Stakeholders

Stakeholder identification is an important part of the process of developing requirements. Missing stakeholders lead to missing requirements. The consequences of missing requirements often cited in the literature are disappointed users or products having problems with passing the acceptance testing. Therefore an investment in a good stakeholder identification (from the beginning of the project) helps to make sure a complete requirements set will be developed.

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 the definition of who a stakeholder is. BABoK v2.0 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 project and are source of the requirements. By adding an explicit step of “Stakeholder identification” in a requirements development process we can realize a simple improvement to our way of working with requirements. The investment to introduce stakeholder identification is low as most business analysts understand the reasoning behind this practice. The costs embrace mainly 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 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,
the stakeholder wheel.

In my other posts you can find my research on these techniques presenting them in a compact way, so you can easily refer to them when performing these activities in your projects.