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Consider all your Stakeholders

Over the next few days I'm going to change tack a little bit and post some bite size blog entries focusing on some critical success factors and key points of failure associated with operating an effective process management function and performing process improvement. Each of the entries I'm going to post represents an element of process management that is often overlooked, especially in inexperienced organisations or teams, but which may make or break your process related efforts. Today I want to pick up on the need to consider all your stakeholders, not just the immediately obvious ones. This is particularly relevant in the context of Software Process Improvement, where it is easy to focus your efforts in the project management and software engineering process areas. This is even more likely if you are attempting to run your improvements as part of a CMMI project rather than a business improvement programme. Clearly project management and software engineering groups and their managers are key stakeholders in this type of improvement programme. However, spare a thought for some of the other people you need to engage with. A few groups spring to mind immediately:
  1. Finance
  2. Human Resources
  3. Procurement / Supply Chain Management
In most enterprises, there will be very few, if any, Applications Development/Maintenance projects or programmes that do not interface with these groups to some degree. Get the department heads involved in your process activities as early as possible. You need their support, and you need to know what improvement activities they themselves may be undertaking. There is no point in creating wonderful PM and engineering processes if they do not properly interface to the rest of the enterprise. A failure to take a holistic view of process improvement will cause no end of problems in the long term even if you appear to get away with it in the short term.
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