Friday, November 9, 2012

Stakeholder Analysis: Importance of identifying, understanding, engaging and managing the players

What is Stakeholder Analysis?
A “Stakeholder” is anyone that is affected by your project or can positively or negatively influence the project. Understanding and appropriately managing all types of stakeholders is crucial to the success of any project.
So... “Stakeholder Analysis” is the process of identifying and engaging stakeholders [with the goal of positive impact].

Usually identifying all stakeholders will result in a long list of people and groups. This list will help your team recognize the true scope and complexity of the pending implementation. Then you categorize the list of stakeholders into various groups; to work on an “Stakeholder Engagement” strategy.

Here is a sample set of stakeholders to consider (for software projects):
  • People that is paying for the project.
  • Managers that can influence project success.
  • People that will have a say on what the outcome/result should be.
  • Project members and project roles [Business analysts, solution Architects, QA, Business Owners etc.]
  • People that will be using the completed product.
  • People that will be supporting the completed product [product support, operations, help-desk, administrators etc.].
  • Various capability providers [Hardware, Software, long term licences, maintenance budget].
  • Auditors, Regulators and Advisors.
  • External Suppliers etc.
  • Any trainers that will be training the project team.
  • Users that are affected by the proposed solution.
  • Others that can influence all above [Internal staff, internal managers, unions, vocal personnel, media, any interest groups etc.].

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix:
It is standard practice to maintain a "Stakeholder Matrix"; to track all identified stakeholders against various stakeholder-attributes and managing strategies.

Below screenshot is a simple sample of stakeholder attributes to track (click to view full image):

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix should look at stakeholder context similar to… Enterprise Role, Project Role, Project/Solution Responsibilities, impact to the project, how project impacts the stakeholder, expectations, engagement plan etc.

Stakeholder Analysis should contribute to [Benefits]:
  • Identify all needed roles and responsibilities to build and manage the total lifecycle of the ultimate solution.
  • Get a complete understanding of people and needs; that you should be managing and satisfying.
  • Creating a more accurate RACI matrix.
  • Better understand the true business need.
  • Making public the current understanding of who is needed to build and maintain the solution.
  • Foster better communication and accountability among project members.
  • Better define a fitting solution through engaging all stakeholders.
  • Understand hidden risks through engaging all stakeholders.


At the end… you will realize that a proper stakeholder analysis has helped you, understand and manage Project’s scope complexities and risks.

To be practical:
  • Make sure that the project is doing a “Stakeholder Analysis” [regardless of the size of the projects].
  • Make the “Analysis Matrix” visible to all team members.
  • Encourage all to poke holes in the current stakeholder-analysis.
  • When things go wrong… check what you missed in the stakeholder analysis and improve.


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