Stakeholder or user profiling involves eliciting, analyzing, and organizing information about key stakeholders involved in your project. Most of us are pretty good at working with and involving our end users and senior managers. It’s those other stakeholders that sometimes get lost in the shuffle and come back to bite us later. It’s never too early to identify and involve your project stakeholders – the “in your face” folks, the “hidden users”, the “for or against you” folks and all those people and personalities that come into play. After all, your end users are a subset of this larger stakeholder group.
I strongly recommend you identify and profile your key project stakeholders early and often during the project life cycle. The three major components of stakeholder profiling are:
If you profile your key stakeholders, the information that you use comes from a sample size of representative users, their supervisors, and their direct reports within your project’s identified stakeholder organizations. Here are some suggested topics to discuss:
Here are some more specific things I might ask in order to understand those existing work activities and get a jump start on my profiling activities. It is essential to get these folks identified so you can get them involved as quickly as you can. Some starter questions for folks include:
When you are digging deeper for each activity defined by an end user or key stakeholder, try asking them about:
When you are defining your requirements, be sure to take a closer look and do a little profiling on your key stakeholders, too. Iterative and incremental requirements development results in project requirements that are (or should be!) defined, specified, and agreed on. Let’s make sure we have the right folks involved to the right degree to make this project work worth the doing.
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