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The 4 Key Stakeholder Personas: A Guide to Stakeholder Mapping
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The 4 Key Stakeholder Personas: A Guide to Stakeholder Mapping

The 4 Key Stakeholder Personas: A Guide to Stakeholder Mapping

Theertha Raj
January 17, 2024

Effective stakeholder management is a cornerstone of successful project execution.

By understanding the diverse perspectives of stakeholders, you can:

  • Address potential concerns early, and prevent conflicts that could derail the project.
  • Secure consensus and buy-in with tailored communication strategies and engagement
  • Benefit from stakeholders’ expertise, and foster collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Scroll on to read about how to identify each stakeholder persona, the communication strategies they need and a free template to do your own stakeholder persona mapping!

The Power-Interest Stakeholder Matrix

The Power-Interest matrix is a great tool to identify personas for stakeholders, based on their interest and influencing capacity concerning your project.

The Power-Interest matrix with the 4 Stakeholder Persona quadrants

On one axis of the matrix lies power, representing the stakeholder's ability to influence project decisions. 

On the other axis lies interest, signifying the stakeholder's level of involvement in the project. 

The Four Key Stakeholder Personas

The Power-Interest Matrix classifies stakeholders into four distinct personas:

  1. Architects
  2. Observers
  3. Explorers
  4. Casual Observers
Persona Power Interest Role in Project Success Engagement Strategies
Architects High High Influence product decisions and actively involved in research Regular updates, collaboration on data analysis, timely delivery of key findings
Observers High Low Decision-making power but don't engage deeply with research Highlight impact of research, avoid jargon, concise reports
Explorers Low High Enthusiastic about research and eager to learn Central repository for findings, regular knowledge exchange meetings
Casual Observers Low Low Minimal influence or involvement in research or product decisions Share significant breakthroughs, identify cross-collaboration opportunities

The Architects : High-Power, High-Involvement Stakeholders

Architects are the stakeholders who hold the most significant influence over product decisions. They’re also actively involved in the research process. 

Their deep understanding of the project's goals, technical expertise, and decision-making influence make them crucial partners in ensuring project success.

Architect stakeholders can include product managers, product team leads, design team leads, etc.

Due to their active involvement in the research process, Architects require regular updates, transparency, and collaboration to remain engaged and informed throughout the project lifecycle.

How to make Architects happy

1. Regular updates and transparency

Architects value transparency and appreciate being kept informed of project progress, challenges, and key findings regularly. This helps them stay aligned with the project's direction and provide timely input when needed.

  • Establish regular communication channels: Set up regular meetings, email updates, or project management tools to keep Architects informed of project progress.
  • Share research findings promptly: Provide Architects with early access to research findings, allowing them to understand emerging insights and provide feedback. Bring them into calls, share video snippets and surprising learnings throughout the study.

2. Collaboration on data analysis and decision-Making

Architects bring valuable expertise and insights to the research process. Involve them in data analysis, interpretation, and decision-making to leverage their knowledge and gain their support for the project's direction.

  • Seek input on research design: Encourage Architects to provide input on the design of research studies, ensuring that the research addresses their concerns and objectives.
  • Collaboratively analyze data: Involve Architects in the analysis of research data, allowing them to interpret findings from their unique perspective.
  • Present findings jointly: Co-present research findings to other stakeholders, allowing Architects to highlight their contributions and insights.

3. Timely delivery of key findings

Most importantly, architects rely on timely delivery of key research findings to inform their decision-making processes. 

Understand their decision-making timelines and ensure that key research findings are delivered on time. These critical findings should be delivered promptly, in a format that is easily digestible for their needs.

The Observers: High-Power, Low-Interest Stakeholders

Observers are individuals with decision-making power but limited involvement in the research process. While they may not be directly involved in the day-to-day research activities, their decisions can significantly impact the project's outcomes.

Observers occupy executive, sponsorship, or senior management positions— examples include CMOs, CPOs, or the CEO of the company. Their decisions can range from approving project funding to providing strategic guidance and allocating resources.

How to make Observers happy

1.  Highlight impact on business outcomes

Observers don’t care too much about how you do research, they care more about it’s business implications. 

  • Link research findings to business objectives: Clearly articulate how research insights translate into actionable strategies that drive business growth, improve product performance, or enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Quantify the impact of research: Use data and metrics to quantify the impact of research, highlighting the return on investment (ROI) of research efforts.
  • Focus on strategic implications: Emphasize the strategic implications of research findings, with insights that inform long-term decision-making.

2. Avoid technical jargon

Observers often have limited exposure, or don’t have the time to bother with technical details of research methodologies and findings. UX jargon as Joe Natoli points out here, can create a barrier between UXers and other stakeholders, leading to misunderstandings and a lack of appreciation for the value of UX.

  • Translate technical findings into plain language: Use simple, understandable language to explain research findings, avoiding overly technical terms or jargon.

