Investing Some Time in Stakeholder Analysis

As of last Monday, I reported to my new contract position in a company that I have never worked for.  One of the first items on the agenda – stakeholder analysis.  This company is very structured in its business analysis and I love it.  I am using a newly formulated stakeholder analysis template that I have put my mark on.  I have always performed the analysis but I have never documented it until now. (Here’s that template in PDF format if you are having trouble downloading it.)

The project is not ready for me yet – they had hoped to be further along.  The stakeholders can be listed but my Project Manager would prefer that I do not engage them yet – which is difficult because I am so used to hitting the ground running – but I will adjust 🙂 .  So here I sit, spending a bit more time analyzing stakeholders than I would normally have time for.  It is a fascinating process and one that is too often overlooked in the haste to get the requirements completed.

The approach of the Business Analyst for each project is to perform stakeholder analysis during the first two weeks of starting with the project team.  The stakeholder analysis will provide an indepth understanding of who is required by the project team to be responsible, accountable, supportive, consulted and informed (RACI).  As this clarification may differ between the stakeholder and the project team, it is imperative that this is negotiated within the first weeks of the project.

An understanding of how the stakeholder wants to be engaged in the project, how often and why is critical to understand.  Upfront clarification of what the stakeholder wants from the project and what the project team requires from the stakeholder will ensure that engagement of the stakeholder will be timely, informative and relevant.

What I’ll do with the results of stakeholder analysis

Engaging the stakeholders one on one will begin the process of relationship building.  This is a critical step for the business analyst to build trust with the stakeholders.  Without trust the success of the project is at risk.  As the business analyst starts to interact with the stakeholders by phone/email/meetings, the relationship continues to strengthen and the ability of the business analyst to manage and influence business decisions increases.

How I’ll be conducting stakeholder analysis

  1. Meet one on one with the stakeholders to establish a meet and greet scenario.
  2. Interact with the stakeholders to clarify their understanding of the project (scope, delivery dates).
  3. Understand how the stakeholder affects the project – their accountability (RACI) and ensure they have the same understanding.  Determine who are the key stakeholders and who is the secondary.
  4. Understand what communication method and frequency is important for the stakeholder.

Have you ever had “extra time” to conduct a diligent stakeholder analysis? How did you leverage it? And how did this impact the project overall


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Comments

  1. Nicole Coyle says:

    Can you post the Stakeholder Analysis Template as an Excel doc instead of in a .zip file? I can’t open any of the .xml files that are in the .zip folder.

    Thank you!
    Nicole Coyle

  2. great post!! i wish i have read these when i started with my first BA/PM job! it should have saved me a lot of pain!!

  3. I am having the same issue, the zip file expands into a series of .xml files, with no Excel files.

    Thanks!

    JD

  4. Nicole and JD, can you tell me what browser you are using and confirm what version of Microsoft Excel you have? I’ll have my tech expert, Marci Dahms, look into it. It opens fine for me in Chrome and I have Excel 2007. It is not uploaded as a zip file, so I’m not sure what is happening.

    Thanks,
    Laura

  5. Michelle Swoboda says:

    Rica, thank you for your comments. We are all continuously learning in this business and sharing what we already have created is important!

  6. Michelle Swoboda says:

    Hi Nicole and JD, it is in excel and opens that way for me. I am using Google. We can find a way to fix it.

  7. Nicole Coyle says:

    I have Windows 7 Enterprise and Excel 2010.

  8. A reader found a great work-around:

    When I hover the cursor over the hyperlink, it shows that the file extension is indeed .xlsx.

    When I click on the hyperlink, the pop-up “save as” dialog box shows that it wants to save the file as a zip file.

    As an experiment, I right button clicked on the hyperlink, selected save as, and changed the file extension to .xlsx, and the file saved as an Excel spreadsheet.

    I also verified that I could in fact open the file as a spreadsheet.

    I hope this helps!

  9. Nicole Coyle says:

    That worked! Thank you!!!

  10. Michelle Swoboda says:

    Laura, thank you for your help on this!!

  11. Li Yang says:

    Michelle,
    Thanks for the great post and the template. I agree whole-heartedly that good stakeholder analysis up front is an important factor for project success. No one likes a nasty surprise in the middle of or at the end of the project. I have done stakeholder analysis before but never as rigorous as you have demonstrated. Will try to incorporate what you have done next time I plan for next phase of the project.

    Thanks again!

  12. Michelle Swoboda says:

    Hi Li Yang, thank you for enjoying the post. I appreciate your comments! Let us know how the template works for you.

  13. Hi Michelle,

    Great Article! The big question I have for you is that if you are working in a large organisation, how do you identify all your stakeholders? The easy part is identifying the sponsors, etc, and relevant people from those departments, but what about people from other departments that are completely unaware that the project is happening?

    Cheers – Scott

  14. Ron Werda says:

    Hi Michelle,

    A belated thank you for the great advice and the spreadsheet template for Stakeholder Analysis!

    I noticed that you have not yet replied to Scott (March 27/13), but would it not be fair to say that the Project Manager would know the who-is-who beyond those made obvious to the BA new to the scene/project?

    Cheers,

    Ron

  15. Thanks a lot , so helpful for me as I started internship , really helpful
    looking more plz