Stakeholder analysis is a process to identify key people and organizations that have a vested interest in a project. As defined in Chapter 4, "Building an MSF Team," the following people might be stakeholders:
Initiates, funds, and approves an effort
Customer(s) (also known as business sponsors)
Takes receipt of a solution and expects to gain business value from it
Interacts with a solution
Hosts, maintains, and administers a solution
With potential for such a wide collection of people and organizations, it is important to understand who the key stakeholders are and have a general understanding of the rest. So, how does a team find out who are the stakeholders? How do they make sure they understand stakeholder interests, motivations, and drivers? How does a team work with stakeholders throughout the life cycle? It is hard but possible. Basically, a team can follow the MSF Governance Model in that it goes through tracks of activities in conceptually understanding who stakeholders are; plan out how to refine the team's understanding and start to represent that understanding in a stakeholder map that shows what and how they relate to a solution and project team; start to meet with stakeholders to develop the team's understanding; test that understanding on a few "friendly" ones; and wrap up stakeholder analysis with "delivering" a list of stakeholders and a stakeholder map. These deliverables are used in
tracks to continue working with stakeholders.
Stakeholder analysis involves three key activities:
project team first starts mapping out the conceptual solution, people and organizations external to a project team associated with these conceptual components start to surface. These are a team's initial batch of stakeholders. This list of stakeholders grows as solution components become clearer and new groups and key people associated with these
are added to the list. Typically, this list grows as solution usage scenarios and/or use cases are developed to flush out the system wherein stakeholders are identified. Keep in mind that stakeholders are also
of the extended project team.
so many stakeholders, a team must come up with a means to sift through this list to identify which stakeholders have the most impact and influence on a project (i.e., prioritize the list). Going forward, a team should concentrate their efforts on only this "short list" of key stakeholders.
There are many ways to prioritize stakeholders. One means to achieve this is to map the long list into quadrants where the axes are
qualities (e.g., domain knowledge, availability, constituency backing, and new technology acceptance). Figure 7-2 is one such example using
as the axes to
the type of relationship with the stakeholder. In this example, key stakeholders are those placed in the three identified quadrants:
Very influential with significant impact on a project. The relationship with these stakeholders needs to be well managed.
Very influential but low to moderate impact on a project. These stakeholders should be kept apprised of project status but do not need to be closely managed.
Low to moderate influence but significant impact on a project. These stakeholders often are users who should continually be included in discussions with a project team throughout the life cycle.
Figure 7-2. Example of types of stakeholder relationships to reflect priority
Stakeholders with little influence and little impact on a project should be
, but often there is little time to expend to maintain a relationship with them.
Understanding Key Stakeholders
Understanding key stakeholders means knowing what motivates them and
their involvement with a project with the goals of gaining commitment and support from them. Not all stakeholders will be supporters; some will be "anchors" that are seemingly bent on
a project but because of their position and influence are necessary stakeholders. Other stakeholders might seem neutral and apathetic.
A team needs to understand the key stakeholders to facilitate their continual involvement. This includes making sure they are involved and interested in participating in major checkpoint reviews. It also means knowing how, what, and when to communicate with the stakeholders.