Program Strategy: Project Stakeholders

For today's success by design nugget, I want to talk about your project stakeholders having all the stakeholders for your project identified is very important. It's probably just as important that each of those stakeholders know their role and responsibilities in the project. Even if you have assembled the dream team for your project if no one knows what they're supposed to do you might just wind up with chaos. In your solution blueprint review template, slide 15 is designed for you to help communicate your stakeholders to your solution architect.

Screenshot of the Program Strategy slide for Customer, Partner, and Microsoft teams
On the left side, we ask for you to identify your customer business sponsor. This will likely be an executive in the organization that is responsible for the success of the project. If there is no executive sponsor or the executive sponsor is not engaged or involved in the project this will be called out as a risk. Lack of executive ownership can lead to delays unresolved conflicts or issues getting changes approved typically recommend that you assign an executive owner to the project. This person should have the authority to make scope and budget decisions directly or as part of a larger steering committee that makes these types of decisions the person assigned should also be empowered to resolve conflicts between the business stakeholders.

Now the next row in this template asks for the customer product owners this is likely a large group of people in your organization that make up the bulk of your project team. While you may have champions for each product such as Finance, Supply Chain, Human Resources, Customer Service, and so on, you should have assigned specific resources from your business for each major business process area in your organization. For example, if you're implementing Finance you will likely have finance, accounts receivable, accounts payable, budgeting, and fixed assets business process owners assigned. A single person may be assigned to multiple areas but use caution when thinking about the load of work that will be assigned to these people and if the scope of work is reasonable. When you don't have an appropriate number of product owners business process owners or whatever you call this project resource your project can lack vision and input into the design of the solution and this can lead to low user acceptance and adoption of your system. 

Your project should have a good spread of users and ownership across the organization be sure to include representation from different parts of your organization as well for example if you're a global organization being sure to include representation for each country or region if you have many business units divisions or operating sectors whatever you might call the, make sure you have representation from each of those groups. If your project team is only made up of IT resources or business analysts this will be a concern as well. This can lead to the same issues like a lack of business ownership but also introduces additional risk that requirements may not be fully understood, and in the end, can lead to poor user adoption. We always recommend that your business requirements are sourced directly from the business users and those business users should write their own test scripts and they should play an active role in the development of your standard operating procedures and training materials. 

Next up in the slide are your project managers. We'll be looking to make sure that you have a project manager on both the customer and the partner sides. Another point to make here is that if you have multiple projects running simultaneously, including projects external to the Dynamics 365 project, we will be checking to see if you have a program manager or someone that's overseeing all of the projects. Lack of project management and program management on both sides can lead to issues. For example lack of a customer project manager can lead to the inability to get the proper resources or to marshal those resources to get tasks completed on time due to competing priorities of their daily work. While lack of a partner project manager can lead to a lack of direction for the partner resources, misunderstandings, unwarranted gaps in the solutions, and the risk of ambiguity of the overall solution. We'll also be looking to see that you have solution architects called out. Tenant administrators, data migration owners, training and adoption owners, cut-over plan owners, and maybe, even more, depending on the scope and size of your project.

When you're completing this slide feel free to type the details directly in or provide your detailed project team makeup in another format this could be an Excel file, a SharePoint list, your statement of work with all the stakeholders identified, a project charter, or another PowerPoint slide from your kickoff, for example. 

Another thing your solution architect will likely look for and ask about is a steering committee and an architecture review board. We do typically recommend that your steering committee be made up of key customers, partners, and Microsoft representation. For this reason, your solution architect is likely to ask you to include them in the meetings. If you have a steering committee but it doesn't have good representation from all of the parties then the risk is introduced to the project. In chapter 8 of the implementation guide success by design book, it talks about project organization which directly relates to your stakeholders and project team makeup. It also discusses collaboration, accountability, and alignment of your workstreams to the goals and leadership. You can find this starting on pages 159-163. I encourage you to check it out and use this guidance when forming your project team and be sure to communicate the full details of your product team and organization to your solution architect during your solution blueprint review. 

For the complete 📖 Implementation Guide: Success by Design book click here to download:

To learn about Success by Design, check out this eLearning 🖥: 


Popular Posts