Module 2 - Engaging With Your Stakeholders
The course is part of this learning path
This module provides a framework for stakeholder engagement through the Stakeholder Engagement Cycle, before looking at how you can categorize your stakeholders. Then it looks at personas – what they are, why they’re important and how you can create them.
The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of:
- The key stages in the stakeholder engagement cycle.
- The categories of stakeholders and how they can be categorized using the stakeholder map and influence/Interest matrix.
- When personas are required and their role in understanding stakeholders.
- The stages in creating an effective persona and how they can be used.
This course is aimed at Scrum Masters who want to improve their individual knowledge of stakeholder engagement practices in service to their Scrum team and their wider organization.
Prerequisites of the Certifications
There are no specific pre-requisites to study this course.
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As the Product Owner, you need to find ways to engage with stakeholders. The Stakeholder Engagement Cycle gives you a framework for this.
Here are the key stages of the MSP Engagement Cycle which is a good example to use. As a ‘cycle’ the process is iterative with assessment points and feedback loops at each stage as the stakeholder analysis and relationships develop.
Let’s take a look at each stage and see what you need to do to effectively and sustainably build your engagement strategy.
Defining the stakeholder engagement strategy
This describes ‘how’ you’re going to go about the communication. It’s not an artefact of Scrum but should be prepared by the Product Owner as part of their ongoing communication responsibilities before the Product Backlog’s created – if you haven’t properly considered the stakeholders then it’s impossible for you to understand their requirements or define a Product vision in line with the organization’s strategy.
The stakeholder engagement strategy will answer few important questions about how the stakeholder management process should work. Things like:
How stakeholders will be grouped and tracked by the programme;
How the importance, influence and interest of a stakeholder will be assessed;
How the team will engage with the stakeholders;
The interface for project teams and change teams with the stakeholders;
How stakeholder analysis information will be processed and stored;
Responsibilities for stakeholder engagement within the programme; and
The measures to determine the success of the stakeholder engagement.
After the stakeholder engagement strategy is defined, the other steps in the stakeholder engagement cycle follow the Deming ‘plan-do-check-act’ cycle by going through the five sequential steps of Identify; Analyze; Plan; Engage; and Measure.
You’ve probably worked out that, before you can do anything, you’ve got to establish who your stakeholders are. They need to include the people who are involved in the Scrum Team’s work and its outcome, and the stakeholders who are affected by it.
Creating and analyzing stakeholder profiles
This stage describes the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ using the Stakeholder Map and the Stakeholder Influence/Interest Matrix, which then form part of the Stakeholder Profile document.
The Stakeholder Map will match all the stakeholders – or stakeholder groups – and all potential areas of interest to show you who is concerned with what. The Stakeholder Profile then provides the information you need about each stakeholder – things like:
Their areas of interest or concern and any areas of sensitivity;
Their level of support for the product;
Their level of influence on the product and why;
Development trends that are relevant for the product;
The current and target position for each stakeholder – through the Influence/Interest Matrix;
A Benefits Distribution Matrix showing benefits and ‘dis-benefits’ for each stakeholder;
Who owns the communications with each stakeholder; and
The key influencers within the group.
Planning the engagements
This stage is about the ‘when’ which is visualized through the Communications Plan.
For effective engagement you need to send the right message to each stakeholder, make it relevant to build trust, communicate at the right time and continually assess how effective the communication process is.
The Communications Plan must reflect the direction provided in the Stakeholder Matrix and the Stakeholder Profiles, and should answer these questions:
What are the key messages – what information will be communicated?
When will the information be disseminated (dates and times)?
How much detail will be communicated?
Who’s responsible for the communication?
Who’ll prepare the communication?
Who needs to approve the communication?
How will feedback be encouraged, recorded, reviewed and resolved?
So far, you’ve identified, created and analyzed – this stage is where you actually engage with the stakeholders by executing the Communications Plan.
But, it’s about more than the formal, planned activities. Subtle and informal communication will also be part of the mix and you’ll often need to influence, lobby, cajole, manipulate, co-opt, flatter and apply pressure to your stakeholders to keep the programme on track.
The last step in the cycle is measuring the effectiveness of your approach – which is only worthwhile if you’re prepared to objectively review the results and make adjustments to the engagement strategy where they’re needed.
An independent review of your stakeholders’ perceptions can be a good place to start, as well as health checks or reviews of the effectiveness of the documentation you’ve used.
And then the cycle starts all over again!
Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting, and Project/Program Management working with public, private, and third sector organizations.
He has helped organizations to design and create processes and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider, utilizing a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.
As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills, Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.
Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Program and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers, and worked at the director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.