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Identify Key Stakeholders for Business Process Improvement Projects

Given the potential risks and issues involved in managing business process improvement (BPI) projects, it is essential that project managers identify early on who are the key stakeholders who can, and must, support the BPI project.

There are, of course, the obvious key stakeholders – the project sponsor(s), team members and those departments who are directly impacted by the BPI project. But undoubtedly others exist and, too often, they are not considered early enough in the project planning phase. Investing the upfront time necessary to identify all potential stakeholders is essential to ensure that the project manager gets the information necessary for BPI project success, as well as the right buy-in and commitment to ensure the BPI project “sticks.”

Jackson was tasked with managing a BPI project that required changing how the company’s Events Planning Team would select and prioritize events to attend to promote and display the company’s products. While Jackson realized immediately that the Events Planning Department were key stakeholders, as he thought more about the project he realized there were certainly other key stakeholders. These included the Marketing Department and the Sales Department. He couldn’t possibly work with just the Events Planning Group to determine criteria to select and prioritize events without understanding how Sales relied on these events and how Marketing promoted the company’s attendance at such events. Additionally, the criteria had to be aligned to Sales’ goals. These two groups needed to be in discussions early on! Certainly these were key stakeholders, too! Jackson also knew that as the project got underway, even more stakeholders would likely be identified.

To determine key stakeholders for your next BPI project, consider your responses to these key questions:

  • Who needs to provide data for the project?
  • Who benefits from changes to processes?
  • Who is negatively impacted by changes to processes?
  • Who needs to change how they complete their tasks/assignments because these processes will change?
  • Who needs to manage, utilize, or maintain the processes once implemented?
  • Who will need training to effectively use the new processes?
  • Whose processes rely on the processes being changed and therefore may have to adapt their own processes?

These are just a handful of questions that you might ask yourself to gauge the number of stakeholders who must be involved in your BPI projects.

Want to learn more about how to lead successful BPI projects? Check out Gina Abudi and Yusuf Abudi’s book, Best Practices for Managing BPI Projects: Six Steps to Success, J Ross Publishing, 2015.

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