This post is written by Kathy Berkidge of Mind at Work Consulting. I first met Kathy at a conference and I was absolutely blown away by her presentation, and I’m so pleased she agreed to write an article. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! — Adrian
Effective stakeholder engagement can mean the difference between successful project delivery and project failure. We BAs work closely with stakeholders to understand their needs and ensure they are translated into solution requirements. If we don’t engage with our stakeholders successfully, requirements may be missed or misinterpreted leading to products and services that fail to deliver the outcomes expected.
There are many barriers that may affect a stakeholder’s engagement, including:
- Lack of vision or not understanding the project context
- Resistance to share information
- Failure to understand what’s in it for them
- Misinterpretation of their needs
- Lack of available time
- Poor communication
- Lack of trust
- Previous history or negative perceptions from past experiences and projects
- Fear of change
Also, stakeholders often have very different expectations on what is, or is not, going to change. Something that seems like an improvement to one group of stakeholders may be perceived as a retrograde step for others. For example, an energy company that wants householders to download an app to submit meter readings and receive bills – the householders just want to keep things the same as they are now – it’s much easier!