Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How do I identify stakeholders for adopting our CMMI-based process improvement program?

Dear CMMI Appraiser, I have a follow-up question. As I mentioned previously, I have been selected to lead the effort to adopt the CMMI for our company, which provides health care support services in Maryland. Now that I know that one of my roles and responsibilities as CMMI sponsor is to allocate resources to the program, including people, can you tell me how to identify the people who will be stakeholders? ~ Paula R.

Paula, it’s a pleasure to hear back from you. The CMMI Appraiser has been rooting for you in your new role leading the effort to adopt the CMMI, and I’m happy to forward your question to Julie Calfin. As you know, Julie is a Senior CMMI Consultant with Broadsword who does amazing work with companies that are undergoing large scale business transformation. Take it away, Julie! ~ The CMMI Appraiser 

Thank you, CMMI Appraiser!

Paula, I have a quick and easy template to help you identify the stakeholders of your process improvement program. The stakeholder analysis is a simple chart with seven columns, like this:

Stakeholder Group: We can either identify stakeholders by groups in the organization that they are in, or by teams or individuals. Use each row of the chart to describe a different Stakeholder Group.

Description of Group: Because the groups have different characteristics, it will be helpful to provide a brief description of each group of stakeholders.

Impact: The key to implementing change successfully is to understand how each stakeholder is going to be impacted by the change. Use the chart to quantify the impact with a simple scale assigning high, medium and low impact.

Level of Influence: We also identify their level of influence, which is their ability to have an effect on other stakeholder groups in the organization. We gauge each group’s level of influence by assigning a value of high, medium, or low. Keep in mind that some stakeholder groups have the influence in the organization to make the process changes succeed or fail.

Buy-in and Involvement Strategies: Here’s where the chart really adds value. Use the information you’ve collected to design strategies to involve them in the process improvement program and get their buy-in. We want to get each of the stakeholder groups involved in adopting the changes that your new CMMI-based process improvement program will bring.

Note that some of our buy-in and involvement strategies might be to include stakeholders in designing your organization’s processes. Or, you may decide to use various stakeholders to pilot your processes.

Action Owner: To make these buy-in and involvement strategies actionable, we always assign them to a person. The action-owner is responsible for implementing these strategies, but they often have help from others to do so.

Time Frame: Last, we have a time frame, which describes the phase of the program or the calendar timeline for when you will be implementing your buy-in and involvement strategies.

This is an example of a tool that you can print out and populate.

To get started, I recommend looking at your company’s organization chart. Dissect the chart into different groups, divisions or teams within the organization, and give each one its own row in the template. Sometimes, it makes sense to create a row for specific people. For example, I’ve worked on projects where the CMMI sponsor will say, “I know this person is going to be especially difficult to get their buy-in and change their behavior.” In such cases, it makes sense to designate one row to that person.

You can use this information in other ways, as well, Paula. For example, when we write our Communication Plan, we want to make sure we reach everybody in the stakeholder analysis. This template can also be used to figure out what other tools and techniques, like training, will be needed to gain stakeholder commitment for the process improvement program.

I hope this helps, Paula – and please keep checking back. We love to hear from folks like yourself who are on the front line of putting their company on the path to greatness.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Julie Calfin is a Senior CMMI Consultant with Broadsword Solutions Corporation. She has years of real world experience using OCM strategy and tactics to help her clients achieve their goals. Julie also uses the CMMI, in partnership with her clients, to set-up, monitor, and sustain process improvement programs.

Visit www.broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful CMMI program.


Sridhar J said...

The template is great and helps to anchor the discussion about who should participate.

A couple of points from my own experience:

1.Make sure that the stakeholders genuinely have passion for process improvement and have some idea of the underlying processes. It is tempting to have very senior folks as stakeholders - sometimes they are the ones completely unsuited to be there!

2. Choose stakeholders and members of process improvement teams so that you have a greater mix of people from the "trenches." For example, for a design process area, have a mix of experienced architects as well as junior design folks.

Having these folks as stakeholders and participants has a dual benefit - the CMMI program will have credibility (these folks would be the champions of change) AND the resulting artifacts would be rooted in reality.

The last thing you want is to have the folks using CMMI to think of it as a management fad, as it was designed by someone sitting in a ivory tower.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting info!Perfect just what I was looking for!

Jeff Dalton said...

I love a satisfied customer! Thanks for reading - and pass it on!