Silent stakeholders. The Giant killers of projects
Author Details
Principal BA and Trainer , Adaptive US Inc

Mentor to 500+ Certified BA
25+ years of experience in IT Business Analysis
Author of 12 Books on Business Analysis
Part of IIBA Exam Committee

Stakeholder Management- Silent stakeholders, The Giant killers of projects

I was consulting a client which was a Dutch multi-national.

We were re-vamping the existing system as it was built on legacy technology, could not handle our business needs and was quite expensive to maintain.

We are in UAT and this is what happened.

Now suddenly, one key stakeholder has put a requirement which is not designed into the solution. This can potentially delay the project by another 2 months.

There had been a number of project progress review meetings. The project has covered 80% of planned schedule and effort.

The particular stakeholder did not bother to attend the review meetings.

Neither he raised any objections to our MoMs.

This was a business rule which could have been discovered if the Domain SME would have been involved in the project. This business rule had a significant impact on how data migration will be conducted and tested.

Have you encountered such scenarios?

Due to some reasons, some stakeholders wake up quite late in the project.

Maybe they believe that original schedules will anyway be extended and they can incorporate their requirements. After all, the project is for benefit of stakeholders.

How should we BAs handle such scenario?

I trust stakeholder charter is a good approach to handle the situation.

Here is a charter I created:

  1. All stakeholders will deal with all stakeholders in a dignified professional manner, treat each other with civility and respect
  2. All stakeholders agree to the fact that the business environment is dynamic and hence project objectives and priorities need to be changed as business dynamics changes.
  3. However, all stakeholders also agree to the fact that uncontrolled changes can ruin the project and agree to follow a defined change control mechanism.
  4. All stakeholders agree to provide other stakeholders with the level of commitment and support expected in terms of time and effort well in advance, say minimum 2 weeks
  5. As an effective team, all stakeholders agree that the issues will be judged on the merit of the issues only
  6. All stakeholders will co-operate and support each other to make the project a success
  7. Raise any concerns about the project or the process with City staff in an open and timely manner
  8. All stakeholders agree to attend all review meetings
  9. All stakeholders agree to provide prompt approval/objection to the requests. 

Have you tried any other approach?

Are Hackers Our Stakeholders?

We all requirements engineers have been taught thousand times that stakeholders are extremely critical for obtaining system requirements. We know our stakeholders are Sponsor, End users, Domain SMEs, Suppliers and possibly government organizations for statutory reporting and legal compliance.

However, do we consider stakeholders to be someone whom we may never meet and who would NEVER express their intents?

For example, hackers who are always on the prowl to steal sensitive data from our systems? Or maybe steal money from our system?

Same way, there could be stakeholders who have a malafide intent to carry out transactions beneficial to them but harmful to the organization.

I had come across a real-life case where a procurement person paid million dollars to fictitious suppliers which were created by him only.

Are you aware of techniques to identify such undesirable stakeholders and anticipate their moves so that we can make our applications safe and secure?

Would love to hear your experiences and suggestions regarding the same.

About Adaptive US

Adaptive US provides CBAPCCBAECBACPREIIBA AAC, and other business analysis certification training online and consulting needs for Individual or Corporate either online or offline. Adaptive Processes is an endorsed education provider of IIBA® Canada and IREB® Germany.

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