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Stakeholders in Agile Projects

Par Nezha EL GOURII Publié le 24/10/2016 à 11:13:45 Noter cet article:
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Stakeholder and development team

Stakeholders are individuals with a vested interest in the success of a project. They aren't directly involved in building a product, but may participate in the development process in various ways.

For example, some stakeholders provide technical know-how, while others make decisions about which product features are essential. An agile project evolves as it progresses, through a continuous process of inspection and adaptation.

For this approach to succeed, stakeholders have to participate actively during the course of the development process. Rather than simply making plans and then ensuring the plans are followed, they need to shape a project and the product it delivers as work proceeds.

So it's vital for an agile project to have a highly engaged project community. An agile project community consists of the development team and other stakeholders. These are the people who affect or are affected by the project.

The development team consists of the individuals whose daily responsibility involves working on project tasks and implementing the project requirements. The team generally includes a project leader, programmers, designers, and testers. The titles and roles of team members vary depending on the agile methodology that's used.

For example, in Extreme Programming all team members are simply called programmers.

Stakeholder types and responsibilities

Stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization that develops a product.

Internal stakeholders work for the organization, whereas external stakeholders are usually clients or customers from outside the organization.

Members of the executive team responsible for a project are examples of internal stakeholders. They make investment and risk decisions, and provide the support everyone needs to implement the agile approach.

For example, a finance manager may request regular progress updates in order to keep track of expenses and allocate the necessary resources.

Developers who aren't part of the assigned team for a particular project may also be internal stakeholders. They may contribute their experience and knowledge, assisting the team as necessary.

Developers may also want to have some influence or make suggestions during initial development because they'll become part of the project at a later stage – for example, when another version of a software program is developed.

External stakeholders include members of the product team. This team includes the customer or product owner, and may include one or more domain experts and a business analyst.

External stakeholders may also include end users, who'll use the product that's developed. These stakeholders aren't interested in how the product is developed, but in whether the product does what they expect it to do. Ideally, end users – or end user representatives – should be active participants in the agile development process, in particular during the planning and design phase.

They're a vital source of information about what a product should do and how it should function, and about the product's marketability.

For example, when developing a hospital management system, an end-user group may consist of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, supply clerks, lab technicians, and anyone else who needs to enter, monitor, and track patient information at a hospital. The customer is the person or entity that commissions a product, and is ultimately responsible for identifying the features that will create value.

They represent the interests of the customer and include the product owner, domain expert, and business analyst. One of the major benefits of working with onsite customers is that face-to-face communication can occur throughout the project.

An onsite customer may be an end user, who can guide the team in what a product must be able to do. Alternatively, the onsite customer will need to liaise closely with actual end users, collect feedback, and communicate it to the development team.

An agile project manager or leader is responsible for managing stakeholder engagement so the development team can build a product that meets all requirements and fulfills all success criteria. This can happen only if information flows freely between stakeholders and everyone is able to understand it.

Member of the product team

There are 3 members in the product team .

Product owner :

The product owner represents the customer and is responsible for promoting, communicating, and updating the product vision. The product owner uses it to create use cases or user stories, set priorities, and review the validity of completed work.

The product owner has to be fully committed to the project or it's likely that the final product it delivers won't meet the customer's expectations.

Domain expert :

A domain expert is a technical subject matter expert. The development team may rely on a domain expert's expertise and advice to solve problems and build a product that's technically accurate. If a team is developing a medical software program, for example, a hospital administrator or a doctor might serve as a domain expert.

Business analyst :

The business analyst is the intermediary between the customer and the development team. The analyst's role involves analyzing the customer's needs to ensure the finalized product creates value. The analyst also works with the development team to identify technical limitations or workarounds.

In a project that involves designing a car, for example, the business analyst would be the intermediary between the car manufacturer and the designers.

Conclusion

The project leader facilitates discussions between stakeholders and the development team, during which user stories are generated. He needs to ensure everyone participates fully so that the stories reflects the customer's needs.

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