A stakeholder is any person, group, team, or internal or external organization that is affected by the initiative, has influence over it, or is involved in constructing, deploying, or managing the solution.
Stakeholders should be evaluated along a number of dimensions:
- Position within the organization
- Role and responsibilities on the project
- Needs, expectations, and requirements
- Success criteria that they will use to judge the outcome of the initiative
- Communication needs
- Influence on the project, solution, or initiative
- Attitude towards the initiative
- Impact of the initiative on their role and responsibilities
- Interest in the project, solution, or initiative
Stakeholders may not only be individuals but rather may be organizations within or outside a company, such as customers, vendors, suppliers, markets, regulatory bodies, and so forth. They may be teams, groups, or virtual organizations. Therefore, the interactions between organizational units must be defined and described. Such interactions are best visualized through a diagram.
The experienced Business Analyst or Project Manager identifies stakeholders early in the project’s lifecycle to ensure that their needs, expectations, and requirements are uncovered, documented, and communicated.
Stakeholders can often be grouped into classes whenever possible to reduce the number of individual stakeholders. For large groups, a representative must be chosen. If no such representative can be found, then a surrogate must be appointed. During the requirements gathering effort, those stakeholders affected by or with input to the requirements must be consulted.
Stakeholders should be continually assessed along four dimensions:
- Attitude toward the project or initiative
- Influence over the project or initiative
- Impact from the project or initiative
- Interest in the project or initiative
- The solution will benefit them personally
- The organization at large benefits from the initiative
- The initiative curtails their power or influence
- They believe that the project team capable of delivering the solution on time
- They think that their input is valued
- There needs are being addressed
- They believe that their collaboration on the project will be supported by the organization
- They might be directly or indirectly punished or disadvantaged by participating in the project
- They trust the project sponsor and business analyst
- They have a good rapport and relationship with the business analyst and project manager
- They believe that the team members value and appreciate their participation
- Personal Benefit: There has to be a positive benefit to the stakeholder for them to be engaged; if there is no benefit, the stakeholder is less likely to participate in workshops, volunteer information, remain engaged throughout the lifecycle, and generally support the project.
- Personal Threats: A solution, project, or initiative that somehow threatens the stakeholder affects their attitude negatively. For example, a stakeholder who loses their job or loses influence or power will be less supportive of the project.
- They can affect funding, make decisions affecting resources, or exert influence over others in power to make funding and resource decisions
- They have authority to allocate funding or resources or cause others to do so
- They can sway the project sponsor
- Have sufficient influence to effectively affect a project’s funding, resources, or organizational support
- They can positively or negatively affect the attitude of other stakeholders
- They have domain knowledge or subject matter expertise that is critical to the project
- The project benefits them or their immediate organizational unit
- They gain or lose power or influence within the organization
- They will directly benefit from the project
- They respect and trust the project team
- They believe that the project team will deliver the solution
In an upcoming post l'll look at some techniques for mapping stakeholders and using that to determine how to manage them. So, stay tuned… and don't forget to join my free Membership Circle to get access to stakeholder checklists that you can use in your projects.
How do you monitor and evaluate your stakeholders?