Project Management

Simple method to plan the work with stakeholders

From the How To Do Business Analysis Blog
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This will be a place for all related to practices that you can use in your initiatives when you work as business analyst

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Categories: Business Analisys


Introduction

When we started to walk the road to 'translate' the business need  into action generating the expected solution we need to identify individuals, groups, or organizations that will guide us to analyze their expectations and develop a strategy to work together. This action is a key factor for the success of the work of business analysis because, metaphorically speaking, the business analyst is the role that ensures that all expected comes true. Activity is known as stakeholders management  and is carried out from the "minute zero"[1] of the solution lifecycle.

By definition, an stakeholder is "person or organization whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the solution or by the process to build the solution". The key word is "affected" because this situation will generate positive or negative attitude and it is for this reason that we need to start as soon as possible a management strategy.

What follows is a practical method that I have used for many years with good results and includes two key phases (while it is a continuous process throughout the cycle of life of the solution):

  •       Identify stakeholders: the process of identifying persons, groups or organizations that can impact or be impacted by a decision, activity or outcome of the initiative to create the solution.
  •        Plan the work with stakeholders: the process of developing strategies to work with stakeholders to achieve effective participation through all the initiative, based on the analysis of their needs and the potential impact on the process of creating the solution.

This practical method works for me. Perhaps it will work for you. And of course, all comments is more than welcome.

Identify stakeholders.

As explained above it is the process of identifying the persons, groups or organizations that can impact or be impacted by a decision, activity or outcome of the initiative to create the solution. Is very important to pay attention that we are carrying out an activity of elicitation (hopefully write an article on this soon).

As guide to minimise the likelihood of obviating any stakeholder is used  based on the systems concept applied to the Organization and the concepts of enterprise architecture. Using systems thinking [Bunge 1979], the business analyst is aware that the change will have an impact on the architecture of the company.

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is defined by Gartner as "a discipline to proactively and holistic, lead the company responses to disruptive forces through the identification and analysis of the implementation of the change taking into account the vision and the desired business results.

EA is used to direct the decisions taken for the evolution of the architecture to the desired future State". [Gartner Group 2013]

Enterprise architecture could basically be described as consisting of several highly independent, highly cohesive, architectures according to the following model:

Figure 1: Enterprise architecture.

  •        Business architecture (BA): it is the bridge between the strategy and the business running. Whenever the environment interacts with the business is through the business architecture.
  •        Application architecture (AA): Describes the structure and behavior of the applications used in a business, and focuses on the way in which they interact with each other and with users to support components of the architecture of business.
  •       Technology architecture (TA): it is the technology used to support the components of the architecture of applications.
  •       Security architecture (SA): is a design of coherent  security, dealing with the requirements (for example, authentication, authorization, etc.) and, in particular, the risks of an environment / situation, and describes which security controls apply and where.
  •       Architecture of the information (IA): is a combination of organization, labeling, and models, and the mechanisms of recovery, within a space of information.

We can use enterprise architecture as a map to discover people, groups or organizations that are components of our List of Stakeholders or also called Stakeholder Register. And these people, groups or organizations can be both internal and external to our Organization (to detect the external point the business analyst is having in mind systemic conception since the organization is an adaptable and open system interacting with the environment - some possibly call them market).

At this point, the Stakeholder Register can be completed with the identifying information, namely[2]:

  •          Name
  •          Position in the Organization
  •          Location
  •          Contact information

Planning the work.

As explained above, it is the process of developing strategies to work with stakeholders to achieve effective participation through all the initiative, based on the analysis of their needs and the potential impact on the process of creating the solution.

In a first stage each stakeholder is classified using a matrix. In the case of this practical process used matrix is the matrix of influence/impact, but different combinations can be found in the literature on the subject. Is critical to understand that this information is complete from the elicitation results performd with the person concerned. I.e., we are using what every person concerned expressed during the elicitation.

In Figure 2 you can see an example of influence/impact matrix. In the context of this work, influence is defined as the ability of an stakeholder to modify the decisions of any other involved in the process of generating the solution while impact is the degree in which the solution affects it.

No matter the type of array that is used (others are power/power/influence, influence/interest) all agree in determining the strategy to be followed once classified, namely:

  •         Keep Satisfied (KS): pay attention to their requirements but not bore you with constant communication.
  •         Manage Closely (MC): are the key stakeholders that we must remain involved throughout the process of creating the solution.
  •         Monitor (MO): have them always in mind because they can change classification through the process of creating the solution, usually goes time to detect these changes and keep them informed.
  •        Keep Informed (KI): information is sent to them, heard and recorded their needs, working on their anxieties.

