Stakeholder identification is an important business analysis activity. It is applicable to both agile and traditional approaches. Missing stakeholders in every situation lead to missing requirements. The consequences of missing requirements are broadly known, here some examples: disappointed users or products having problems with passing the acceptance testing. Therefore an investment in a good stakeholder identification (from the beginning of any initiative) helps to make sure “real” requirements set will be discovered.
On the other hand it is also important to list other benefits of having a complete set of stakeholders identified for your project like:
1. Stakeholders involved early in the elicitation process are more willing to cooperate and actively participate in the elicitation process.
2. Early stakeholders participation can improve buy-in process of the proposed solution.
Before we jump into details of stakeholder identification, analysis and management we need to check a definition of a stakeholder. BABoK v3.0 defines a stakeholder as “a group or person who has interests that may be affected by an initiative or influence over it.” Stakeholders shape the initiative and are source of requirements. By adding an explicit step of “Stakeholder identification” in a requirements practice we can realize a simple improvement. The investment to introduce stakeholder identification is low. The costs embrace mainly a first introduction session which focuses on explaining what stakeholder identification is and proposing techniques which can be used. If an organization however wishes to upgrade the existing techniques with e.g. tailored checklists listing stakeholders’ types characteristic for their business, this will take more time to develop and will require active business analysts involvement.
The question remains how to do stakeholder identification in practice? What techniques can help? Here are three major techniques which can be used during this activity:
• stakeholder nomination,
• background research,
• stakeholder wheel.
In this section you can find posts on these techniques. Every technique is presented in a compact way, to help you refer to it during your initiative.