeholders that have low interest and low power we suggest to only monitor them.

To better prepare yourself and your team, you need to understand who are the supporters and the critics of you undertaking going to be. For this turn your attention to step 5.

Step 5

Color code the radar — use 2 color sticky notes and re-write name of each stakeholder on either a blue or a red sticky note depending of whether that person is a support of you project (blue) or a critic (red). If you are not sure if a person is a critic or a supporter you can leave that name on a neutral color stinky note (yellow or white) only to change it later once his/her opinion of your project will crystallize.

We advise revising the radar every now and then, since your progress might shift the opinion some stakeholders have about your project (from Critics to Supporters or vice-versa). Also in long term and complex projects new stakeholders might appear.

Good luck scanning your internal environment!