Dealing with Key Stakeholders

There is no project without stakeholders. Stakeholders have a vested interest in the project and its outcome, and they are the major source of requirements, constraints, and assumptions for the business analyst. Remember that stakeholder roles are like hats—one person may wear multiple hats and fill more than one role on a project.

There are a number of generic stakeholders who will interact with the business analyst across the project life cycle. The list below doesn’t cover every possible role, it is a good starting point for who should be involved with your business analysis activities. Many organizations have different names for the same role, so don’t get excited if these are not the generic stakeholder roles with which you are familiar. In addition to the business analyst, there are a number of key stakeholder roles involved with business analysis activities. They are summarized in the table.

Stakeholder Description
Customer Uses the products, services, or solutions
Domain subject matter expert (SME) Possesses detailed, in-depth knowledge of a particular topic or problem area of the solution scope or the business need
End user Directly interacts with the resulting solution when it has been completed and deployed
Implementation SME Is responsible for designing and implementing potential solutions and providing specialist expertise Subsets of the implementation SME role include developers, software engineers, organizational change management professionals, system architects, trainers, and usability professionals.
Operational support Helps to keep the solution functioning by providing end-user support or day-to-day operational support
Project manager Manages the work performed to deliver the solution
Tester Verifies that the designed and constructed solution meets the requirements and quality criteria for that solution
Regulator Defines and enforces standards for developing the solution or for the resulting solution itself
Sponsor Authorizes the solution development work to be performed and controls the budget
Supplier Provides products or services to the organization

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