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What is a Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix and How to Use It

Updated on: 03 July 2024 | 15 min read
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Engaging with stakeholders is crucial for the success of any project or organization. Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have an interest in the outcomes of your work. Effectively managing these relationships can help ensure project success, mitigate risks, and foster positive outcomes. A stakeholder engagement assessment matrix is a powerful tool that helps you understand and manage your stakeholders by assessing their level of influence and interest. This guide will walk you through what the matrix is, how to create it, and how to use it effectively.

What is a Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

A stakeholder engagement assessment matrix is a structured tool used to analyze and prioritize stakeholders involved in a project or organization. It helps in understanding the level of influence, interest, and impact each stakeholder has on the project’s outcomes. By assessing stakeholders through this matrix, you can identify key players who require more attention, tailor communication strategies accordingly, allocate resources efficiently, and mitigate risks effectively. This method ensures that stakeholders are engaged in a way that supports project success and fosters positive relationships throughout the project lifecycle.

By systematically analyzing stakeholders’ positions regarding the project, the matrix evaluates their influence—how much power they have to affect project outcomes—and their interest—how much they care about the project’s progress and results. This visualization helps prioritize stakeholders, ensuring that the most critical ones receive the necessary focus. Understanding stakeholders' influence and interest allows project managers to develop targeted engagement strategies, enhance communication, and allocate resources where they are most needed. Additionally, it helps in identifying potential risks early on and developing mitigation plans, ensuring smoother project execution. Ultimately, this structured approach to stakeholder engagement promotes project success and builds positive, long-term relationships with stakeholders.

How is the Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix Structured?

Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix
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Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

Matrix layout

The stakeholder engagement assessment matrix is typically structured as a table or spreadsheet, enabling easy visualization of stakeholder engagements. Stakeholders are listed in rows in the first column, and the engagement levels—Unaware, Resistant, Neutral, Supportive, and Leading—are marked along the top as columns. This setup works to categorize and track the engagement levels of each stakeholder efficiently.

Engagement levels

Each engagement level in the matrix offers unique insights into the stakeholders' stance and involvement in the project:

  • Unaware: Stakeholders who are not aware of the project or its implications.
  • Resistant: Those who are opposed to the project and may work against it.
  • Neutral: Stakeholders who neither support nor oppose the project.
  • Supportive: Those who are in favor of the project and likely to provide support.
  • Leading: Stakeholders who are actively engaged and championing the project.

How to Create a Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

Follow these steps to systematically analyze and prioritize stakeholders, making sure that efforts are directed towards building positive relationships and achieving project success.

Step 1: Identify stakeholders

The first step in creating a stakeholder engagement assessment matrix is to identify all relevant stakeholders. Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations that have an interest in or are affected by your project. To identify stakeholders

  • Brainstorming sessions: Conduct brainstorming sessions with your project team to list all possible stakeholders. Include everyone who might be impacted by the project or who can influence its outcome.
  • Stakeholder interviews: Interview key personnel and stakeholders to get their input on who should be included. This helps ensure you don’t miss any important stakeholders.
  • Review documents: Look at project documents, past project records, and organizational charts to identify stakeholders.
  • Categorize stakeholders: Group stakeholders into categories such as internal (employees, management) and external (customers, suppliers, regulatory bodies) to organize them better.
Stakeholder Map Example - Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix
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Stakeholder Map Example

Step 2: Assess stakeholder interests and influence

Once you have identified your stakeholders, the next step is to assess their interests and influence, which you can do with the help of the power influence/interest grid:

  1. Interest: Determine how much interest each stakeholder has in the project. Consider their needs, expectations, and how the project outcomes will impact them. High interest means the stakeholder is highly concerned with the project’s success or failure.
  2. Influence: Assess the level of influence each stakeholder has over the project. Influence can come from their position within the organization, their control over resources, or their ability to affect project outcomes. High influence means the stakeholder can significantly impact the project.
Power Influence Grid - Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix
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Power Influence Grid

Step 3: Define engagement levels

Engagement levels help classify stakeholders based on their stance and involvement in the project. Common engagement levels include:

