Stakeholders and their concerns

Stakeholders are parties that have a relation to the system that is being built in a project. There are many stakeholders in a typical project. Some examples of stakeholders are:

  • End users
  • System managers
  • Project members creating the solution
  • Project manager
  • Testers
  • Business managers
  • Financial department
  • Vendors of IT systems
  • System owners of adjacent systems
  • Business partners outside of the own organization

In a project each of these stakeholders has concerns about the new system. These concerns are sometimes conflicting. Some examples of concerns are:

  • End users are concerned with the useage of the new system - the way it will help them perform their daily tasks. The system must provide a fast and always available business service. End users should not be forced to perform tasks in a more complex way that absolutely necessary.
  • System managers want to make sure the newly created system can be managed with the tools they already use. The new system must be fully documented and tested. The system must fit the technology already in place and it must run on already existing infrastructure. The system's components must be serviceable and vendor support must be in place. The system must preferably use proven technology.
  • Project members creating the solution want freedom to create the system in a way that best fits their expertise (Java programmers want to develop in Java, not in .Net). They want the opportunity to find elegant solutions to design and build the system, if possible using the latest technology.
  • The project manager wants to keep the scope of the project as small as possible to reduce project risk. He does not like changes to appear during the project. Therefore he wants to have as many interfaces out of his scope and make other parties responsible for the connectivity of the new system to other systems.
  • Testers want the system to be testable. Therefore they want all parts to be defined in a SMART way (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound). At the start of the project testers want the requirements to be fully clear and testable. Testers want the project team to produce test stubs for interfaces and repeatable test cases for functionality and non-functional aspects. They want to explicitly define all non-functional aspects of the system (like high availability and performance) in advance.
  • Business managers want the new system to have ways to monitor the system on a high level using for instance KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). They want reporting capabilities for their superiors and their customers. They probably want the new system to have connectors to be able to connect to business partners.
  • The financial department wants to use their knowledge in the purchasing process of the project. They want to be able to negotiate with vendors of IT solutions about terms and conditions and want to reuse already existing contracts with known vendors. They want the new system to be purchased from vendors the organization does business with already.
  • Vendors of IT systems want their customers to use the latest technology they provide. They want to sell licenses and hardware. They want a long term relationship with their customers and want therefore to sell long term maintenance contracts.
  • System owners of adjacent systems in the organization want the new system to seamlessly integrate with the systems already in place. They do not want to create new interfaces or perform many tests. It can be a challenge to get specialist staff appointed to the project, since they are usually busy with their own systems.
  • Business partners outside of the own organization want the new system to follow their internal procedures and interfaces. They do not want to be bothered with the fact that a system is replaced by a new system.

The examples above are just a few of the concerns a few of the stakeholders have. In the real world many more stakeholders exist and the concerns may be much more complex. Therefore for a project to succeed proper stakeholder management is crucial.

This entry was posted on Vrijdag 15 Maart 2013

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