Understanding who the stakeholders are and the impact of proposed changes on them is vital to understanding what needs, wants, and expectations must be satisfied by a solution.
Requirements are based on stakeholder needs, wants, and expectations. If those needs, wants, and expectations are uncovered either late or not at all, the requirements may need revision, which could change or nullify completed tasks or tasks already in progress, resulting in increasing costs and decreasing stakeholder satisfaction.
A stakeholder is a person or organization that meets the following criteria:
· Actively involved in the project.
· Whose interests may be positively or negatively affected either by the work of the project or the outcome of the project.
· May exert influence over the project or its deliverables.
Determine Stakeholder Types
Each stakeholder will have a different role in the project and/or program that the project is for. For each Stakeholder you should identify the stakeholder type. Below is a list of types.
· Sponsor – The executive who sits on the Governing Board for the portfolio containing this project.
· Owner – The person or group that owns the processes that will be affected by this project.
· Subject Matter Expert (SME) – The group of people who are specialists on the area being covered by the project.
· User – The end users that will actually use the solution after implementation.
Determine Authority Level
Identify the authority level for each stakeholder. This will help to identify requirement priorities. If a stakeholder is the ultimate deciding person, then their requirements will have more weight when compared to other requirements. Below are the appropriate scores and definitions.
1. Stakeholder has complete authority to decide or act.
2. Stakeholder has complete authority, but will inform the necessary people of their decisions.
3. Stakeholder has the authority to decide or act after first consulting with higher level authorities.
4. Stakeholder has the authority to participate, but no authority to decide.
Determine Influence Score
Using the Influence to Concern Matrix, identify where each stakeholder or stakeholder group fits. Below are a few questions to ask when identifying a stakeholder’s quadrant. Ideally you will have more stakeholders in areas 1 and 2 than in 3 or 4, but all quadrants should be represented.
1. Will the project affect the stakeholder directly?
2. Will they be an active member in the requirements gathering?
3. Will they be an active user of the proposed solution?
Understanding the nature of influence and the influence structures and channels within an organization can prove invaluable when seeking to build relationships and working towards building trust. Understanding the influence each stakeholder may have, as well as their concern, can help develop strategies for obtaining buy-in and collaboration.
1. Do they have the authority to approve deliverables?
2. Do they have the authority to inspect and approve the requirements?
3. Do they have the authority to approve changes?
4. Do they have the authority to veto requirements or solutions?
For the Sponsor, Owner, and SME stakeholder types, a specific person should be identified that will be the speaker for that sub group. If a representative cannot be identified for one of the user groups at this time, that is ok.
Determine Stakeholder Responsibility
Each stakeholder should have their project responsibility defined. For example, the responsibility of the Sponsor could be to:
“Monitor the project's progress and communicate to the Governance Board, serve as the escalation path for program issues to the Governance Board, attend Governance Board Meetings.”
This does not have to be a list of every task they will be completing for the project, but an overview of what their role and responsibility are on the project.
Determine Stakeholder Concerns
Stakeholder concerns include issues identified by the stakeholder, risks, assumptions, constraints, and other relevant information. Identifying these concerns early can help the project team be aware of them and also try to alleviate some of them. Each stakeholder should be asked to list what some of their major concerns are about the project. Some examples of possible concerns might include:
· Insufficient funds
· Not enough people or not enough people with the knowledge to do the project
· Lack of communication
· Changing requirements
· IT making the decisions without the business
· Executive support
· Staff turnover
· Over budget
Identify Stakeholder Success Criteria
Just checking off tasks on the project schedule isn't enough. The success criteria speak to the quality of the completed job and specifics about how the goals are met.
Each stakeholder should be asked the following questions:
· What criteria make the project successful?
· What does success look like?
· How do we know the project is complete?
· How do we know we have done a great job?
Validate Stakeholder Group
Once the Stakeholder Document has been started, a brainstorming session should be held. Each of the known stakeholders should be invited and the goal of the session should be to validate the known stakeholders and to identify any that might have been missed. This is also a time to fill in any gaps that were not able to be completed. The final step in identifying the stakeholders is to baseline the group. A final draft of the Stakeholder Document should be provided to the Sponsor to obtain their signature and approval. Any changes after the final copy is signed would need to go through the change management process.