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Categorizing Stakeholders

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Stakeholder Engagement

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Categorizing Stakeholders

Course Description 

This module provides a framework for stakeholder engagement through the Stakeholder Engagement Cycle, before looking at how you can categorize your stakeholders. Then it looks at personas – what they are, why they’re important and how you can create them. 

Learning Objectives 

The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of: 

  • The key stages in the stakeholder engagement cycle. 
  • The categories of stakeholders and how they can be categorized using the stakeholder map and influence/Interest matrix. 
  • When personas are required and their role in understanding stakeholders. 
  • The stages in creating an effective persona and how they can be used. 


Intended Audience 

This course is aimed at Scrum Masters who want to improve their individual knowledge of stakeholder engagement practices in service to their Scrum team and their wider organization 

Prerequisites of the Certifications 

There are no specific pre-requisites to study this course 



We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at qa.elearningadmin@qa.com to let us know what you think. 


The stakeholder engagement cycle involves categorizing stakeholders and creating the Stakeholder Influence/Interest Matrix during the analyzing stakeholders stage. In this video we’ll look at these two areas in more detail.   


Types of shareholders 

In Scrum, a stakeholder is anyone with a vested interest in the product, and this interest can relate to any stage of the product analysis, development or deployment process. 


When you’re analyzing your stakeholders, it can be helpful to categorize them so you can identify each type and consider their unique needs. Here’s a simple framework for segmenting stakeholders and understanding what their particular areas of interest might be. 

  • Customers and users are stakeholders because they’re impacted by the quality and value of a service or product – arguably an organization’s reason for existing is to serve its customers. The quality of some products or services impact customers more than others, especially if there are safety considerations like rail or air travel and medical services. Customers can be individuals or other organizations. 

  • Suppliers and vendors sell goods or services to the organization and receive revenue to sustain their business. They can either operate as an independent businesses, as contractors to the organization or as partners. 

  • Shareholders and debtholders can be classified as investors. Shareholders invest capital in the business and expect to earn a rate of return on that capital – this is the concept of shareholder value. Investors also include lenders and other providers of capital, and different classes of shareholders. 

  • Employees have a stake in the organization because they commit their time, ideas and energy in return for an income (and possibly other benefits) and the expectation that they’re working in a safe environment. Trades unions and other employee representative groups also fall into the wider ‘employee’ category.  

  • Communities are stakeholders in many organizations because they’re impacted by things like job creation and economic development. When a large organization enters or exits a small community, there’s an immediate impact on employment, incomes, and spending in the area. We all know of towns and cities that have one or two major employers and the local impact if they expand or contract their operation. 

  • Other community stakeholders include pressure and interest groups and charities or NGOs who are often interested in the health, safety and environmental impact of organizations. 

  • Local and national governments are stakeholders in an organization because they collect taxes from the company and the staff employed by it. They also generate taxes, like VAT from the goods and services the organization creates. Governments benefit from the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that companies contribute to. 


Organizations often work within a regulatory framework overseen by an independent body – like the financial service or utilities industries. These regulators are also stakeholders because they ensure the organization works within their guidelines. 


Stakeholder Interest/Influence Matrix 

Once you’ve identified your stakeholders, you need to think about the best way of communicating with them to help you build an effective working relationship. 


As you can see in the matrix here, stakeholders are divided into four categories – subjects, players, crowd and context setters. 


These are positioned in different areas on the grid according to their degree of power or interest. A stakeholder is typically interested in a product or service if it noticeably affects them. And they have high power if they can influence the product decisions, for example, if or when a new feature is implemented. 


You should map each of your stakeholders against these categories to help you work out how best to engage with them. It doesn’t matter if the stakeholder is inside or outside the organization, is a customer or a supplier, or even whether they use your product or service, or they’re only affected by it. For example, a pressure group could have a strong interest and high level of power if they’re well supported (think of the fracking industry) whereas a senior manager in the organization might have low power and low interest, depending on the importance of the product or service to their area of responsibility. 


Engagement strategies need to be tailored to the stakeholder influence and interest – here are some suggested approaches: 

  • Subjects should perhaps be involved on a monthly basis during things like sprint review meetings; 

  • Players should be collaborated with on a fairly frequent basis; like during each sprint. They should be involved in Strategy and Roadmap workshops and sprint review meetings;  

  • The Crowd should be kept informed through emails, videos, newsletters and other periodic communication methods; and 

  • Context setters should be consulted as regularly as necessary – for example quarterly in one-to-one meetings. 

About the Author
Tony Cotgrave
Agile and Scrum trainer
Learning Paths

Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting, and Project/Program Management working with public, private, and third sector organizations.

He has helped organizations to design and create processes and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider, utilizing a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.

As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills, Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.

Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Program and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers, and worked at the director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.