Stakeholders are any person or group of persons or an organization that is directly indirectly going to affect by proposed IT solution. It is one of the duties of Business Analyst (BA) to identify them and to develop appropriate strategies and tactics for effectively engaging stakeholders in a manner appropriate to the stakeholders’ interest and involvement in the project. Essentially by engaging the stakeholders throughout the life cycle of the project, BA can gain support for the project and anticipate resistance, conflict, or competing objectives among the project’s stakeholders and lastly project can be delivered successfully. If the stakeholders are not managed well then it could lead to project delays, project termination and some undue interventions.
There are various means and ways to manage the stakeholders, and based on the situation few models are developed to manage the stakeholders, like-
- Power and Interest
- Power and Influence
- Influence and Impact
- Power, Urgency and Legitimacy
Among all the models mentioned above is most well-known is Power and Interest model. Let’s discuss that model in detail.
Power and Interest
Firstly, BA needs to identify the stakeholders and post identification, secondly stakeholder’s needs to be classified. One of the objective of this model is to identify and categorize groups so that appropriate attention can be given to each group according to the level of engagement needed.
While analyzing any risk, it needs to prioritize by probability of its occurrence and its impact on the outcome in order to give the most attention to the risk posing the greatest threats. Same analogy applies in Power and Interest Model. Here the stakeholders need to be ranked by their interest and impact/power on the project. In this model, we have to draw a chart that consists of vertical and horizontal lines as shown in the figure below. The horizontal line denotes interest, and the vertical line represents power.
As depicted above, stakeholders can be divided into four categories
- High Power – High Interest (Manage Closely)
- High Power – Low Interest (Keep Satisfied)
- Low Power – High Interest (Keep Informed)
- Low Power – Low Interest (Monitor)
To deal with all four kinds of stakeholders, strategies needs to used
- A stakeholder with high power and high interest needs to be managed with utmost care
- A stakeholder with high power and low interest should be kept satisfied
- A stakeholder with low power and high interest should be kept informed
- And stakeholder with low power and low interest requires less effort than anyone else, and hence should only be monitored
Its BA’s duty to keep check on various stakeholders and classify them according to their power and interest and take actions accordingly. At the same never underestimate anyone, because it may happen that the stakeholder with high power become less influential at the time of completion of project and at it may also happen that less powerful stakeholder may take center stage, so keep a balance between all the stakeholders. With this strategy BA can keep check on scope creep and mitigates the issues that may eventually cause a problem for the project. If these strategy is implemented at the beginning of the project then it becomes easy for BA to maintain a relationship with the stakeholders. Lastly, such strategy needs to be kept secret.