Figure 2: An example of influence (influencia)/impact (impacto) matrix

After the classification, we are ready to complete the stage of defining strategies and complete the missing information in the Stakeholders Register, namely:

  •        Level of influence (high, medium, low).
  •        Level of impact (high, medium, low).
  •        Strategy according to analysis (KS, MC, MO, KI).
  •        Strategy (KS, MC, MO, KI). In case that we should shift the quadrant for the purpose of achieving the goals of the solution.
  •        Elevator Speech. This is a very interesting concept that when it is put into practice provides enormous benefits. He is there record the phrase that we would say to a person concerned to change their status, bearing in mind that the time available to achieve this is the duration of an elevator ride between two adjacent floor.

Figure 3: An example of Stakeholder Register

Conclusion

Much is it could continue writing about everything to do with stakeholders. But this document aims to describe in a simple way a practical method that has paid off for years to begin the challenging task of generating the solution "that everyone expects" and achieve "stakeholders dreams come true".

References

[Bunge 1979] Mario Bunge. 1979 a world of systems. Dordrecht; Boston, Reidel.

[Gartner Group 2013] Gartner Group. TI Gartner glossary. Http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/enterprise-architecture-ea/

[Bertalanffy 1968] Ludwig von Bertalanffy. 1968 general system theory: foundations, development of applications. New York: George Braziller, revised edition 1976: ISBN 0-8076-0453-4

 


[1] life cycle can be defined as the elapsed time from the idea to the provision or modification of the solution.

 

[2] remember that the definition of any of the outputs from the work of business analysis He is performed during the planning of the business analysis process. The detail that is displayed is an example practical result of practical use.

Posted on: March 22, 2016 10:15 AM | Permalink

Comments (38)

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Hi Sergio, Really appreciate on your article. I like the way you prepare the stakeholder register. Looking forward for your next articles.

Thank you very much Ahmad for your comment. Is very important for me to receive feedback.

Good and helpful article, thanks Sergio.

I liked the elevator speech as a good concept.

In Fig 3 you could add the EA layer which is relevant for each stakeholder.

I also add the key person to 'cover' a stakeholder, since once your list grows, you might be overwhelmed as PM or BA, also chose the person with the best chemistry.

Thank you very much for your feedback Thomas. Indeed, they have to be taken into account.

Thank starting to clarify more about real scope of BA

Thank you very much Vincent for your feedback. It is very important for me. As I mentioned this method works for me and perhaps it works for others. My best regards.

Excellent! Thank you very much! I came to this article while reading a discussion on hidden stakeholders. Glad that I came here and read this one. Very informative and liked the way of identifying the stakeholders using the different architectures depicted in Fig. 1 and also the idea of elevator speech. Appreciate it!

One thing that I wanted your input was the difference between column 4(Strategy Analysis) and 5 (Strategy) of Fig. 3.

Thanks for you comments. "estrategia según análisis" is what you got after located each stakeholder inside the influence-impact matrix. "estrategia a,seguir" is what you need yo locate each stakeholder in accordance to you initiative. So that means to change your stakeholder perception and to do that ypu can use the "elevator speech".

Great article. Thanks for posting.

Thanks Sergio for clarifying!

Your welcome both. Let me know anything you,need and I hope it will work for,you

Great article, I like the last names that you used in your figure 2.

jejejeje, thank you Maria. Is the solution of a case I use when I teach a course. The case is about a bank and the name are the responsibles for business unit areas like credit card, systems (it and software), marketing and so on.

excellent article, appreciate your reply Sergio. it is very informative.

Very insightful. Thanks for sharing Sergio.

Dear Sergio,
can you please explain a meaning of the Impact from the matrix grid above?
Is that a (positive/negative) impact on the project success or is it the impact on decisions?

thank you,
Marcel

This is a brief from the original document I published for the PMI and the IIBA in Spanish so some things are in spanish. Figure 2 is the matrix mostly use for me. The X axis is "Influence" (Influencia). The Y axis is "Impact" (Impacto). You can find the X axis into column 2 figure 3 and the Y axis into column 3 figure 3. Inside those columns we use two values (A-High), (B-Low)

Yes, this is clear to me Sergio.
I'm just wondering about interpretation of the IMPACT.

thanks,
Marcel.

Ah, now understand. Here comes "In Figure 2 you can see an example of influence/impact matrix. In the context of this work, influence is defined as the ability of an stakeholder to modify the decisions of any other involved in the process of generating the solution while impact is the degree in which the solution affects it.". It is the impact the solution will cause on the stakeholder. Remember you can use any other thing that best bit to your initiative and organization instead of impact.

Really appreciate on your article.

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