  1. Unaware: Stakeholders who are not aware of the project or its implications. These stakeholders need basic information and awareness-raising.
  2. Resistant: Stakeholders who oppose the project and may work against it. They require efforts to address their concerns and mitigate opposition.
  3. Neutral: Stakeholders who neither support nor oppose the project. Engaging with them to build interest and involvement is crucial.
  4. Supportive: Stakeholders who are in favor of the project and likely to provide support. Keeping them informed and involved is essential.
  5. Leading: Stakeholders who are actively engaged and championing the project. They are key advocates and can help drive the project forward.
Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix
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Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

Step 4: Create the matrix

The stakeholder engagement assessment matrix is typically structured as a table or spreadsheet:

  1. Set up the table: Create a table (you can use a table chart maker like Creately to easily set up and customize your table). List all identified stakeholders in the rows of the first column.
  2. Columns for engagement levels: Label the columns across the top with the defined engagement levels (Unaware, Resistant, Neutral, Supportive, Leading). This layout helps in visualizing and tracking stakeholder engagement efficiently.

Step 5: Assess and classify stakeholders

With your matrix structure in place, classify each stakeholder:

  1. Evaluate engagement: For each stakeholder, evaluate their current level of engagement with the project based on their interest, influence, and previous interactions with similar projects.
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Stakeholder engagement plan
  1. Mark engagement levels: Mark the appropriate cell in the table to indicate each stakeholder’s engagement level. Use color-coding or symbols to make the matrix visually intuitive. For instance, use green for Supportive, red for Resistant, etc.

Step 6: Develop engagement strategies

Based on the analysis, develop specific engagement strategies for different stakeholder groups:

  1. Unaware: Increase awareness through informational meetings, newsletters, and communication materials that explain the project’s purpose, benefits, and impacts.
  2. Resistant: Address concerns by providing clear, transparent information, listening to their objections, and finding ways to mitigate their concerns.
  3. Neutral: Engage with them to understand their views, provide more detailed information about the project, and involve them in discussions to build their interest.
  4. Supportive: Keep them informed and involved through regular updates, meetings, and opportunities to contribute their ideas and feedback.
  5. Leading: Leverage their enthusiasm by involving them in leadership roles, giving them opportunities to advocate for the project, and recognizing their contributions.
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Stakeholder analysis and engagement plan toolkit

Step 7: Monitor and update

Finally, ensure the matrix remains relevant by monitoring and updating it regularly:

  1. Regular reviews: Periodically review and update the matrix to reflect changes in stakeholder engagement as the project progresses. This helps in keeping the engagement strategies relevant and effective.
  2. Adapt strategies: Adjust your engagement strategies based on the updated matrix. For instance, if a previously Resistant stakeholder has moved to Neutral, it might be time to increase efforts to move them towards Supportive or Leading.

When to Use the Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix

You should use the Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix in the following situations;

1. Project kickoff

Why Use: At the start of a project to identify all stakeholders and understand their importance and influence.

Benefits: Helps in planning targeted engagement strategies and ensures all stakeholders are considered from the beginning.

2. Project planning and strategy development

Why Use: During project planning to prioritize stakeholders and allocate resources effectively.

Benefits: Guides decision-making by highlighting key stakeholders who require focused attention, minimizing risks and maximizing project success.

3. Periodic reviews and updates:

Why Use: Regularly throughout the project lifecycle to monitor stakeholder dynamics and adjust engagement strategies.

Benefits: Ensures stakeholder needs are continuously met, maintains positive relationships, and adapts to changing project conditions.

4. Crisis management or major changes

Why Use: During crises or significant organizational changes to assess how stakeholders are impacted and adjust strategies accordingly.

Benefits: Helps in maintaining trust, managing expectations, and navigating challenges effectively.

Benefits and Limitations of the Stakeholder Assessment Matrix

Understanding the benefits and limitations helps organizations make use of the stakeholder engagement assessment matrix effectively, leveraging its strengths while mitigating potential challenges to boost stakeholder engagement and project outcomes.


  1. Strategic focus: Provides a structured approach to identify and prioritize stakeholders based on their influence, interest, and impact. This ensures that resources and efforts are directed towards stakeholders who can significantly impact project outcomes.
  2. Improved communication: Enhances communication by tailoring messages and engagement strategies to meet the specific needs and expectations of different stakeholder groups. This fosters better relationships and increases stakeholder support.
  3. Risk management: Helps in identifying potential risks early by understanding stakeholder concerns and expectations. This proactive approach allows organizations to mitigate risks and avoid conflicts that could derail project progress.
  4. Resource allocation: Facilitates efficient allocation of resources by prioritizing engagement efforts. This ensures that limited resources such as time, budget, and personnel are used effectively to achieve project objectives.
  5. Continuous improvement: Enables organizations to monitor stakeholder dynamics over time and adjust strategies as needed. This adaptability ensures that engagement remains relevant and responsive to evolving project conditions and stakeholder needs.


