Robin: Department of Correction

Robin, a senior consultant for a large consulting firm, was just assigned to be the project manager for a $100 million project to upgrade the information systems for the State Department of Corrections. Robin’s boss and mentor, Jill, knew that Robin had a lot of potential and wanted to give her a challenging assignment. Robin had a lot of experience with technology involved in the project, but she never worked with the state government and she knew little about the state legal system. Her firm assigned its top legal person, Fred, to the project to assist Robin. Fred had worked on several projects with the state and understood the corrections process, but his expertise was in law, not technology. Fred also had never worked for a woman before and he was surprised that Robin was ten years younger than he was.

At the kickoff meeting for the project, Robin could see that understanding and meeting the stakeholders’ needs and expectations for the project would be a huge challenge. The new governor attended the first few minutes of the meeting, an indicator of the high profile of the project. The governor, who was known for not trusting consultants, questioned the value of spending more money on information systems for the Department of corrections, but the decision to fund this project has been made before he was elected. The federal government would be funding half of the project, since the new system would have to interact with the federal system. The head of the state Department of Corrections, Donna, had worked in the state legal system for twenty-five years. Donna knew the corrections process and the problems they faced, but she knew very little about information systems and preferred doing work the old fashioned way. She had heard horror stories about inmates released because computer errors. Donna’s new assistant, Jim, was very computer savvy and seemed most supportive of the project. No federal representatives were invited to the meeting. The meeting did not go well, as it seemed disorganized and highly political.

It is required to prepare a stakeholder analysis for this project. The stakeholder analysis should be in a form of a table. A template was given which I used to do it

Here is what I aready did: Stakeholder Analysis

Unfortunately I did not succeed in completing the whole table. I'm still having problems filling in the other blanks. Please help me if you can. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.

  • It's not really clear for me what you are awaiting from the answers you may get. Could you formulate your question more clearly? May 9 '11 at 12:30
  • I hope its more clearer now
    – Muaz
    May 9 '11 at 13:04
  • The problem is: only you have the infos to complete the table. We could only repeat what you wrote in your question. For example: you know the level of interest of Donna in the project far better than me. So what could I possibly answer on that matter which could be of any interest for you? May 9 '11 at 13:34
  • 3
    Is this an educational assignment?
    – asoundmove
    May 10 '11 at 2:38

Stakeholder analysis is an exercise to understand the universe of people who are and will be affected by the project. There is no one right way of creating and completing that table. The one right think you can do is to maintain this matrix as a living document.

Segment your stakeholders into meaningful categories based on group attributes. These segments will help identify what communication needs to be delivered to them, what communication you need from them, and what level of participation you need from them and the frequency of each.

Some of the segments will define who are proponents of the change, opponents, and neutral. Then you can figure out who to use as an influencer on another segment, and figure out what segment you need to isolate and quarantine if possible.

Some of the segments will define what type of training they will require and when.

Your segments can be as large or as small as necessary, including one individual. It is a balance between complexity and effectiveness.


Part of the problem is that your chart is severely incomplete. You're missing several key stakeholders, the addition of which will change the dynamics. You need the Governor, the Govs staff, the fed gov't (even if they didn't send a rep, they're spending money), Jill, the software/hardware vendors, the rest of the pm team, the end-users of the new system, among others. You've limited your analysis to only 2 decision-makers and their support.

David makes a good point regarding proponents/opponents, etc. You need to clarify who's in favor of the project (Robin,Jill,Fred, Jim), who's opposed (Gov, Donna), and who'd neutral, and their relative influence levels and how they interact with each other.For example - Jim isn't a decision-maker, but he supports the project, knows the issues and system, and has the ear of Donna. So Robin should work with him to help make points and get clarification. Swaying Donna will then help in getting the Gov on her side.

The software vendors want to make a sale, and can be brought in to help alleviate some of Donna's concerns about future mistakes.

But part of the problem with filling out the rest of the table is that you don't have the whole picture, so you're missing relationships.


Here is a link to a completed stakeholder analysis template.

In addition here is some more informaion about how to use interest and influence in stakeholder analysis.

  • Hi Lusy, welcome to PMSE! We highly incentive the community to share links with some good stuff, but is good to remember that in case you're related at some professional level with the links, you might put a disclaimer on your topic.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Nov 25 '12 at 3:47

This is a great question.

Start by think about who in your team can help. You need to know what actions will satisfy the stakeholders. I generally put them into 4 categories: keep satisfied, monitor casually, keep informed and manage closely.

I've found the best way to identify which category a stakeholder fits is to talk to people on my team and talk to the stakeholders. You can ask a stakeholder if they need to just be informed of what's going on (ie get a copy of status reporting) or if they need to give input on specific deliverables (keep satisfied).

Good luck, stakeholder management is a challenging task but it's also quite satisfying as you gain the skills.


Consider Alternative Methodologies

As others have noted, the original question is probably NARQ as it's currently written, and the data needed to fill in the existing template is both subjective and based on data not in evidence. So, I will address my answer to what the goal is rather than the template presented.

The template presented appears to primarily be a fact-sheet about stakeholders that will be used to manage stakeholder relationships. As written, this is probably most useful as an internal document (e.g. not shared with the stakeholders) and might add value on a politically-charged project where stakeholders need to be managed with kid gloves.

However, I'm a big proponent of transparent, metrics-based project management. I think managing the priorities and interests of stakeholders in a project is at least as important as understanding their perspectives. The best way I know of to do this is to facilitate communication between stakeholders.

Ideas for Facilitating Stakeholder Communication

In order to facilitate communication within the steering committee, I would try to capture user stories for each stakeholder. For example:

As the governor
I want the project to be successfully completed under budget
so that I don't have to cancel an existing project or appropriate additional funds.

The benefit of this approach is that it gives you information about the role of the stakeholder, explicitly states his goal for the project, and provides some additional context about his perspective which can be used to feed into additional processes. Additionally, it is constructed such that it can be shared among the stakeholders (it's transparent, and doesn't come across as intrusive or manipulative) and gives other stakeholders constructive information about how to interact with--and perhaps do a little horse-trading with--this particular stakeholder based on his unique project perspective.

In addition to making the stakeholders' perspectives transparent, these sorts of stakeholder stories can feed directly into project planning tools such as relative weighting or theme scoring calculators. These tools allow stakeholders to build consensus around project objectives based on clearly-articulated metrics, and often provide direct inputs to such calculators.

Whether or not the stakeholder stories provide direct input to project success sliders, they frequently provide context to other stakeholders about the metrics that are most important to others on the steering committee. As such, they increase communication, frame conversations, and provide a measurable backdrop that is generally more useful than implicit assumptions about organizational or stakeholder values.

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