Moving Beyond the RACI Matrix to Determine Stakeholder Requirements

Glenn R. Brûlé, CBAP, CSM

I know it shouldn’t, but even after many years in the business, I am still amazed that--when asked--business analysts and their managers struggle to answer the $64 million question, “What do your stakeholders really need?” More often than not, it is not an issue of understanding the difference between functional and nonfunctional requirements (in fact, there are plenty of articles out there that address that!). Rather, I’d like to share an example that will forever remind me that knowing what a stakeholder really needs makes all the difference in the world (and it goes far beyond the RACI matrix).

John had requested that I meet with him on site, which for me meant a day of travel. Our objective for this meeting was to develop a straw man, a high level of abstraction for solution scope and a rough order of magnitude of effort for a solution implementation. John was looking to have my company implement a travel and expense-management solution. After a full morning of pulling out some of my trusty tools, techniques, spreadsheets and mapping tools, we called it a morning and headed out for lunch. Our conversation started with the usual client/vendor chit chat: weather, hockey, how good the food was at the restaurant. Once our bellies were full, we chatted a little more about the project and some of the complexities we were likely to encounter, most …

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