How do I know who my stakeholders are?

Everyone says how important it is that our stakeholders are happy. How do I know who my stakeholders are?
A business analyst's stakeholders are rarely the same as the project manager's stakeholders. The business analyst is focused on the problem, the requirements, and on helping the business achieve the best solution. Regardless of the number of stakeholders, it's important to know the roles they expect to play in the requirements process.

Some common examples of a business analysis's stakeholders are the people doing work that's directly impacted by the project, plus their leaders, and often the executive with authority over the entire group or department. Other stakeholders may be the people who'll be responsible for maintaining the solution, and those with any kind of role in ongoing contractual agreements with external vendors connected to the project.

When researching your stakeholders, be sure to include the project team members, and the business stakeholders who'll tell you about the requirements. Be sure to consider their roles in the organization both before and after the project is completed. This will help you stay sensitive to how the stakeholders choose to prioritize the requirements.

Two further stakeholders you should consider are the end users who'll use the solution daily, and the people who'll provide ongoing technical support. Keep in mind that their needs are different. Similarly, the strategic concerns of the executives tasked with overseeing the team will differ from the tactical needs of the leaders with day-to-day team supervision duties. Finally, the needs of the project developers will differ from those of the sponsor, though both are, of course, vital to the project's success.

A Project Stakeholder/Influencer Assessment and Communication Plan will help you assess and evaluate your stakeholders. Take time to identify the stakeholders and their expectations, and it'll be much easier to meet or help adjust them.











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