Stakeholder Analysis Tips
Stakeholders come in various shapes and sizes and they all have a slightly different role to play on your project. As you would know they are sometimes quite hard to love, but trust me, it pays in the long run. Follow these basic tips as a guideline when analysing your project allies and enemies!
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Identify your key players
Always make a list of all your key people and groups on your project. Anyone who is affected by the project outcome or directly involved will be deemed a stakeholder. You can choose to only focus on people and groups who will be affected by yourrequirements gathering activities if you are working on a large scale program. In some cases this could mean people or companies outside your organisation. Example primary people or roles are the Business Sponsor of your project, Business Managers and anyone who will use the system (if it is a system you are implementing). Government bodies or suppliers can also be important stakeholders.
Prioritise your Stakeholders
It sounds a bit bad saying you should prioritise but you need to understand which key parties will have a high impact on your project’s ability to succeed if they didn’t feel ‘the love’ from the project. Other considerations when prioritising is the number of people and groups involved in a particular interested group. If you take a more requirements management focus, you might prioritise according to requirements document approvers.
For example: If you were building a banking product for consumers and you didn’t include the call centre who will be servicing that product in your project, you may end up with a large number of key people not supporting the launch of the new product because they have not been involved. This means the product may fail in the market!
Determine your Stakeholder’s Mood
Most of the time we have a good idea about whether a particular individual or group individuals are supporting the project or not. If we realise at this early stage that a specific individual might be difficult to manage and especially if they have high impact priority, we give them more attention! Do not avoid them. It is a good idea to brush up on your conflict management skills to avoid any unnecessary conflict situations.
Engage with All Key Players
You will need to work out (at least in terms of requirements activities) how you will engage with all your identified parties. It is imperative to your relationship with your key contributors and decision makers that you use effective communication. You find out who you should approach to ensure you have the right representation within your requirements workshops and other requirement gathering activities. Agree an engagement approach with your project manager prior to going out to see stakeholders. A single uniform message coming from the project is critical for the ‘image’ of the project in the wider community of the business.
Understand your Stakeholders
Now that you have a list of prioritised contributors and decision makers and you know how you will engage with them, you need to plan how to find out what makes them tick! Why? It is the simple concept of making people feel as if they are loved. You do this by demonstrating your soft skills in some way with your understanding of their special interest on the project or their view on a certain topic. If you know where they are coming from and you show that it matters, you will go a long way in gaining that buy-in with your requirements workshops, requirements document approvals or simply just have some support in the business for your project.