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  Useful checklists for all >> Understand stakeholder perspectives
Identify stakeholders on the basis of their power and interest in the project. Broadly speaking, stakeholders can be organized into four groups:
  • High Influence, High Interest: Some stakeholders might have a lot of influence over the project, and also be very interested in the project. It is vital to understand the viewpoints of such stakeholders—specifically what potential objections they might raise. Spend most time on these stakeholders.
  • Low Influence, High Interest: Other stakeholders might have a lot of interest, but little real influence. Such stakeholders (if they are in favor of your project) can be valuable sources of information: they can get you access to documents relevant to your project, fill you in on the institutional history of past efforts in your project domain, and help you identify what the organizational challenges to the project will be. These are good stakeholders to meet with first, since each interaction is relatively low-risk.
  • High Influence, Low Interest: Stakeholders with high power, but low interest need to be broadly satisfied. They won’t pay attention to the fine print of your project, since they perceive the project as not affecting them. However, they have influence on whether the project will be a success: for example, they may have a vote during the approval process of a project. The goal of your interactions with this type of stakeholder should be to give them enough information about the project that they will not create obstacles for your project.
  • Low Influence, Low Interest: You should spend less time with stakeholders who have little influence and little interest in the project. They aren’t interested in what you are doing, and are not in a position to help you do it.

One interesting thing about the suggestions generated by this model is that interest matters more than influence in determining the value of interactions between yourself and stakeholders. High interest, low influence stakeholders give you the ammunition and contextual information needed to make your case with the high influence stakeholders. Low interest, high influence stakeholders, in contrast, simply need merely to be won over or neutralized in a fairly superficial way. Projects will succeed or fail primarily based on the actions of people who care enough to defend or oppose them.

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