The Importance of Stakeholder Engagement in Process Design… or knowing what they want and giving it to them!
Stakeholder engagement – the collection and interpretation of representative stakeholder requirements – is a key enabler of success when redesigning processes. It is, of course, perfectly (and all too frequently) possible to redesign a process without taking into account stakeholder requirements but to do so presents a risk that is, with a little effort and structure, avoidable.
In my experience, the process redesign projects that fail because of “stakeholder issues” fall roughly into one of two camps;
- Those that are blinded by stakeholder requirements (“one of the stakeholders said this, so that’s what we must do”) and
- Those that treat stakeholders and their requirements as a kind of inconvenient truth (“they exist but we don’t really like them/want to listen to them”!)
Neither of these positions is desirable, and both can be mitigated.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Effective process design requires an understanding of the needs of all stakeholders, but before you can engage with them to understand their needs they need to be identified, and before you can identify them, you need to be clear on what it is you’re trying to accomplish in the first place.
I’ve lost count of the number of occasions I’ve helped clients pull back from near disaster because they didn’t take the time to answer the question: What are we trying to accomplish by undertaking this redesign activity? The reason this is so important is that it colours every aspect of the project going forward, including how you engage with your stakeholders and without answering this question, you can’t possibly hope to know if your project has been a success.