One often-overlooked aspect to avoiding missing requirements is stakeholder analysis. Stakeholder analysis ensures you have the right people involved in the requirements process. Often, requirements are missed simply because stakeholders are missed – and so you don’t get the input you need to actually discover all of the requirements.
In a sense, without the right stakeholders involved, you “don’t know what you don’t know.”
So how do you ensure you have the right stakeholders involved? Through stakeholder analysis.
Stakeholder Analysis Step 1: The Stakeholder Matrix
Stakeholder analysis is the process of identifying stakeholders to be involved in your project and identifying their specific responsibilities.
The first place to start is with a simple stakeholder list. with the following information:
- Stakeholder Name
- Stakeholder Job Title
- Stakeholder Role on Project
A simple Stakeholder Matrix is included in the Requirements Plan Template that you receive when you purchase the Business Analyst Template Toolkit.
You can also choose to capture additional information such as:
- Contact Details (email, phone, IM, etc)
- Preferred Communication Method
This simple stakeholder matrix gives you a sense of who is involved in the project and what their role is.
Stakeholder Analysis Step 2: The RACI Matrix
The next step is to determine what stakeholders will actually be involved in what aspects of the business analysis plan. To complete this step, you need to be a bit further along in your business analysis process. This is often completed once the business objectives and scope have been defined, and you are developing your plan of approach to the project.
Your goal here is to define, for each specific requirements deliverable, who will be involved in supporting the development of that deliverable and what their role will be.
The most common way to do this is to create what’s called a RACI matrix. RACI captures who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed about each area of a project.
For example, for a project with 10 use cases, I might have 3 use cases related to customer support functions and 7 use cases related to front-end website features. In this scenario, the primary stakeholder from the Customer Service team may be consulted on or informed of the front-end website features, but accountable for approving requirements on the 3 customer support function use cases.
It’s in creating the RACI matrix that you’ll often find gaps. If no one is accountable for a specific requirements document, then you have a stakeholder gap! You also want to always be asking each stakeholder who is the approver if they will have all the information to make a final decision on a requirements deliverable. If not, ask who else needs to be involved and add that person to your stakeholder list.
Stakeholder Analysis Step 3: Leverage the Results of Your Stakeholder Analysis
Stakeholder analysis is not a deliverable that’s created and then shelved. It’s a collection of living documents that get added to over time. They can also be used throughout the project to help you improve your communication and stakeholder engagement practices.
Because it’s one thing to analyze the stakeholders and figure out who they are, it’s another to actually engage them successfully on a project.
All the work you do in stakeholder analysis is really designed to help you be more effective with your engagement.
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