A stakeholder is anyone who is affected by the results of business analysis. Typically, we think of shareholders, but they are far from the only stakeholders. Other examples include clients or customers, leadership teams, and employees.
Identifying stakeholders for business analysis must be done early in the project and can be a challenging phase. The importance of doing stakeholder analysis correctly cannot be overstated. Per the BABOK® Guide, stakeholder analysis is performed as soon as a business need is identified and will usually be an ongoing activity as long as business analysis continues.
The stakeholders are the audience for every business analysis. Time is of the essence here. If stakeholders are not identified until late in the process, much of the business analysis could be rendered irrelevant, and the process must begin again. Effective business analysis requires effective stakeholder analysis.
Per BABOK®, understanding who the stakeholders are and the impact of proposed changes on them is vital to understanding what needs, wants, and expectations must be satisfied by a solution. Stakeholder analysis also involves understanding stakeholder influence on and attitude towards the initiative, and assessing positive and negative attitudes and behaviors, which may affect the outcome of the initiative and acceptance of the solution.
When identifying stakeholders, their attitudes toward some or all of the following business characteristics should be taken into account to make the analysis as accurate as possible:
- Business analysis itself, as well as the company’s goals, objectives, and solution approach
- Belief that the solution will benefit the organization or them directly
- Possible negative effects vs. rewards of the initiative
- The pros and cons of collaboration, as well as previous collaborative results
- Relationships with the sponsor and team members
- Structure of the organization and its influence on the project
- Degree of influence the stakeholder him/herself has on the project, other stakeholders, and organization
After identifying stakeholders, they may be grouped by their roles in the business. Stakeholders may be grouped by business need, organizational units (responsibilities within the business), or organizational process assets. Some stakeholders may perform more than one role. A clear understanding of how each stakeholder functions in the context of the company will guide you in how you relate to that role during business analysis.
Our online training program will give you the tools you need to perform effective stakeholder analysis.