Friday, 1 November 2019

Stakeholder Analysis - Notes - Identifying Stakeholders 2

Stakeholder Identification – Fact Finding Techniques.

There are many fact finding techniques that can be used in Business Analysis – some of these might be particularly useful for identifying stakeholders in the early stages of a project:
  • Background research.
  • Observation
  • Interviewing
  • Facilitated workshops.

Background research.
  • Mission statement.
  • Organisation chart.
  • Job descriptions.
  • Social media.
The organisation’s Mission Statement will give some idea of the overall context. It may give a start on identifying stakeholders – particularly External Stakeholders. For example it might mention the importance of customers, delivering value to shareholders, a responsibility to the wider world.

Organisation charts and job descriptions will be particularly useful for identifying Business Stakeholders – managers and employees.

Social media, such as Facebook business pages, will give further insights, in particular a more up to date “snapshot” of current stakeholders and their concerns.

It is worth noting that documents and information found online may be out of date or misleading, so following up with some “face to face” fact finding is important.


Observation of the business and its people in action might be done formally or informally. This will give the analyst more of an “as is” view – what is actually happening, and who is involved.

Formal observation could include asking if you can observe or “shadow” people within the business.

Informal observation could include simply watching and observing what is going on. If the business has a presence “on the ground”, such as shops, hotels, bars, you could visit some of these and gain some useful insights.


This simply means talking to people face to face – often  in a structured way rather than just an informal chat (though this may still be useful).

Structured means having a plan and a list of questions, meeting, listening, recording and then reacting to what people say with more questions if needed.

For example - the analyst could start with a few interviews with key stakeholders, seek their views on further stakeholders who should be involved, then delve into more detail from there.

Facilitated Workshops.

This means a “structured brainstorming session”. Gathering a group of people together to work on a problem together in a creative and open way.

A particularly useful technique where some creativity and wide ranging thinking is needed.

Facilitated – the session has some structure and is managed by a facilitator – so that it delivers focussed results. For example – you could bring together a group of sales and marketing people for a stakeholder workshop to analyse customers in more detail.

Stakeholder Identification - The “Hidden Agenda” – Building Relationships.

There is potentially one huge additional benefit here – the opportunity for the business analyst to build relationships with stakeholders. 

This is an important skill for the analyst and will deliver benefits throughout the life of the project. 

Making stakeholders feel involved and valued will help in a number of ways – for example, making it easier to gather and prioritise requirements. 

This can be classed as a “soft skill” and so is not easy to quantify, although it probably falls under the heading Communication Skills in the analyst skillset. 

Exactly how to do this is subtle and requires judgement, a feel for the organisation and the people involved. But some things that will help are:
  • Communicate – about the project.
  • Listen - to what people say.
  • Respond – give people answers.
  • Empathy – show concern for people.
  • Involve – people at all levels.
Here are my other blog posts on this topic -  covering some of the fact finding techniques that you might use to analyse Stakeholders and how to apply them:

Stakeholder Analysis - Notes - Identifying Stakeholders - Part 1

Stakeholder Analysis - Notes - Identifying Stakeholders - Part 3

If you would like to learn more about this subject - look at my online course - on Udemy - Stakeholder Analysis.

This highly practical course covers the key concepts and techniques for Stakeholder Analysis.
It also includes a detailed practical case study that you can work through as you progress through the course. This will enable to to see how the techniques described apply in practice - and to apply them yourself to real business project situations.

For more information - use the link below:

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