Project Management

Engaging Stakeholders: A critical element to enterprise risk requirements

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Citizen development is a disruptive approach to digital transformation and organizational innovation, where teams are empowered to turn ideas into applications using no-code/low-code technology. This blog provides insights, advice and practical knowledge from thought leaders and practitioners in Citizen Development.

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This post is the fourth in a series introducing you to elements on the PMI Citizen Development Canvas (see image below). These posts are designed to inspire you, share tips and insight, and further your knowledge and experience. I welcome your questions and encourage you to share your own stories.


In the last post, I introduced you to Business Analysis and Design. In this post, I will introduce you to Enterprise Risk Requirements. 

PMI CD Canvas - Enterprise Risk Requirements

Enterprise Risk Requirements is the component in the PMI Citizen Development Canvas that refers to functional and non-functional requirements within citizen development projects. It is also the area where the Citizen Developer identifies and manages other inherent project risks including stakeholder and communication risks. 


In this blog, I am going to focus on stakeholder risk and the importance of identifying, engaging, and communicating with them to improve the success rate of your project. 


Stakeholders - who are they and what role do they play?


A stakeholder is a person, group, or organization that has an interest in, or will be affected by, the application being developed. Stakeholders play a key role in the citizen development process. They help the Citizen Developer capture requirements and they provide valuable feedback. Stakeholders can be huge champions, or they can stop a project in its track.


Understanding who the stakeholders are, their influence, and how they perceive the project is critical, so one of the first steps in mitigating stakeholder risk is to create a stakeholder directory. 


Stakeholder Directories

Stakeholder directories come in all shapes and sizes, but in general, the directory lists the stakeholders, their roles, their influence, and their level of support for the project. This directory is used by the Citizen Developer and squad as a reference tool as they engage with the stakeholders throughout the project. 


Stakeholder Engagement Plan

In the course of creating the stakeholder directory, Citizen Developers will also be creating a stakeholder engagement plan. This will encompass how hands-on the stakeholders will be in the project, how and when they will receive status updates, and their expectations. Some stakeholders will be heavily involved in the build and by engaging them early on, it will encourage collaboration and feedback, create a stronger solution, and help reduce the potential for miscommunication. 


Capturing Requirements from Stakeholders.

Now that the stakeholders have been identified and an engagement plan has been created, stakeholder requirements can be gathered. Stakeholders help to identify app requirements and why they’re important. These requirements are typically functional requirements pertaining to the user experience or workflows. The requirement list provides direction and focus throughout the app development and it also acts as a checklist to make sure that the requirements have been met.


In my past blogs, I have shared situations where an app was created and the problem solved and they lived happily ever after, but the following situation is about a missed opportunity and a lesson learned.


What happens when a stakeholder stops it all.


Situation: A fast-growing urban non-profit was sinking in a swamp of details they couldn’t manage anymore. The organization was led by a small executive team and run by volunteers.  There were four lines of service, each led by a volunteer.


Before: The quality of service and communication was showing signs of stress. Volunteers were working extra hours to keep up with inefficient methods.


Process: A Citizen Developer who was familiar with the organization saw the situation and believed an app could solve the chaos and help scale the organization efficiently. He presented the idea of a low-code/no-code (LCNC) app to the executive team (Enterprise Stakeholders). They liked the idea of an app and introduced the Citizen Developer to the volunteer leaders of the four lines of service. He met with each one to demonstrate a prototype and to discuss how the app could save them time and improve their service.


Three of the four volunteer leaders saw the app as a solution, but the fourth felt the expense was unnecessary. She was happy to work the extra hours to save money. She would not budge from her position and even though the executive team felt the expense was worth the saving, they bent to her wishes.


After: The Citizen Developer dropped the project. The organization and its volunteers continued to struggle and count on volunteer overtime to succeed.


Missed opportunity and lesson learned:

While the non-profit was still in its infancy and developing its structure, it had an opportunity to quickly and cost-effectively solve an operational issue that was only going to get worse. The organizational structure had no real leader which made it difficult when the solution was presented. They missed a huge opportunity. 


The Citizen Developer learned a valuable lesson. He skipped a few steps and dove right into solving the problem before fully understanding the stakeholders, their roles, and their influence. Had he spent a little more time engaging the stakeholders and listening to their concerns and pain points, he may have been able to alleviate the cost concerns with the resistant stakeholder. This was a valuable lesson to learn.


Some tips from my experience:

  1. Identify the stakeholders quickly and engage them as soon as you can.
  2. Communicate with stakeholders. Find out what their expectations and requirements are.
  3. Listen and ask questions. Find out the stakeholder's pain points, needs, and perspective, not just about the solution, but the project in general. 


Stakeholders are crucial to the build and the ongoing success of the project. If the stakeholders aren’t supportive, you’re in for a steep climb that may not be worth the risk.


What did this post spark in you? Are you new to no-code/low-code app creation? Have you used a suitability assessment in your company? Please post your questions, comments, and stories below.

Want to learn more? Grab your copy of the newly released book Citizen Development: The Handbook for Creators and Change Makers.

Posted by Jody Temple White on: April 16, 2021 01:33 PM | Permalink

Comments (7)

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Rami Kaibni
Community Champion
Senior Projects Manager | Field & Marten Associates New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Very important topic Jody - If Stakeholders were not identified, engaged and communicated with as needed, this could be detrimental to any project or even organization.

Luis Branco CEO| Business Insight, Consultores de Gestão, Ldª Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
Dear Jody
Very interesting the theme that brought to our reflection and debate
Thanks for sharing and for your opinion
Indeed, when stakeholders are not identified and properly analyzed, it can have disastrous consequences on projects

Jody Temple White Citizen Developer, PMP, Operations Specialist| ASG Projects, LLC Portland, Or, USA
Thanks Rami and Luis.

Mushtaq Abdulrahimzai SWIS| Surrey Schools District 36 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
the most critical part of the project is handling the stakeholders, if stakeholders are not listed, analyzed, what level of engagement, what will be the authority level, these things related SH not listed will be disaster.

Jody Temple White Citizen Developer, PMP, Operations Specialist| ASG Projects, LLC Portland, Or, USA
Totally agree Ahmad. Thanks for commenting. Stakeholders should not be overlooked.

Gustavo Leon Delgado San Jose, Costa Rica
Hi Jody,
Very important to engage all stakeholders within a project. Thats why its important to identify stakeholders from the beginning of the projects.
I really enjoyed your blog! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Stephen Robin Project Management Student Arima, Ari, Trinidad and Tobago
Very informative.

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