Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stakeholder or Steakholder

Become a visible tester
I was triggered to re-think about stakeholders after re-reading the presentation: "The Most Important Stakeholder -- YOU" by Adam Goucher. This is a presentation which was given on CAST2009. mr Goucher explains that you as a person/ tester are also an important stakeholder. The article it selves is more about how to become visible. How visibility can strengthen you.

This will reflect on you as person. Therefore it will also reflect on the project you are in. You participation in project might change.

To make a difference in project you first have to identify if you are a stakeholder or not. Start with the question: “What is a stakeholder?”

What is a stakeholder?
Stakeholders are often described as important. In wikipedia Project stakeholder is explained as:
Project stakeholders are those entities within or outside an organization which:
a) Sponsor a project or,
b) Have an interest or a gain upon a successful completion of a project.
c) May have a positive or negative influence in the Project Completion.

Examples of stakeholders are:
- End users
- Developers
- Marketing Department
- Helpdesk
- Resource Managers
- and more

Often Testers are also mentioned as stakeholder. They might be stakeholders of the project. There are also people who are claiming testers are not stakeholders of a project.

The right arguments?
Did you ever talked about projects with other fellow testers? Did you ever attend an intake? Did they ask you how large the project was? How many people you managed? It seems to be more impressive you managed a test project consisting of 20 persons instead you managed to deliver a system on time with 3 very good persons. Numbers count, not result!

I always believe it is not the number of people you guided/coached/managed, it is how you managed to serve your stakeholders. It seems so obvious. And you might think this has nothing to do with stakeholders.

Mr Goucher wrote that it is important to become visible as tester. As far I as take his words it is to learn and keep learning. Not to make you more important, it is to gain respect from others.

I hope that respect is not based on how well you are to talk to 20 people, it is how good you are to deliver value to the stakeholders.

Judgement by numbers? Are typos easily made? Do you management by numbers and therefore your team becomes just meat which turns you into a steakholder>

As it is mentioned in The Seven Basic Principles of the Context-Driven School Illustrates: "Testing is done on behalf of stakeholders in the service of developing, qualifying, debugging, investigating, or selling a product. Entirely different testing strategies could be appropriate for these different objectives. "

And a bit further on: "Test artifacts are worthwhile to the degree that they satisfy their stakeholders' relevant requirements"
It seems to be important.

This has nothing to do with the number of people you are able to manage. This is how you perform to supply information to stakeholders about how the software satisfies the stakeholder and also how you are able to satisfies the stakeholders. It is showing you are delivering value to them. Plain numbers just cost them. You have to show them you are able to deliver in an optimal way.

Other arguments
On Software Testing Club Ainars Galvans posted a nice blog called Different test reports for different stakeholders? I like the picture he is using. It shows how things are presented on different levels with different products. Important is that you present only that information which is important because it delivers value.

It shows also that people watch from different angels. indeed, this seems that people are judging you from the number of people you steered. It is good to be aware you are able to have some kind of span-of-control. Only don't make that too important. You shouldn't be judged by the numbers. Typos easily made. So: "Do you manage by numbers and therefore your team becomes just meat which turns you into a steakholder?" Or are you able to serve yourselves as you are your own stakeholder present and tell what you can, who you are. And deliver your stakeholders the value they asked?

Like just said, a typo is easily made. You coached 2 people and were successful or it were 20. I hope the results counted and not how many people. There are testers who still claim I was successful managing 20 persons. It is more important to ask: what value did you deliver. A person who presents their selves in numbers are counting in meat instead of value. They are more steakholders instead of becoming their own stakeholder or value stakeholders.

1 comment:

  1. nice post.thanks for sharing such a nice post.keep it up.Its seem different from other.i would like to say Stakeholder Management Software is a powerful and web based user friendly software system designed to enable the organizations to manage their stake holders relationship very effectively.