Business Rules Governance and Management – Part IV – Stakeholders

This post is part of a series on Business Rules Governance and Management for which the main article can be found here.

In the previous post of this series we looked at some of the steps required to kick-off a business rules governance and management initiative. As part of the steps covered to kick things off we saw that there is a need to look at the stakeholders and how this initiative will relate to them. This post is all about that: Governance: Leadership and Communication.

From the definition:

Leadership is the ability to influence stakeholders to move towards its goal setting or goal achievement.

So we need to influence stakeholders. As a pre-requisite to that we would need to know who the stakeholders are.

I’ve been on enough projects to understand what a stakeholder is and I have done some informal identification of stakeholders before, but how can we try and take that to the next level?

Well it turns out that in the Project Management field, the latest version of the Project Management Body of Knowledge Book (PMBOK) highlights the following steps for stakeholder identification:

  • Step 1: Identify all potential stakeholders and relevant information (roles, departments, interests, knowledge levels, expectations and influence levels).
  • Step 2: Identify the potential impact or support each stakeholder could generate and classify them so as to define an approach strategy
  • Step 3: Assess how the stakeholders are likely to react or respond in various situations in order to plan how to influence them to enhance their support or mitigate potential negative impacts.

Identifying stakeholders (Step 1)

To help us with identification of stakeholders, there is an excellent reference (“The Handbook of Program Management”, by James T. Brown) which can help us:

  • Follow the money! Whoever is paying is definitely a stakeholder. Also, if the program produces savings or additional costs for an organization then the organization is also a stakeholder
  • Follow the resources. Every entity that provides resources, whether internal or external, labor or facilities, and equipment, is a stakeholder. Line managers and functional managers providing resources are stakeholders
  • Follow the deliverables. Whoever is the recipient of the product or service the program is providing is a stakeholder.
  • Follow the signatures. The individual who signs off on completion of the final product or service (or phases thereof) is a stakeholder. Note: this may or may not be the recipient referred to in the previous bullet. Often there may be more recipients than signatories.
  • Examine other programs stakeholder lists. Include active programs and completed projects.
  • Review the organizational chart to asses which parts of the organization may be stakeholders.
  • Ask team members, customers, and any other confirmed stakeholder to help you identify additional stakeholders.
  • Look for the “Unofficial People of Influence”. These may be people who are trusted by high-level leaders or who wield a lot of power through influence and not position.

Classifying stakeholders (Step 2)

The stakeholders can now be classified. There are many ways that stakeholders can be classified, the PMBOK lists a few, but it usually comes back to looking at the following dimensions: Power, interest and influence.

In an article called “Spheres of Influence”, by Rich Maltzman, Rich makes a reference to another model credited to Lucidus Consulting which uses the following axes: Attitude, Power and Interest (which effectively makes this a 3D model). I really like this model and the following questions can help (from the article):

  • Attitude: are they supportive? Are they detractors? Where do they fit on this scale?
  • Power: regardless of attitude, can they influence the project for better or for worse? In others words, what can they DO with their attitude?
  • Interest: How deeply “invested” is the stakeholder in the project’s outcome?

Plan Communication (Step 3)

Once the stakeholders have been classified using those dimensions, you can then plan appropriate actions on how to deal with each.

Each of these “personalities” for your stakeholders can be approached with a separate, special strategy.

Conclusion

With the tools gathered and identified above, we are in a better position to take the rest of the governance and management process forward.

From a practical standpoint, since this type of analysis of stakeholders should theoretically be part of the project management, this portion of the work is sometimes skipped or performed minimally.

The next post will look at the roles and responsibilities of the governance and management team members.

References

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – Fourth Edition
2008, Project Management Institute, Inc.

The Handbook of Program Management, by James T. Brown as referred to in
Identify your project stakeholders – and only then plan communications, by Rich Maltzman
http://www.brighthub.com/office/project-management/articles/22750.aspx

Spheres of Influence, by Rich Maltzman
http://www.brighthub.com/office/project-management/articles/23481.aspx

Series Navigation<< Business Rules Governance and Management – Part III – First StepsBusiness Rules Governance and Management – Part V – Roles >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *