The commitment levels of the various stakeholders can vary.
Stakeholders may show a high level of engagement throughout a project. Or
you may have to deal with stakeholders who are reluctant to commit, or who
are enthusiastic only at first, becoming less so as a project
A lack of stakeholder engagement can result in delays, for example,
with uncommitted stakeholders failing to review features or making vital
decisions too late and compromise a project's overall success
Reasons why stakeholders miss their commitments
Stakeholders may lack commitment for various
Benefits aren't explained :
If the benefits of stakeholder engagement aren't explained, it can
be difficult for stakeholders to know why they should participate in a
project. Also, as a project progresses, stakeholders may forget about the
benefits because they're overwhelmed with work.
Many stakeholders work on multiple projects, or work on a project in
addition to their normal activities.
You should identify the benefits of being involved for each
stakeholder during the initiation phase of a project. You can then
communicate these to motivate stakeholders during the rest of the project.
For example, you might motivate domain experts to respond to content
queries by explaining that their timely input will prevent the need for
major reworking of a product at a later stage.
Stakeholders aren't accountable
If stakeholders aren't held accountable for participating in the
development process, it's likely they'll continue to disengage. For
example, if a project leader ignores a product owner's failure to adjust
the priorities of user stories after a review meeting, it's likely the
development team will suffer delays and the project's release date may be
Criteria or processes are poorly defined
The product owner and the customer use acceptance criteria to
determine if the requirements outlined in each user story have been met.
The project team formulates testing processes during a project's
initiation phase. These specify how the customer can test results after
If acceptance criteria and testing processes are poorly defined, the
customer may become frustrated and less willing to review the next
No trust exists :
Stakeholder engagement depends on good working relationships between
everyone in the project community. In turn, these relationships depend on
trust. If there's little trust between developers and other stakeholders,
they're less likely to communicate openly.
This can prevent developers from fully understanding stakeholders'
requirements, and from learning of and adapting to changes in these
Tools are inadequate :
Inappropriate tools prevent or discourage stakeholder engagement ,
for example, because they require specialist knowledge, training, and
Agile teams favor simple, highly visual tools that are easy to
understand and use.
For example, stakeholders may write user stories on index cards and
attach them to a task board during a planning meeting.
As strategies for engaging stakeholders in an agile project, you
should keep senior managers informed, provide training on the technologies
and process that the team is using, be flexible, and accept customer
representatives onto the team.
Best strategie to managing Stakeholders engagements
Keep managers informed :
It's essential to get support for a project from senior management,
who make decisions about whether and how much to invest in projects.
By keeping managers informed, you can help them make the right
decisions about issues such as hiring and software or other materials you
Senior managers can also help you encourage other stakeholders to
commit to the project.
Rather than hoping that a weekly progress report will provide
management with enough information, you should take some time to meet with
senior managers and discuss the project's practicalities, such as the
technology you use or the development process you follow.
Provide training :
It's important to train key stakeholders on the technologies and
processes that the team will be using.
This ensures that they can fulfil their roles properly, and can help
give them a sense of belonging.
For example, a business analyst who has worked mainly on traditional
projects may need some training on the agile methodology that a team will
Be flexible :
You need to be flexible when managing stakeholder engagements. For
example, it may not always be possible for stakeholders to meet with
developers face-to-face. Conference calls and video conferencing are
Similarly, if it's not possible for a stakeholder to provide daily
updates, update meetings or calls every two days may be sufficient.
You should schedule essential meetings for times that suit
stakeholders. For example, you need to ensure that product review meetings
take place when the relevant stakeholders are available.
Accept customer representatives
If a customer decides to assign a representative, it's important to
accept this individual onto the project team.
The representative can play an important role, providing valuable
information about the customer's needs, answering developers' questions
about what's required, and reviewing and prioritizing features.
If you don't accept a representative as a legitimate replacement,
it's likely the individual will disengage from the project and the
development team will lose its contact with the customer.
Insist on involvement :
If a stakeholder's unwillingness to participate in a project puts
the project at risk, you may need to insist on this person's
If this stakeholder's participation is essential and strategies to
secure this person's involvement fail, you may have to consider abandoning
the project. Continuing to develop a product that won't meet the
customer's needs may be more expensive than putting an end to the project
at an early stage.
An agile project depends on the active involvement of various
stakeholders throughout the development process. Internal stakeholders
include executives and developers who aren't part of the development team
but have a vested interest.
External stakeholders include the product team and end users of the
product being developed. Strategies for ensuring active stakeholder
involvement include keeping senior managers informed, providing training,
being flexible, accepting customer representatives, and insisting on the