March 19, 2018

Power of Three - Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is key to performing in the role of the product owner


“Stakeholders will only invest in your initiative if you invest in your relationship with them.” Click To Tweet


Tip 1: Map it out

The only way to navigate the hazardous path of stakeholder engagement is by creating a map. Seriously. Make your own assessment of which stakeholders are most relevant, influential and critical to your mission.

From there you can prioritise your time and attention accordingly. If it’s appropriate, you can even be fully transparent about your mapping and present it to the stakeholders. This may help them decide whether or not they’re of value to you and your cause. The fewer the stakeholders, the less diluted your time for the important ones.

Tip 2: Make mutual agreements

Establish your mutual expectations of each other early on and make these known. For your relationship to flourish it’s important to know what they wanna see from you. More than that, you have a duty to be upfront and explicit about what you want from them.

When you’re thinking about what you want from them, consider their speciality and how they can support you in your endeavours. In return, find out what they need from you in order to make the relationship work and decide whether its a realistic request? Once you’ve fleshed it out, review this active agreement on ongoing basis for the best outcome.


Tip 3: It takes two

In agile scrum, stakeholder engagement is a give and take relationship. You can’t expect them know everything, so you must guide them in providing the assets, resources and behaviours you need.

Whether it’s small gestures, helpful suggestions or just listening more, invest in your relationship with them beyond simply formal agreements. The simple fact is that they will only invest in your initiative if you invest in the relationship. In the same way you have sprint retrospectives, run retros with your stakeholders and ask them frankly how they think the relationship is building. Only then will you know what you need to work on.


I hope the video and tips above get you thinking about ways that you can develop valuable, long-lasting relationships with company stakeholders. In the end, positive and conscious stakeholder management will only benefit you, your agile team and the outcome of the work.

If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover, leave a comment below or send me a message through my website. Thanks for reading. See you next time!

Here’s the full transcript:

-Hi, Georg Fasching here, helping you unlock your team’s genius.
Welcome back to another episode in the power of three series, where I’m spending three minutes to share my three top tips and encouragements on a particular subject.
In this video, I’m going to focus on stakeholder engagement.
So let’s put three minutes on the clock.
So stakeholder engagements or making sure that you
have the right partners and supporters and sponsors
in your organizations really lined up to rally for you, to help you pave the way,here is how to ensure that happens as best as possible.
So first and foremost you want to actually engage them from the very beginning, from the start.
So at the very beginning do some stakeholder mapping, work out who has the most influence, who has the most relevance, or who has the most importance, and who has the most engagement requirement.
Several different tools for stakeholder engagement mapping.
And then prioritize your attention.
And if you are inclined to do so you can even be very transparent about this with them, and say well based on our initial thinking this is where you are all sitting and invite some feedback.
This will also help them to understand whether they’re truly relevant to a particular initiative.
There are some initiatives that end up with way too many people who are involved on that level and that actually devalues the true stakeholders, those are the ones that hold a stake in the success of your initiative, the one that you’re leading.
So you want to engage them from the very beginning.
The second thing is you want to be very, very clear on what your mutual expectations are.
So this is mutual.
You need to be very aware of what they expect to receive from you, to see from you on an ongoing basis.
And you also have the duty to be explicit about the expectations you hold of them.
And in the very beginning is the perfect time during the kickoff activity to agree that mutually with them.
So you need to them a think what their specialty is, how can they support you, what can they do to pave the way for the success of your initiative and vice versa, what do they need from you in order for them to be as supportive as they possibly can for your imitative.
And if you do this at the very beginning you also then want to review this on an ongoing basis to ensure that both sides are aware of how you’re actually measuring up to your agreements and how this alliance between you and the stakeholder is working out over time.
And the last thing is just an important pointed reminder that this is a give and take relationship.
Stakeholder engagement takes two.
You can’t simply expect them to do everything out of their own accord.
They need to be guided because they need to understand what it is that you need for a particular initiative and you need to invest in that relationship from your side as well.
The stakeholders will only invest in your initiative if you invest in the relationship with the stakeholders.
So this is a give and take relationship that develops over time and you will want to ensure that you keep track of how well this is working with regular retrospectives also on the stakeholder relationships.
And those are my top three encouragements for fruitful and successful stakeholder engagements that you can take into your organization.
I’m really curious to learn how this is working out for you.
If you found this useful, please like, share and subscribe.
If you have any thoughts on this video or any ideas for future ones, indeed please leave them in the comments as well.
Thank you very much for watching and until next time good bye, and all the best for your practice with your team.

About the author 

Georg Fasching

A leadership team development specialist, International Coach Federation - Professional Certified Coach, with global product management experience since 2000, employing Agile & Lean since 2010, Georg Fasching helps digital creative agencies’ leadership teams delight their clients, fulfil their people, and improve their prosperity.

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