Stakeholder Analysis (Venn Diagrams)

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Engagement range


Difficulty level



Low (up to $1000)

When you might use

  • To gain an understanding of the stakeholders

  • To gain an understanding of the likely risks/issues/problems

Number of people to organise

Can be undertaken by a single person

Audience numbers

Small (up to 10) Medium (11-30) Large (over 30)


Short (up to 6 weeks) to Medium (6 weeks to 6 months)


Coloured card circles, about five sizes, five of each size, ranging from 50mm to 300mm diameter

Innovation level

Low to Medium



Stakeholder analysis is an essential part of developing a useful Engagement Plan. Venn diagrams are a simple tool to provide a visual ‘map’ of the relationships between stakeholders. Used either on its own, or as part of a broader stakeholder analysis, this technique can provide useful insights for a project development team. It is especially useful when working in a facilitated group, as it allows group members the opportunity to discuss their individual understandings of the relationships between stakeholders, and come to a common understanding.



To provide a visual image of the relationships between stakeholders.


Desired Outcome

A better understanding of the influence and relationships between stakeholders in a project.



  • When working with a group developing a project it is especially useful in generating discussion around on the topic of relationships between stakeholders.
  • Time efficient.

Special considerations/weaknesses

Allow an hour creating the various card circles in advance.


Step by step guide

  1. Make a list of all stakeholders.
  2. Rank stakeholders on a scale of one to five according to a common criteria, such as ‘interest in the project outcomes’ or ‘interest in the subject’.
  3. Write the name of each stakeholder on the card circle that corresponds to the importance of the stakeholder. The more important, the larger the circle.
  4. Take two of the largest circles, and place them to illustrate the level of relationship between them. If no relationship, the circles will be separate. If a slight relationship, one will overlap the other a small amount. If a high relationship, they will almost cover each other. Working from the largest to the smallest, keep adding each card circle in such a way that it illustrates the relationships between it and the other stakeholders. Questions that the map can be used to elicit answers being:
    • Are there any surprises?
    • Which stakeholders have the most influence?
    • Which stakeholders do we have the most/least contact with?
    • Which stakeholders might we have to make special efforts to ensure engagement?


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