How we do involve stakeholders?

One of the biggest challenges for Product Owners is to manage stakeholders. Often, there are many of them. And they all have different needs, requirements, and levels of involvement. How do you manage this?

The Stakeholder Map (PDF) is a simple tool that creates transparency and strategies. Print out a large version of the PDF and introduce it to your Scrum Team. Work together to identify all potential stakeholders (or groups) and write them on stickies. Distribute the stakeholders across the quadrants based on their level of influence over the product and their interest in what you are working on. Based on the distribution that emerges, you can devise strategies on how to best involve them:

  • Latents: Keep them up-to-date with frequent newsletters or videos and involve them when you need their input;
  • Apathetics: Its usually enough to keep this group up-to-date with periodic newsletters or pull-based information (like a website or page on your intranet);
  • Promoters: You want to involve this group as extensively as possible. Invite them to your Sprint Reviews, involve them during Refinement and meet with them frequently to re-order the Product Backlog;
  • Defenders: These are your biggest fans. Involve them actively by inviting them to your Sprint Reviews. Encourage the Development Team to seek out these people to validate assumptions about what you’re developing;

The stakeholders on the right are the most important at the moment, so focus the bulk of your time and energy on them. However, if you meet the needs of the stakeholders on the left, you can shift them to the right as they become more interested in your product. 

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