Help Files

Stakeholder Identification and Creation

Detailed Methodology


A stakeholder is a person, group or organization that has a ‘stake’ in the project. Their ‘stake’ may include:

  • Having an interest in the outcomes of the project
  • Legal or moral rights, or ownership of something associated with, or used by the project
  • A contribution to the project by providing knowledge, resources or support
  • Perceiving they will be impacted by, or can impact the outcomes of the project (these perceptions do not have to be ‘real’, merely believed by the stakeholder)

Stakeholders may be defined as individuals or groups and some key people may be identified both as an individual and as a part of a group. The existence of a ‘stakeholder’ is best considered from a communications (or action) viewpoint:

  • The ‘Project Control Board (PCB)’ would exist as a stakeholder and require communications (reports) from the project at regular intervals and would provide instructions, support and other ‘resources’ to the project
  • Some individuals who are part of the PCB may also require specific actions or reports; eg the Chief Financial Officer may require specific cost data or forecasts independent of the PCB

It helps to have a team of 3 to 5 people engaged in the identification process, including at least one person (possibly the Sponsor) familiar with the ‘politics’ and power structures of the performing organization. Using the ‘Directions of Influence’ and ‘Internal / External’ attributes (described below) helps develop a complete list.


Stakeholder identification focuses on developing a complete list of stakeholders with their key attributes, including:

  • Basic Data – A description of the stakeholder
    • A unique name (this may be a personal name, position/title or group name)
    • Their role relative to the project
    • Their ‘direction of influence’ relative to the Project Manager
      • Upwards (eg management or the project control group)
      • Outwards (eg suppliers, the general public, or government agencies)
      • Sideways (eg peers and colleagues of the Project Manager – typically working for the same organization)
      • Downwards (eg the project team, usually including contractors working as part of the team)
    • Internal / External determines if the stakeholder is part of the performing organization’s management and staff structure. The way (and opportunities) of communicating with internal stakeholders are likely to be different from the way communications are managed with external stakeholders.
  • Mutuality – an assessment of what the stakeholder wants from the project and what the project needs from the stakeholder. Identifying and managing stakeholder expectations (requirements) are a key part of effective stakeholder management. Also, understanding what the stakeholder requires from the project helps in the negotiations to obtain what the project needs from the stakeholder:
    • Significance to the project defines the ‘stake’ the stakeholder has in the project (select two options from drop down lists).
    • Importance to the project defines what the project needs from the stakeholder.
    • Requires from the project defines what the stakeholder expects or requires from the project
  • Notes & Comments – many of the decisions made during this and later processes will be subjective, the notes field should be used to annotate and record decisions to assist in further analysis and review at a later date
  • Stakeholder Active – Active stakeholders are included in all current reports, etc. If the stakeholder ceases to be involved in the project the stakeholder should be set to ‘Inactive’. An inactive stakeholder remains in the data set for historical purposes but is excluded from all current reports and data displays.


Not all of the above features are available in the SWS Excel Spreadsheet or SoaP Word Template. For a summary of the features in each tool see: Tools Description

When ready, the list can be sorted and printed for checking before moving onto the ‘prioritization’ phase of the analysis. Additional stakeholders can be added to the list at any time.

SIMS dB: A minimum of 15 stakeholders are needed to generate theStakeholder Circle® – there is no ‘maximum’ limit set in the system. The SWS Spreadsheet has a maximum of 100 stakeholders.

Visit the Methodology Page to read a summary of the overall StakeholderCircle methodology.

SIMS dB Data Entry / Data Management

Stakeholder Identification List

Select ‘SH Identification’ from the Main Menu to see a list of all Active stakeholders. If there are none, you will be asked to create a new stakeholder.

List Navigation

The primary options are:

  • Main Menu – returns to the Main Menu
  • New Stakeholder – creates a new stakeholder
  • Help – opens the help screen (pop-up); close the help pop-up to continue working (Note, the database help screen links to additional information on the Stakeholder Circle website).
  • Show Active – (Default) shows all active stakeholders (does not show inactive)
  • Show Inactive – shows any stakeholders that have been marked as ‘Inactive’
  • Use the vertical scroll bar to move between records.

The secondary options are:

  • Sorts – The list may be sorted by:
    • Number – this is a sequential number created by the system
    • Name – a simple character based alphabetical sort
    • Direction – U, O, S, D
    • Internal External
  • Print – Takes to a print option based on the current selection and sort order (see Print Reports) A summary or full report can be printed.

Entering and Editing Stakeholder Data

All data is entered via the ‘Edit Stakeholder’ screen:

  • Select ‘New Stakeholder’ to create a new stakeholder (and then ‘New’ from the dialogue) or
  • Select ‘Edit Process’ to set the edit mode (Identification, Prioritization, etc) and then click the Edit button to update the specific stakeholder associated with the button

Data Entry – Mandatory Data

You cannot move onto a new stakeholder, or return to the stakeholder list if any of the mandatory fields for an ‘Active’ stakeholder are blank or contain ‘Required’. The mandatory fields are:

  • Stakeholder Name. This should be unique and easily understood by others using the system at a later date
  • Direction #1 – Select U, O, S or D – the text box adjacent to this field defines your choice. The ‘Direction’ sets the color used by the Stakeholder Circle diagram:
    • Upwards = Orange
    • Outwards = Blue
    • Sidewards = Purple
    • Downwards = Green
  • Direction #2 – Select Internal or External – the text box adjacent to this field defines your choice. Internal / External sets the intensity of the color used by the Stakeholder Circle diagram:
    • Internal = Dark tones
    • External = Light tones
  • Stakeholder Active – This defaults to ‘Active’:
    • If the stakeholder has been entered in error (ie was never part of the project) simply overtype the name, etc with a correct stakeholder.
    • If the stakeholder was involved with the project and has since ceased to be involved (eg a manager who has left the organization) set this field to ‘Inactive’. Inactive stakeholders are retained in the system for reference purposes but are excluded from all current reports.
    • You cannot ‘delete’ a stakeholder, its data may form part of an ‘old’ Stakeholder Circle or by used for comparative purposes in an ‘Engagement Profile’.

Data Entry – Additional Data

The additional data is required to assist in assessing the priority of the stakeholder and developing an effective communication plan. The information required is:

  • Role – The stakeholder’s role relative to the project or within the performing organization
  • Significance to the project – defines the ‘stake’ the stakeholder has in the project, select from the two pull down lists
  • Importance to project – Defines what the project wants or needs from the stakeholder
  • Requires from the project – Defines what the stakeholder expects or requires from the project
  • Notes & Comments – Many of the decisions made during this and later processes will be subjective, the notes field should be used to annotate and record decisions to assist in further analysis and review at a later date

Data Entry – Pop-Up Navigation

On completion of the data entry /editing for one stakeholder, you may choose:

  • Save – This returns you to the Stakeholder Identification List
  • Cancel – Abandons the current set of changes
  • Both of these options check to see all mandatory data is present. If you cannot determine the input needed for one of the fields either enter a ‘dummy’ value (it is easily changed later) or make the stakeholder ‘Inactive’.

Help (email only – 24 Hrs)

Help is available to all Stakeholder Circle users – we will attempt to answer your questions within a 24 hr period. To access help in the first instance email your question to:

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