What is it?
A stakeholder map is a visual or physical representation of the various groups involved in a particular service. By representing staff, customers, partner organisations, and other stakeholders in this way, the interplay between these various groups can be charted and analysed.
How to do it?
List all stakeholders. You can use post-its or simply write them on a flipchart.
Prioritise the stakeholders. Which of these stakeholders are essential, important, or interesting for your project?
Visualize the stakeholder on a map. Sketch the stakeholders visually onto the stakeholder map according to the prioritization - the more important they are.
Sketch the mutual relationships between stakeholders. What does each stakeholder provide to the other (product, money, trust, love, smile, etc.)?
Describe the relationship between stakeholders instead of their value exchange. How would you describe the relationship between a customer and a company, or the relationship between different departments within an organisation?
A stakeholder map changes over time. Sometimes, it makes sense to make two scenarios: one “before” and one “after " e.g. a change or crisis scenario.
Create stakeholder maps for different general topics or combine maps that visualizing the system of a customer with the one visualizing the system of an organisation.
The visualizations of relationships provide context. Use this context to test/revise the system, e.g. an angry customer, the last customer of the day (from a front-line employee perspective), experienced and inexperienced user, etc.).
Add not only persons and organisations as stakeholders, but also think of places, (digital) platforms, websites, etc.
Understand value beyond mere products, services, and monetary values. Think also about trust, love, etc.
Define/understand the perspective. Which perspective does the organisation/department you do this with have? Is it organisation-focused (i.e. various departments are in the center of the map) or already user-focused (i.e. customers or personas are in the center of the map).
There’s also some software to do stakeholder maps:
MrThinkr A2 Stakeholder Map template (download soon for free here: http://www.mrthinkr.com):
smaply A0 Journey Map template (download free here: http://www.smaply.com):
Stickdorn, M., & Schneider, J. (2010). This is Service Design Thinking. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers, p. 172-173.