Technique 23: Stakeholder nomination
Description of the technique
It is relatively easy to identify an initial set of stakeholders, and this is done
mainly through stakeholder nomination. The project sponsor is a key stakeholder,
and is usually one of the ﬁrst individuals to interview in order to engage in
discussion about the project. During this interview the sponsor should be able to
specify the key managers and business staﬀ who need to be involved in the
business analysis work.
Using stakeholder nomination
This approach usually works in a hierarchical fashion: the sponsor identiﬁes key
managers, all of the managers identify key members of their teams, and so on.
A hierarchical approach is helpful because the managers are able to identify the
individuals they feel would best fulﬁl the role required by the analyst, and they
can also give permission for their staﬀ to spend time working on the project.
Relying upon individuals who have been identiﬁed by the sponsor or another
senior manager can be extremely risky, however. Sometimes the sponsor or
managers will identify people who are sympathetic to their views and ideas,
resulting in a limited analysis with the risk that important details are omitted.
Furthermore, a more systematic approach, such as the Stakeholder wheel
described below, helps to ensure that all stakeholder views are considered – even
those stakeholders who, at ﬁrst sight, do not appear to be relevant.
Technique 24: Background research
This is also called report analysis or background reading.
Description of the technique
There are many reasons for initiating a business analysis project. These include
a change in business strategy, a request from a senior manager, changes to a
related business area, and legal or regulatory changes. One may even follow on
from a feasibility study. This usually means that documentation exists to explain
why the business analysis is required. There may also be a Terms of Reference
statement for the study, or formal project documentation such as a Project
Initiation Document. Examining such documentation will often provide
information that will help the analyst uncover a wide range of stakeholders,
including those working outside the area under investigation. For example, a
feasibility study might have included discussions with managers and staﬀ from
areas of the organisation that, at ﬁrst sight, appear to be unrelated to the project,
or the source of the original idea might be an external stakeholder such as a
major customer or supplier. Any individuals or groups identiﬁed when examining
background documentation should be entered on the list of initial stakeholders.
Using background research
It is important to locate the documents that could be helpful in identifying
stakeholders, and sometimes these are not obvious. If there are pre-project
or project documents then they should be made available to the analyst.