Defining Business Analysis - Part 5
Identifying Stakeholders in your Project
You can use two main steps in identifying your cast of stakeholders: a stakeholder list and a RACI matrix.
Find your stakeholders
The first thing to do is look for all stakeholders (anyone who impacts or is impacted) on the project. A stakeholder is a person or a group of people who has interests that may be affected by an initiative or has influence over it. Stakeholders can be found anywhere for a project. If you identify a group or department, make sure you identify the correct individual stakeholders within a stakeholder group. Someone has to be the point person.
Here’s how to create a stakeholder list:
1. Analyse the project documentation.
Look for people, groups, departments, customers, and project team members affected by the project.
2. Pull project team members together to brainstorm about other affected parties that aren’t included in the documentation.
3. Make a stakeholder list.
Your list should include the stakeholder, whether he/she has the sign-off authority and how they’re affected by the project.
You may also want to include a ‘Notes’ column in your stakeholder's list to keep track of effective ways of communicating with the stakeholder or other reminders.
Using the RACI matrix
Another tool you can use is the RACI matrix. RACI stands for ‘Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. It’s basically a chart that highlights the different responsibilities people hold on your project. By thinking through the chart and presenting it to the project team as an official deliverable, you can help everyone understand who’s doing what on the project.
You and the stakeholders should create the matrix together to ensure that it’s accurate and that everyone is on the same page.
Here's how to assemble a RACI matrix:
1. List all the actions or responsibilities needed for the project along the left side of the page.
2. List all the stakeholders for the project at the top of the page.
3. Fill in each box with R, A, C or I to describe the person’s level of responsibility.
Each letter corresponds to a level of responsibility:
- Responsible: The actual person performing the work. For instance, in the case of the requirements package, the BA is generally responsible for the work. For technical documentation, it’s usually the implementation SME.
- Accountable: The ultimately answerable for the correct completion of the deliverable or task who delegates to the responsible parties. This person also approves (signs off on) the deliverable or task. You can specify only one accountable for each task or deliverable.
- Consulted: Those whose opinions are sought, typically SMEs and with whom you have two-way communication. Your project support personnel are typically consulted parties.
- Informed: Those who are kept up-to-date on progress. This communication is usually one-way – for example, the BA informs external stakeholders that the requirements phase is complete.
4. Distribute the matrix to all stakeholders.
This dissemination keeps everyone on track and informed.
Please note: Roles aren’t 100% exclusive. Stakeholders on a project may wear multiple hats and play different roles