  • Tailor communication to their level of understanding: Assess the Observers' familiarity with research methodologies and adapt communication accordingly.

3. Provide action-oriented, concise reports

Observers are busy folks. Assume they don't have more than 30 seconds to read anything. Provide them with concise, digestible reports that are easy to skim through.

  • Keep it action-oriented: Highlight outcomes that matter to them specifically. 
  • Executive summaries: Include concise summaries that provide a quick overview of key findings and their implications.
  • Data visualizations: Use data visualizations such as charts and graphs to present complex data.

The Explorers: Low-Power, High-Involvement Stakeholders

Explorers represent the enthusiastic learners and knowledge seekers within the organization. They may be junior-level team members, researchers, or individuals from other departments who are curious about the project and eager to learn from its findings. 

While Explorers may not have direct decision-making power, their enthusiasm and willingness to engage can contribute significantly to the project's knowledge base and overall success.

Recognizing and supporting their involvement is crucial for fostering a culture of learning and collaboration.

How to keep Explorers happy

Explorers benefit from opportunities to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and collaborate with their peers.

1.  Create a central repository for research findings

Establish a central repository where Explorers can easily access and share research findings, methodologies, and insights. This could be a shared document, a dedicated Slack channel, or a specialized tool like Looppanel.

  • Encourage regular contributions: Encourage Explorers to contribute their findings, learnings, and insights to the repository, fostering a culture of knowledge sharing.
  • Curate and organize content: Regularly curate and organize the content in the repository to ensure it remains relevant, up-to-date, and easily searchable.
  • Easy to access and search: Make the repository easily accessible to all Explorers, and searchable to find what they need easily. For example, our research repository tool Looppanel has a Google-like search feature to find insights and data from any project easily.
Never built a repository before? Here’s how Google and Razorpay built theirs.

2. Organize Regular Meetings

Organize weekly syncs or meetings to share new learnings, methods, and challenges everyone is facing. For example, if you found a new way to recruit users, share it! Encourage cross-pollination of ideas, and create opportunities for Explorers from different departments to interact and learn from each other's perspectives.

The Casual Observers: Low-Power, Low-Involvement Stakeholders

This category of stakeholders has minimal influence or direct involvement in research activities or product decisions. They may be individuals from other departments such as marketing leads, sales team members, support teams, or external stakeholders who are indirectly affected by the project's outcomes.

Casual Observers have limited influence over project decisions, but can still play a valuable role in providing feedback, and identifying potential issues.

How to keep Casual Observers happy

While Casual Observers may not require constant updates or in-depth involvement, it is important to strategically engage them when relevant to maintain their support and awareness. 

1.  Share significant breakthroughs

Don’t forget to loop Casual Observers in on big findings and research breakthroughs. This could be as simple as sharing key insights at all-hands meetings. 

  • Tailored communication: Adapt the level of detail and complexity of the communication to the interests and understanding of Casual Observers.
  • Keep insights relevant: Focus on how research findings may impact Casual Observers' areas of responsibility.

2.  Maintain open communication channels

  • Identify collaboration opportunities: Identify areas where Casual Observers' expertise or resources can contribute to the project's success.
  • Regular check-ins: Schedule regular check-ins with Casual Observers to provide updates, address questions, and maintain a connection.
  • Open-door policy: Establish an open-door policy, encouraging Casual Observers to reach out with concerns or suggestions.
  • Feedback mechanisms: Implement feedback mechanisms, such as surveys or suggestion boxes, to gather input from Casual Observers.

How to Do Stakeholder Mapping: Free Template

Stakeholder Mapping Template by Looppanel

To make things even easier, we have created a ready-made Figjam template for stakeholder mapping here!

How to use this template:

  • Use the table given to organize your key stakeholders by their priorities/objectives, power and interest levels. Use the imaginary examples as a guide.
  • Place stakeholders in their respective categories on the Power-Interest matrix.
  • Refer to the article on how to tailor communication strategies to each stakeholder persona.
Click here to access Looppanel's Figjam template for Stakeholder Persona Mapping.


Effective stakeholder management is the key to getting buy-ins for UX research projects. The Power-Interest Matrix is a great tool to classify stakeholders into 4 personas, and tailor strategies effectively.

The 4 stakeholder personas are Architects, Observers, Explorers, and Casual Observers. Architects, with high power and high interest, are crucial for project success and require regular updates, collaboration in data analysis, and timely delivery of key findings. 

Observers, possessing high power but low interest, influence the project significantly and prefer concise, impactful reports linked to business outcomes, without technical jargon. 

Explorers, with low power but high interest, are eager learners who benefit from a central repository of research findings and regular knowledge-sharing meetings. 

Casual Observers, having low power and low interest, play a smaller role but should be kept informed about significant breakthroughs and opportunities for cross-collaboration. 

Effective engagement with each group involves tailored communication strategies, transparency, and leveraging their unique perspectives and contributions to ensure project success.

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