Stakeholder analysis and management is a critical part of any project. Why? Well, you need as many people championing your project and as few causing obstructions and difficulties as possible. In order to achieve this, you first need to figure out exactly who your stakeholders are; what their influence over the project is and how interested they are in the initiative. From there, you can create a stakeholder management strategy,
Stakeholders can be internal or external, they’re defined as anyone that has an interest in the outcome of the initiative. Example stakeholders include: customers, partners, suppliers, regulators, employees, managers, owners and competitors.
We now need to ‘rank’ our stakeholders based on their interest in & influence over the project. Stakeholders with high levels of influence are not always allies. Having such a stakeholder can be either positive or negative to a project – a highly influential individual that does not support a project, does more damage than 100 champions with little to no influence and remember, stakeholder interest / allegiance to a project can change at any time.
It’s very important that we have stakeholder buy-in at all levels of the business to help drive these initiatives forward and remove blockers for the project team. Many initiatives fail because people lose interest / cause obstructions and there isn’t someone senior (with influence) championing the initiative and working to remove those blockers for the project team. So, you need to make sure that at the very minimum, there is a champion in the red box above.
To clearly document who fits where in the model, I like to write the stakeholders name & their attitude towards the project within each box, as below.
Attitudes can be defined as:
- Champion: works for the success of the project
- Supporter: likes the idea / initiative but does not actively promote it
- Neutral: neither for or against the initiative
- Critic: doesn’t support the project but does not actively oppose/disrupt
- Opponent: actively opposes / disrupts the project
- Blocker: obstructs progress
We can also use a RASCI chart to highlight the responsibilities of each stakeholder in the project:
- Responsible for doing / creating (R)
- Accountable for outcome (A)
- Support: providing assistance & sometimes resources for the deliverable (S)
- Consulted: providing input / information (C)
- Informed of progress (I)
So, we’ve analysed our stakeholders attitudes & influence, how do we manage these stakeholders opinions and desires into the end-product? We can follow the below model to assess each stakeholders ‘ideal’ solution. We can then map those ideals into real-world possibilities that can be delivered within budget and time constraints and create a consensus model that incorporates all feasible requirements.
- Investigate the real world problem that needs to be fixed as part of this project
- Create an ‘ideal world’ business perspective for each stakeholder using the CATWOE model outlined below.
- From each business perspective, we generate a model showing each stakeholders ‘ideal world’ outcome. We call this a BAM (Business Activity Model). We then analyse each BAM & generate a ‘consensus’ model, outlining the desired future system / process of all stakeholders. A sample BAM is shown below – these are intentionally simple models to represent stakeholder views.
- We then complete a gap analysis to changes that are feasible to implement
- Define actions needed to improve the real world problem, defined step 1
A BAM can consider the below types of activities:
- Doing: these activities should be derived from the stakeholder CATWOE ‘transformation’ piece. It reflects the company’s core objective/activity. Each BAM should have a single ‘doing’ task. For example, ‘manufacture products’.
- Enabling: ensuring that the resources we require for the ‘doing’ task are available. For example, ordering raw products.
- Planning: To complete the task, we need to plan them in. This can include, resourcing requirements or scheduling.
- Monitoring: Set performance expectations & monitor against those. For example, monitor customer reviews.
- Control: If monitoring reveals unsatisfactory performance, this is how we review & implement the necessary actions.
CATWOE Analysis Overview:
- Customer: who will benefit from / being impeded by the change
- Actor: who carries out the transformation within the process?
- Transformation: what is the key transformation that takes place during the process?
- World View: Overall business impact
- Owner: Decision makers with authority to make changes
- Environment: what factors outside the system may impact the solution & its success
CATWOE root definition example:
- Customer: existing, regular customers
- Actor: our telesales team
- Transformation: building relationships with customers to create repeat sales
- World View: because strong relationships has been proven to drive repeat sales in our industry
- Owner: CEO
- Environment: taxes on our product range; online competition
We can complete an analysis for multiple stakeholders by using a table, as below:
Content based on study of the BCS Business Analysis course – Business Analysis 3rd Edition (Debra Paul, James Cadle and Donald Yeates).