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Using Stakeholder Analysis in Software Project Management- Part 2

Bas de Baar

What Does This Bring The Project Manager?

In the end, what does all this analyzing and guessing bring to us? That is a good question, and here is the answer:

  1. A list of all the stakeholders
  2. An idea about each stakeholderís relative importance and influence
  3. Insight into what stakeholders want out of the project
  4. Insight into what makes stakeholders tick
  5. An idea about whether stakeholders will work against or for the project

Apart from an improved ability to negotiate better requirements-sets, this information provides the basis for two major projectmanagement tools: the project organization (mentioned as the last step of stakeholder analysis) and the feedback mechanisms.

Feedback mechanisms

If stakeholders provide requirements to a project, they are very interested to know what happens to them. Are they going to be met, or willthey be ignored? Keeping your stakeholders in the loop, reassuring yourstakeholders about what is happening with their stakes/requirements is a smart thing to do.

There are many project management techniques and artifacts available just for the purpose of feedback. Often, it is unclear from themethods that you use what is the purpose of the feedback. In the list below aresome artefact samples that are common in most methods, and what kind of feedback each provides. 

Requirements definition

Feedback to the users how their requirements are noted after talking, analyzing and negotiation

Functional design

Feedback to the user how their requirements are translated to a new system

Prototype

Feedback to the user how their requirements are translated to a new system

Schedule

Feedback on constraint "time"

Budget

Feedback on constraint "cost"

Closing

Every improvement you make with the goal of improving your ability to do projects better should involve how to handle the human elementmore effectively, as this is the area where we can realize the biggest gains.

Stakeholder analysis is one technique that can assist in this. To sharpen your knife you can improve your sensitivity in this area,create your own checklists and read up on the various models available to you.Finally, just being aware of stakes and their effects on your project in itself is a huge benefit to your software project management efforts.

Checklist Stakeholder Interests

Personal

 

Work Orientation versus Family Orientation

Is the person more focused on the work environment or the home front?

Satisfaction with Current Job

Important to know when creating a job description. If not satisfied, perhaps include some new, more exciting content to the job.

Satisfaction with Current Organization

A broader aspect than "satisfaction with job": do you need to be aware of some resentment a person might have against the organization?

Desire to Gain More Skill/Knowledge in a Certain Area

Giving someone the opportunity to improve competency in a certain area is a great motivator.

Sufficient Appreciation

Showing some appreciation can boost a personís performance.

Reduction/Expansion of Workload

Does someone want to do more or less? As a project manager, you donít always have the authority to influence this, but you might give it a shot.

Reduction/Expansion of Responsibility

Actually, comments are the same as above.

Infection by Not-Invented-Here Syndrome

Does someone have a great need to be involved in something to accept it? If yes, and you need the person, then ensure involvement.

Relatedness (Interpersonal/Social)

 

Recognition of Knowledge Among Peers Outside the Organization

If someone has a strong need for recognition among his or her own peers, try to incorporate it into the job.

Recognition of Job Competence within the Organization (Hierarchy)

Does the person feel his or her work goes unnoticed in the organization? Does the person want to keep a higher profile?

Covering Up Own Incompetence (Donít Rock the Boat)

Some people try to maintain a low profile and avoid attracting any attention to themselves to cover up some incompetence.

Boosting Anotherís Reputation (Sponsorship)

It is nice to get some insight into who is friends with whom and who works to give others a good reputation. Sponsors can work nicely together, but be sceptical about the judgements made about each other.

Undermining Anotherís Reputation

Actually, the opposite of the above situation: who is trashing whom? Try to avoid putting these antagonists together.

Attempt to Move to Another Job within the Organization

Will not do much about own job or assignment, but can be found meddling in the desired area where he or she has no authority.

Attempt to Build an Empire within the Organization

Very dynamic personality and worth soliciting for maximum influence in the project, if only for sheer number of personal connections.

Attempt to Maintain an Empire within the Organization

Looks the same as person mentioned above, but has a more defensive attitude and will try to avoid as much change as possible.

Attempt to Increase Sphere of Influence within Organization

This person makes assignments bigger than they actually are.

Existence (Material Interests)

 

Desire for More Money

Need I say more?

Desire for More Tools

Any questions?

Desire for a Bigger Office

Look for a real-estate agent.

References

[1] Boehm, Barry W. and Rony Ross. "Theory-W Software Project Management Principles and Examples." IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. 15.7 (1989): 902-916.

© 2006 Bas de Baar


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This article was originally published in the Winter 2006 issue of Methods & Tools

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