Stakeholder Analysis and Mapping for UX Design

Usually, when we discuss UX design, we are mostly concerned about users’ satisfaction and the product’s usability, which should be like this because we design products to make user’s life more comfortable; that’s the primary goal. 

Along with user satisfaction, there are some other groups that we should take into account. Because? They also play a massive role in the product’s success. 

 If you want to build trust and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage, even get a better financial return in the long term from the product, you need to consider stakeholders’ satisfaction as well.  

As you can see in the title, today, we will discuss how to do stakeholder mapping and analysis for UX projects!

But let’s understand what exactly a stakeholder is. 

Who Are The Stakeholders?

The American philosopher Dr. Edward Freeman suggests that a company’s stakeholders are “those groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist.”  

If you want elaboration,

A stakeholder is any individual with interest in your project or with whom you must collaborate to complete it. Stakeholders could include your CEO, marketing director, account manager, and even your manager. Internal or external stakeholders can be identified. If you are unsure about the stakeholders for your project, consider who is interested in it and who has power, influence, or control over it.

If you want to do a UX project, it’s important to plan with the people who need to be involved. Your stakeholders can help you make sure that the research you do is as helpful for your project as possible and that the people you need help from are interested in your work.

Stakeholders in a typical UX project include engineers, product managers, UX designers, quality assurance, senior managers, and C-level executives. Because each of your stakeholders has different talents, settings, and pressures, this variety poses substantial issues. If you can’t handle these issues smoothly, there is a higher chance your UX project may fail.

So what can you do?  You can start with stakeholder mapping.  If you are unfamiliar with it, let’s understand this first. 

What is Stakeholder Mapping? 

A stakeholder map is a graphical four-quadrant influence-interest matrix used to categorize stakeholders based on their influence and interest in the project.

Stakeholder mapping is the visual technique of representing all stakeholders of a product, project, or concept on a single map. The primary advantage of a stakeholder map is obtaining a visual picture of all the individuals that can influence your project and their connections.

A stakeholder map establishes a stakeholder’s connection to the project, which is the first stage in stakeholder management. Almost every choice a project manager makes regarding their stakeholders will be influenced by it, including how frequently they meet and how much information they receive.

The y-axis shows the level of interest, from most interested at the top to least interested at the bottom. This shows how much the outcome of the project affects each stakeholder. The x-axis of the grid shows how much the stakeholder can affect the project, going from low (left side) to high (right side).

Then, each stakeholder is put on this map based on where they stand on these two metrics.

You can shape your projects early on based on what the most important people think, and their input can also make your projects better. 

Getting the support of influential stakeholders can help you win more resources, making your projects more likely to be successful.  I will discuss this point in elaboration in the following section:

How Does Stakeholder Analysis Make Your Project More Successful? 

Setting The Proper Objectives and Priorities

The analysis of stakeholders is the preliminary stage in the UX design process as a whole. It aids in comprehending the primary product/service owner’s vision and defining the different goals, such as business objectives, user objectives, and product/service objectives.

Establishes Communication

Improving communication with the product owner is crucial to the UX design process. Collaboration and bonding with stakeholders increase both parties’ confidence and appreciation, which helps to comprehend and validate the design efforts.

Establishes Communication

Taking Calculated Risks

The interaction with project stakeholders aids in the management of the project’s unidentified risk. The owner can evaluate all the benefits and drawbacks, as well as the consequence, of revising any important decision made previously in order to mitigate risk.

Prevention of Conflict and Mismanagement 

Even the most promising projects could be jeopardized by inter-organizational conflict. Before beginning a project, analyzing the stakeholder model helps to identify potential grounds for contention. This enables you to identify the best angle to convince Top executives or anyone else who may require additional persuasion.

Manage Expectations

Expectation management can also be accomplished via stakeholder mapping. Stakeholder mapping allows you to see where each group stands in relation to the project at any given time. Therefore, a project manager can gradually address these expectations as the project is carried out, bringing them into line with the project to ensure that the deliverables satisfy everyone involved.

Build Trust

When ideas and thought processes are shared with stakeholders, and their input is also heard for every given project, this helps owners realize the caliber of the UX designer or team. This practice aids in gaining the confidence of stakeholders.

Saves Money and Time

The discussion with project stakeholders offered the appropriate contrast to his perspective on the undertaking. It narrowed the scope of assumptions and presumptions. Consequently, fewer errors and redos are made.

Stakeholder Mapping Can be Broken Down into Three Steps: 

Identify all the external and internal stakeholders 

You cannot advance to the analysis phase if you do not know who you are analyzing. The initial stage is to determine who may be affected by your idea. This could include both internal and external stakeholders or only department members. Involve all business stakeholders if you are unsure in order to avoid accidentally overlooking key figures.

Internal stakeholders are presidents, directors, project managers, team members, and co-workers. These people direct the strategy and development of the organization.  External stakeholders are users, suppliers, society, government, and shareholders. 

