Stakeholder – Advocate, blocker or Swiss?

Stake, by tonZ, Flickr, Some Rights Reserved

Stakeholder – A person with an interest or concern in something.

Stakeholder is someone with power and/or interest in what you are doing. Thus, a deliberate assessment of who’s who supports expectation management through careful communication.

I think you are a stakeholder on this, lets hammer this in three parts.


Use a good starting point to identify the stakeholders. You may find useful picking one or more of these techniques. I recommend using at least stakeholder nomination as a way to cross check your candidates with someone who has a vested interest.

Stakeholder wheel – A top down approach by pinpointing people from major stakeholder groups. A starter might be this list:

    1. owners
    2. managers
    3. employees
    4. supervisors
    5. suppliers
    6. partners
    7. customers
    8. competitors

Stakeholder nomination – Just ask an important stakeholder: “Who are the stakeholders?”.

Background search – Scavenge existing documentation (reports, organization charts, job descriptions, policy manuals, feasibility study reports) and find explicitly identified people, managers and groups. Then map them to corresponding roles on your context.


For every stakeholder classify him regarding interest and power. After this pick where they stand (advocate, blocker or Swiss). Visually you can draw a map for the stakeholders, like this:

Stakeholder power/influence matrix example, by Rui Soares, Some Rights Reserved

Stakeholder power/influence matrix example


Now you have a  basis to establish communication approach and depth of involvement with each stakeholder (depending on where they stand on both dimensions of the power/influenxe matrix – notice that this must be reviewed regularly for newcomers, changes in influence/power that we may or may not… influence).

→ Want to know more? Business Analysis as a discipline treats this as a requirement gathering technique, there’s good literature on this available online:

Also a good introductory book to Business Analysis techniques is: 72 Essential Tools for Success by James Cadle, Debra Paul and Paul Turner.


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2 Responses to “Stakeholder – Advocate, blocker or Swiss?”

  1. Business Service Orchestration | ITIL Blues Says:

    […] ITIL rants and raves « Stakeholder – Advocate, blocker or Swiss? […]

  2. 2013 Wrap-up | ITIL Blues Says:

    […] topics I dwelved into: Interviewing, Stakeholders, Service Catalog versus Service Request Catalog, Change, […]

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