  1. Subjectivity: Scoring stakeholders based on influence, interest, and impact can be subjective and influenced by personal biases or limited information. This may lead to inconsistencies in stakeholder assessments.
  2. Complexity: Developing and maintaining a stakeholder engagement assessment matrix requires time and effort. It may be challenging to gather accurate data and ensure the matrix reflects current stakeholder dynamics, especially in large or complex projects.
  3. Over-reliance: There’s a risk of over-relying on the matrix as a standalone tool without considering qualitative factors or stakeholder feedback. Effective stakeholder engagement requires a holistic approach that includes direct communication and relationship-building efforts.
  4. Dynamic environment: Stakeholder relationships and priorities can change rapidly, especially in dynamic environments. The matrix may need frequent updates to remain relevant and effective, which requires ongoing monitoring and adjustment.
  5. Limited predictive power: While the matrix helps in assessing current stakeholder positions, it may have limited predictive power for future stakeholder behavior or responses to project developments. Organizations should supplement matrix findings with ongoing engagement and feedback mechanisms.

Why is Stakeholder Engagement Important?

Stakeholder engagement is crucial because it helps ensure the success of a project. Here’s why:

Builds support and trust

Engaging stakeholders from the beginning helps build trust and support for the project. When people feel involved and heard, they are more likely to back the project and work towards its success.

Identifies risks early

By involving stakeholders, you can identify potential risks and issues early on. Stakeholders can provide valuable insights and feedback that help you anticipate and address problems before they escalate.

Improves decision-making

Stakeholders often have diverse perspectives and expertise. Engaging them can lead to better decision-making as you consider a wider range of viewpoints and solutions.

Enhances communication

Regular engagement keeps stakeholders informed and reduces misunderstandings. Clear communication ensures that everyone knows what is happening, why it’s happening, and how it affects them.

Increases project success

Projects are more likely to succeed when stakeholders are actively involved and committed. Their input and support can help overcome obstacles and ensure that the project meets its goals and delivers value.

Builds long-term relationships

Effective stakeholder engagement helps build strong, long-term relationships. These relationships can be beneficial for future projects and ongoing collaboration.

Alternatives for Assessing Stakeholder Engagement

While the stakeholder engagement assessment matrix is a powerful tool, there are several other methods and frameworks you can use to assess stakeholder engagement. Here are some alternatives:

1. Stakeholder mapping (Power/Interest Grid)

Stakeholder mapping involves visualizing stakeholders based on their influence/power and interest in the project. This helps identify which stakeholders require more attention and resources.

Power interest grid- Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix
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Power interest grid

Key components:

The power interest grid plots stakeholders on a grid based on their level of power (influence) and interest.

  • High Power/High Interest: Manage closely
  • High Power/Low Interest: Keep satisfied
  • Low Power/High Interest: Keep informed
  • Low Power/Low Interest: Monitor with minimal effort


  • Simple and easy to understand
  • Helps prioritize stakeholders

2. Stakeholder analysis matrix

A detailed matrix that includes information about stakeholders, their interests, and potential impact on the project.

Stakeholder analysis matrix- Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix
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Stakeholder analysis matrix

Key components:

  • Stakeholder name
  • Interest and impact on the project
  • Potential issues or concerns
  • Communication needs and strategies
  • Responsibility and action plans


  • Provides a comprehensive view of each stakeholder
  • Helps in developing targeted engagement strategies

3. RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed)

The RACI matrix clarifies roles and responsibilities for project tasks and deliverables among stakeholders.

