Goal: Identify Important Stakeholders
Scott Sehlhorst, President of Tyner Blain LLC, has developed an ingenious way to guide the development of your product by identifying your stakeholders. Before developing a framework of requirements your product must achieve, it is necessary to know your most important users. Doing so not only allows you to prioritize changes based on what people will actually use, but also provides you with the opportunity to build loyal customers by addressing their needs. However, this is easier said than done, as many unidentified users are incorporated into your sphere of stakeholders indirectly through connections with those closer to the system (product). With Customer-Centric – based on Scott’s Onion Diagram in his article “How to Visualize Stakeholder Analysis” — you can peel back the layers of the ecosystem in which your customers operate and uncover those who benefit from the outputs of the system. Play this game to identify stakeholders who can give you the requirements necessary to make your product succeed.
Start by giving your players sticky notes and pens. On a large poster or white board, draw four concentric circles and label them as follows:
- Innermost: Product (ex. Pest Control Software)
- 2nd: System – direct stakeholders (ex. Manager)
- 3rd: Containing system – stakeholders of the system, even if they don’t directly interact with it (ex. Service technician)
- 4th: Wider Environment – stakeholders outside of the environment (ex. Suppliers, customers)
Work as a team to identify people that belong in each area. This requires you to think outside the box (or shall we say circle?), as each user persona will be connected to many other users within the ecosystem. For further organization, you can draw arrows between personas to identify who communicates with whom; doing so will reveal the tangle of relationships originating from the system and bring attention to distant customers who use the output of the product.
Why It Works
One reason products fail is because teams do not solve the problems that are important to the right users. These personas are not always obvious, as they may be associated with the product through indirect connections. With this game, you can identify the vast web of people your product impacts and explore the complex butterfly effect; doing so reveals which stakeholders are most important and what your product requirements are.