Categorize The Stakeholders and Visually Map Them

After you have made the list of all the stakeholders, it is time to put them in separate groups of stakeholders’ power grids.  The positioning of each stakeholder depends on their influence and interest in the project.  

After you have analyzed the connection of each stakeholder to the product, you can divide them into four groups:

  • High Power, High interest  ( top right corner)
  • High Power, Low Interest  (top left corner)
  • Low Power, High Interest  (Down right corner)
  • Low Power, Low interest   (Down left corner)

If you have a problem analyzing stakeholders’ positions in your matrix, you can make a spreadsheet, categorize them and give values according to the following questions:

  • Does the stakeholder have any advice, information, or skills that could help the project?
  • How valid is the stakeholder’s claim that they should be involved?
  • How much power does the stakeholder have?
  • Is this a person who, if excluded from the project, may sabotage it or undermine its credibility?

Based on the answers, you can decide how to involve or communicate with them while working on the project. 

Prioritize Them and Formulate Communication Strategy 

Now that you have applied stakeholder mapping tools to identify and analyze all parties involved, it is time to devise a communication strategy that will win them over. Consider their objectives, priorities, and anticipated perspectives on the project. 

With this information, you can formulate your strategy. As mentioned above, you should concentrate your efforts on those identified as powerful and of high interest.

After defining your objectives, it is essential to devise a plan for engaging all the major stakeholders.

There is no universal formula for creating openness and accountability for a project. However, the following are some best practices that might assist you:

  • You should have frequent face-to-face interactions with influential, highly interested individuals. Developing their trust first is essential for the success of your project.
  • If someone is opposed to the proposal, you can obtain support from a person of equal influence and then urge that person to persuade the opponent. 
  • Make meeting agendas. Having specific subjects of discussion helps keep meetings on track and ensures that essential items are not overlooked. Similarly, distributing agendas after meetings aids in summarizing the issues discussed and acts as a helpful reminder for all attendees. 

People will need time to deliberate before making a decision; therefore, early and frequent communication is also crucial.

  • Provide each stakeholder with the appropriate quantity of information based on their interests. Some individuals require only an executive summary, while others wish to delve deeper.

By now, you have a clear understanding of what stakeholder mapping is and how you can build one.

In this segment, we will discuss how to interpret the information you received from stakeholder analysis and how to deal with them. 

Low power, Low-Interest

Low-power, and low-interest stakeholders should not be neglected, but excessive time should not be spent talking with them. Typically, occasional monitoring is adequate to confirm that neither their power nor their interest levels have altered significantly. Included among these stakeholders are members of the general public, who are frequently unaware of your project.

Low Power, High Interest 

Due to their relatively limited impact, these stakeholders can do minimal harm to your project, but they are nevertheless interested in the progress or final outcome of your team’s work. It is usually sufficient to keep them informed and up to date on the project.

For example, ensuring that they have access to your website’s public page and then updating it regularly is adequate involvement. You can also send these stakeholders monthly newsletters or press releases.

Community groups and others who may be influenced by the outcome of your project are examples of stakeholders.

High Power, Low Interest 

The stakeholders in the upper left corner of the matrix are the ones you, as the project manager, must endeavor to keep happy. Due to their influence over your project (financial, permitting, etc.), you must guarantee that their needs are met. 

This sort of stakeholder includes agencies such as the building plans department that must issue construction permits and conduct inspections; they are not particularly invested in the outcome of your project but wield enormous influence over your ability to execute on schedule and within budget.

High Power, High Interest 

You are obligated to maintain the satisfaction of the stakeholders in the upper right corner of the matrix and to engage with them actively and discuss with them. 

These stakeholders are the “big dogs,” and they have the potential to or will almost certainly have a considerable influence over your project. 

These individuals consist of financing agencies, higher management, and (often) your client base.

In small projects or businesses, you might only have a few important stakeholders. If this is the case, it’s easy to get them involved. In bigger projects or companies, so many people may be involved that it’s hard to see the big picture.

And dealing with them is much harder. 

In order to successfully manage a project, it is necessary to develop positive relationships with the many stakeholders. By fully understanding their project stakeholders, project managers may more effectively build strategies to reduce delays, mitigate risks, and better align projects with bigger corporate goals.

When you assess the interests of your stakeholders, you not only create a solid foundation for legal compliance, but you also provide yourself the ability to implement policies that protect the privacy of your stakeholders.

Conclusion, 

Any product or service’s UX lifecycle starts with an analysis of the stakeholders involved. As stated, experience design is a team effort and not solely the duty of the UX designer. A stakeholder is also a crucial element in achieving UX objectives. The information he or she provided was crucial for determining the path of the UX procedure.

The Analysis enables the UX designer to link the design thinking and practice with the various product/service objectives.

Mapping stakeholders is also a method for managing expectations. By mapping your stakeholders, you can determine their position in relation to the project. Consequently, a project manager may incrementally address these expectations, bringing them into alignment with the project so that everyone is satisfied with the results.

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