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  • Knowing stakeholders, their interests, and how they can influence a project are essential for its success, which is why stakeholder maps are becoming popular these days.

    Businesses sometimes face unexpected risks concerning their projects and difficulties while managing their key players and their impacts on the projects. Also, communication barriers can make collaboration tricky if not handled appropriately. Hence, it would be best if you found a way to gauge these risks and impacts using seamless communication channels.

    That said, the right stakeholder map can help you manage your stakeholders effectively, evaluate their interests and influence, and reduce silos in your projects so you can move towards successful completion.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to draw these maps manually because many software tools are available to serve the purpose.

    In this article, I’ll be discussing stakeholder maps, how they can help you, and some of the stakeholder mapping tools to help you create awesome maps.

    Let’s start!

    What is a Stakeholder Map?

    A stakeholder map is a design representing the relationship of stakeholders with a project or organization.

    This map might also show how this relationship evolves over a time period. Looking at this, you can learn the impacts of stakeholders on a project and organization and the result of an organization or project on stakeholders. You see, it works both ways.

    A stakeholder map is drawn as a graph consisting of two axes. The x-axis represents the influence level of stakeholders, while the y-axis represents their level of interest. The quadrant occupied by the stakeholder determines the frequency, intensity, and engagement.

    The map represents people involved in a project and affected by it, giving you a clear picture of stakeholder groups, interests, and motives.

    So, when you build a stakeholder map, ensure a few things:

    • The map must be detail-oriented that can present the complete overview of all the stakeholders involved
    • It must be easy to comprehend because not everyone can understand if you make it complex.
    • It must convey information clearly and quickly to allow concerned personnel to make decisions quickly.
    • Organize the stakeholders into different groups based on the level of influence, their nature, and shared interests.

    Why is Stakeholder Mapping important?

    Here are the benefits of creating stakeholder maps for your organization and projects:

    To identify key players easily: Stakeholder maps help you identify your project stakeholders, including those that are key players responsible for the success of your project.

    You can look at them at a glance and understand who to inform, monitor, or target at different stages of a project. It will ensure the project completes successfully at the stipulated time with minimal noise.

    To make better decisions quickly: Looking at the stakeholder map, you will have all the essential information about the stakeholders. Hence, you can make better decisions quickly and leverage their full potential by engaging them in the right places.

    Even if anything goes wrong, you can tackle it with quick decision-making to save your organization from possible risks and damages.

    Effective navigation of the plan: The map will help you analyze the power and interest of your stakeholders. This way, you can define strategies based on this insight and navigate the plan accordingly. It will help your team stick to the plan and ensure the project completes successfully within time.

    Enhanced productivity: If you can identify and assess project stakeholders, you can build a productive engagement plan. It will direct your team’s effort, time, and resources in the right places and ensure your work navigates the way it should be, maintaining your corporate reputation.

    Better communication: As you can categorize stakeholders based on their interests, levels, and other factors, you can assign roles accordingly. It will make everyone aligned with the same strategy and flow of responsibilities.

    Hence, they can communicate with each other effectively and the organization without confusion or misinformation.

    Where are Stakeholder Maps used?

    You can use stakeholder maps in various use cases, including:

    • If you plan to launch a product or service, you can map the stakeholders and make strong strategies.
    • When you are entering a new market or geographical location, conducting market research is crucial. Stakeholder maps can help you in this.
    • You can create stakeholder maps while implementing your marketing strategies like an ad campaign, loyalty program, etc.

    How to create a Stakeholder Map?

    Modern technology has made it easy to draw stakeholder maps. You can find a lot of stakeholder tools to create amazing maps with ease.

    But the question is, how do you do that?

    There must be some strategies to get started before you start creating the map.

    So, here is how to create a stakeholder map in three simple steps:

    #1. Identify Your Stakeholders

    The first thing that you must do is to identify your key stakeholders. For this, start organizing them into three categories – leaders, contributors, and indirect stakeholders.

    • Leaders: Place leaders and decision-makers in this category who determine your project lifecycle. They are directly associated with the project and have the biggest influence on the project’s organizational or technical.
    • Contributors: Place contributors such as project managers, their teams, and key departments. It also includes external stakeholders like clients, authorization officials, and suppliers.
    • Indirect stakeholders: Place bystanders who observe project development from a distance. They might or might not be interested in the project or maybe engaged with it later.

    #2. Perform Stakeholder Analysis

    Evaluate the level of engagement for each stakeholder in the project. Find out their interests in the project and possible impacts and influences. Think about how they can suffer or benefit due to the project and contribute to it. Also, don’t forget to analyze their motives and use these insights to create the groups and make strategies.

    #3. Take Action

    At last, adopt a proper approach to create the map based on the interest or power of your stakeholders. Also, make effective communication plans.

    After you have known the concept and how to create a stakeholder map, use a stakeholder mapping tool to create a map that can represent the best information about your stakeholders.

    Here are some of the best ones you can consider:

    Miro

    Learn who influences work projects and get their support with the help of Miro’s stakeholder map maker. It helps you create and collaborate your maps with ease and centralize all your communications for the cross-functional team effort.

    Its smooth drag-and-drop editor makes designing look like a cakewalk. Empower your team to brainstorm using an infinite canvas, pre-made templates, powerful platform functionalities, and a powerful suite of widgets. Miro provides a whole toolkit for customer stories, journey maps, sprint planning or roadmap, retros, wireframing, and more.