RACI matrix- Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix
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RACI matrix

Key components:

  • Responsible (R): Those who do the work to achieve the task
  • Accountable (A): The person ultimately answerable for the correct and thorough completion of the task
  • Consulted (C): Those whose opinions are sought
  • Informed (I): Those who are kept up-to-date on progress and outcomes


  • Clarifies roles and responsibilities
  • Reduces confusion and overlap in tasks

How to Overcome Challenges in Stakeholder Engagement

Engaging stakeholders effectively can be challenging, but addressing these challenges is essential for project success. Here’s how to overcome common obstacles in stakeholder engagement:

Identify and prioritize stakeholders

  • Challenge: It can be difficult to identify all relevant stakeholders and determine their level of importance.
  • Solution: Use a systematic approach like stakeholder mapping to identify and prioritize stakeholders based on their influence and interest in the project.

Clear and consistent communication

  • Challenge: Miscommunication or lack of information can lead to misunderstandings and mistrust.
  • Solution: Develop a clear communication plan that outlines how and when you will communicate with each stakeholder. Use multiple channels (e.g., email, meetings, reports) to ensure consistent and transparent communication.

Addressing conflicting interests

  • Challenge: Different stakeholders may have conflicting interests and expectations.
  • Solution: Facilitate open discussions to understand each stakeholder’s perspective. Use negotiation and conflict resolution techniques to find common ground and compromise solutions that satisfy the majority.

Managing stakeholder expectations

  • Challenge: Stakeholders may have unrealistic expectations about project outcomes and timelines.
  • Solution: Set realistic expectations from the beginning. Clearly define project goals, deliverables, and timelines, and regularly update stakeholders on progress and any changes.

Building trust and relationships

  • Challenge: Lack of trust can hinder effective engagement and collaboration.
  • Solution: Build trust by being transparent, honest, and responsive. Follow through on commitments and show stakeholders that their input is valued and acted upon.

Dealing with resistance

  • Challenge: Some stakeholders may resist changes or new initiatives.
  • Solution: Identify the reasons for resistance and address them directly. Provide clear information about the benefits of the project and involve resistant stakeholders in the planning and decision-making process to gain their buy-in.

Using Creately to Create Your Stakeholder Assessment Matrix

Creating a stakeholder engagement assessment matrix can be significantly streamlined by using a visual collaboration platform like Creately. It offers a range of features that make the process efficient, collaborative, and visually appealing.

Intuitive diagramming tools

Creately provides intuitive diagramming tools that make it easy to create and customize your matrix:

  • Drag-and-drop interface: Easily add and position elements on your matrix with a simple drag-and-drop interface.
  • Templates: Start with pre-designed templates for stakeholder matrices to save time and ensure consistency.
  • Custom shapes and icons: Access a wide range of shapes and icons to represent different stakeholders and engagement levels visually.

Real-time collaboration

One of the standout features of Creately is its ability to facilitate real-time collaboration:

  • Multi-user editing: Multiple team members can work on the matrix simultaneously, making updates and changes in real-time.
  • Comments and feedback: Add comments directly on the matrix to discuss specific stakeholders or engagement strategies. Team members can reply to comments, making it easy to have focused discussions.
  • Version control: Track changes over time with version control, allowing you to revert to previous versions if needed.

Easy sharing and integration

Creately makes it simple to share your matrix and integrate it with other tools:

  • Shareable links: Generate shareable links to your matrix for easy access by stakeholders and team members. Control permissions to ensure only authorized users can view or edit the matrix.
  • Embed diagrams: Embed your matrix in presentations, reports, or websites to keep stakeholders informed and engaged.
  • Integration with other tools: Integrate Creately with other project management and collaboration tools like Confluence, Slack, and Google Drive for seamless workflows.

Visualization and customization

Effective visualization is key to understanding and managing stakeholder engagement:

  • Color coding: Use color coding to represent different engagement levels (e.g., green for Supportive, red for Resistant), making it easy to see stakeholder status at a glance.
  • Custom labels and annotations: Add custom labels and annotations to provide context and additional information about each stakeholder.
  • Layouts and themes: Customize the layout and theme of your matrix to match your project’s branding or specific needs.


The stakeholder engagement assessment matrix is a crucial tool for managing stakeholder relationships throughout a project. By identifying stakeholders, assessing their interests and influence, and categorizing their engagement levels, you can develop targeted strategies to address their needs effectively. Using tools like Creately streamlines this process by enabling real-time collaboration, easy sharing, and clear visualization. Regular updates ensure that your engagement strategies remain relevant and responsive to stakeholders’ evolving expectations. This structured approach improves project success by fostering strong stakeholder support and cooperation.

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Amanda Athuraliya
Amanda Athuraliya Communications Specialist

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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