Defining and implementing change is an inherently human endeavour, and working closely with stakeholders is a crucial part of the BA role. Different stakeholders will, quite naturally, have different perspectives on the various situations that we find ourselves trying to change and improve. This will be no surprise to anyone reading this blog—I am certain we’ve all worked in situations where there has been stakeholder disagreement and we’ve probably all worked with individuals who seem to have ulterior motives.
When analysing the stakeholder landscape it’s very tempting to start assessing stakeholders by their actions. This may seem a completely logical approach, after all as the saying goes “actions speak louder than words”.
The trouble is that people are somewhat more complex than we might imagine, and if we judge people by their actions alone, without speaking with them to gain their perspective, then we risk making assumptions that may prove to be completely wrong. “Ah, that stakeholder is rejecting all of my meeting requests therefore they must be completely uninterested in the project.” Well that might be true; equally they might be swamped with work, recovering from a long-term illness or balancing some other urgent non-work tasks alongside their project obligations. Just because something is possible and maybe even plausible doesn’t mean it’s accurate.