    Apart from pre-built templates, you can also create smart frameworks and templates on your own. Work however you want and discover your creativity utilizing an infinite canvas. Use sticky notes, shapes, freeform pen, smart drawing, arrows, and more.

    Engage with remote and distributed teams better while brainstorming, workshops, processes, and decision making using workspaces that offer synchronous and asynchronous collaboration as if the entire team were close. View collaborators’ cursors and track how your team members interact with the boards.

    You can easily share your maps and documents directly from the dashboard. Also, get reviews, feedback, and approvals using several communication options with chat, commenting, and embedded video. Build a hub to facilitate cross-functional work using different tools.

    Standardize processes and scale them across the company for wholesome digital transformation no matter whether your team members are located across the globe. Miro takes care of security by offering SSL encryption, audit log, SSO, domain filtering, advanced user management, and more. Miro is compliant with PCI, GDPR, and SOC-2. It also integrates with 20+ services such as Slack, Teams, and Dropbox.

    Moqups

    Moqups is a good venue to create stakeholder maps with fantastic templates that can help you prioritize, identify, and understand key stakeholders of all your projects effectively.

    You can analyze the map to ensure a perfect start to your projects and guarantee key player involvement from the beginning. Using these templates will help your team involve crucial figures from early development stages and reach closer to your project’s success.

    It also provides a solid base for engagement strategy and team-level communication. Maps created in Moqups help you prioritize stakeholders, ensuring resources get distributed based on their roles.

    Detect and prevent harmful risks that other stakeholders might pose who may feel unheard. In addition, you can link your stakeholder maps to other visuals such as wireframes, charts, graphs, and mockups. You can also create your workflow and keep removing the obstacles in single-purpose applications.

    Smaply

    The stakeholder mapping software of Smaply helps you understand your stakeholders’ perspectives better and manage their expectations easily. It also lets you visualize your products’ ecosystem and find interconnections.

    Create maps in Smaply to learn which stakeholders influence your work and the connections between them. See how your important stakeholders are connected, analyze their influence on your product/service, and leverage the insights to enhance your offerings.

    Organize stakeholders in different categories such as important, essential, or interesting and which one of them are international, national, or local. Additionally, use filters to see specific relations to understand stakeholders’ roles. You can also leverage these insights to align your communication with your stakeholder’s interests.

    The high-resolution maps by Smaply work great for your workshops. Decide the stakeholders on whom you must focus and create different types of maps for other products. Connect stakeholders to a journey map and view how they can influence user journeys.

    You can add stakeholders, link them by drag-and-drop feature, and move them around in the map. Print your map and leverage it in the next workshop.

    Lucidchart

    Hop onto Lucidchart – an excellent tool for designing – to create a stakeholders map. It provides you with lots of templates to identify stakeholders and the relationships between them. You can also use it to learn their interest in a specific project.

    Know the engagement level required for each stakeholder in a project. Open the map templates to see a comprehensive map that is customizable for your use case. Lucidchart keeps your data secure, safe, and private. It uses 256-bit encrypted connection through TLS 1.2 along with AES-256 encryption at rest for data protection.

    Amazon’s Key Management Services provide the cryptographic keys securing Lucidchart. Don’t worry about compliance as Lucidchart is compliant with GDPR, CCPA, PCI, and SOC 2 and certified with Swiss-US and EU-US Privacy Shield. You can integrate it with Google, Atlassian, Microsoft, Salesforce, Slack, AWS, Azure, GCP, GitHub, Zapier, BabooHR, Quip, and more.

    Mural

    Get hundreds of pre-made stakeholder mapping templates by Mural and start analyzing your key players in your project. It is helpful for your team or the client-side stakeholders to minimize the confusion of responsibilities when they transition from unknowns to major collaborators.

    Mural makes visual collaboration easy in a dynamic, shared environment. With an almost flat learning curve, you can start using the tool with ease. Its user interface is intuitive but straightforward, with powerful features effortless to use for anyone with any skill set.

    Use sticky notes and text to add thoughts, feedback, and ideas effortlessly. You can also build diagrams using a wide range of connectors and shapes to ease complex workflows. They also provide an extensive gallery of icons that you can search and make your visual story.

    Mural offers frameworks to let you organize your ideas and content in impactful ways to unleash insights. Drag-and-drop visuals like images and GIFs and enhance collaboration sessions. You can also do writing and freehand sketching to maximize your creativity.

    Schedule activities and stay focused using a timer, and ensure everyone looks at the same stuff simultaneously. Guide participants through instructions and hide or show the next steps. You can also use the super lock to ensure objects remain in place or move them with facilitators.

    Celebrate with confetti, focus on positive moments, and use private mode to prevent groupthink with hidden individual contributors. Mural offers multiple ways to communicate with your team and share diagrams with simple hyperlinks. It also supports comments and text chat to collaborate on the diagrams.

    Build powerful workflows by integrating Mural with multiple services such as Slack, MS Word, Dropbox, MS Excel, GitHub, Jira, and more. They follow state-of-the-art practices such as best-in-class protocols, global standards, and versatile safety practices for security.

    Conclusion

    If you plan to launch a product/service or prepare to enter a new market, knowing your stakeholders and managing them can complete your goals successfully.

    Hence, draw maps with the help of stakeholder mapping tools to represent all your stakeholders and utilize your resources and their potentials effectively.