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Who is affected by the project?

Stakeholders are affected by or have influence over a project [12].

Their attitude towards the project can be positive, negative or neutral. It is therefore important to get an impression of the stakeholders in order to adjust to their reactions if necessary. The stakeholder strategy addresses the stakeholders in the project and involves them in the design of the future product. Both Scrum Masters and Product Owners should think about their stakeholders. From their perspective, what can be examples of stakeholders?

From the Product Owner's perspective:
Customer, project sponsor, users, Developers, sales and marketing personnel, suppliers etc.

From the Scrum Master's perspective:
All persons or departments/ units that are involved in the project, in the business environment, company executives, team managers, line organisation, HR department, procurement team, works council etc.

The following steps must be carried out:

  1. Analyse the different stakeholders or stakeholder groups based on their influence and affectedness.
  2. Develop a strategy on how to deal with the stakeholders in the project (information via portal or newsletter, formation of a core team, personal contact, invitation to Sprint Reviews)
  3. Conduct the stakeholder analysis on a regular basis depending on need and check for any changes, especially after important events (e.g. Sprint, Backlog Refinement Meeting, etc.)

Stakeholder analysis chart

Stakeholder analysis using the influence-affectedness matrix.

The chart indicates how the stakeholders should be involved in the project organisation and stakeholder communication [13].

Stakeholder and project environment management

There are various measures to choose from, but the Product Owner and Scrum Master are subject to the creative leeway in dealing with the project environment and the stakeholders. Possible measures (depending on the size of the agile project) can be:

Quadrant 1:
These are the stakeholders who derive significant benefit from the product and have a major influence on its creation. These can be, for example, customers, big investors or decidedly important users. These stakeholders are the supporters of the project and should therefore be involved - ideally by inviting them to Sprint Reviews and Backlog Refinement Meetings or other regular meetings to indentify their needs.

Quadrant 2:
These are the people who have a significant influence on the project but are not substantially interested in its success. This can be, for example, a department head to whom the Scrum Team must report but who does not invest his own budget in the project. Or a software architect whose technical decisions must be followed by the team. Similarly, in this quadrant are important customers of your company. Although these stakeholders have no direct interest in the product, they should still be satisfied, eventually becoming supporters as the project progresses.

Quadrant 3:
Here are the stakeholders listed, who are very interested in the success of the project, but only have a moderate or small influence on it. These can be, for example, frequent users of your product or people who have made smaller investments (e.g. through crowd-funding). Since these stakeholders are future users of the product, it makes sense to invite a selection of them to the Sprint Reviews. Other ways to engage them in the project could be in form of videos or newsletters reporting on the projects' progress. Alternatively, feedback can be gathered from them through online surveys - they might be happy to support the project.

Quadrant 4
Here you will find those stakeholders who have neither an interest in nor influence on your project. Therefore, it is often sufficient to inform this group when necessary. For example, in the form of a press release or by publishing an article on the company website. It may be possible to "recruit" stakeholders from this quadrant by actively involving them or by tapping into their needs.

CAUTION: The distribution of stakeholders is, in any case, only a snapshot - it is quite possible that the stakeholders will shift to other quadrants in the course of the project.

Further possibilities for the Product Owner and the Scrum Master to integrate (important) stakeholders can be:

Product Owner:
Attendance of Sprint Planning Meetings and Sprint Reviews, establishment of an external workgroup, continuous information via newsletter, creation of a project portal.

Scrum Master:
Networking in the organisation, personal contact with key individuals in the organisation, establishment of a workgroup to roll out Scrum in the organisation, creation of an information portal, consultation with executive managers about necessary actions.