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Tag: Stakeholder

The importance of understanding value

Every company has many competing ideas on projects which need to be fulfilled in order to run successfully. Departments will usually get a budget and at times try to deliver as many items as possible, in order to say they have been completed. But are the correct items/functions/projects being delivered to really drive value to the customer and/or business?

In working in multiple companies over the years, I have seen many ways of deciding on priorities from who screams loudest to very formal detailed business plans being put forward explaining the rational behind the ask.

When prioritizing one key element we must understand is what value we are adding to the customer or the business by delivering the item.

Value statements are a great tool to clearly define the outcome of the item being delivered. One useful technique to really get stakeholders to think about value is writing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) objectives. Instead of writing “We will increase revenue” the new value statement will read “We will increase revenue of the whitening toothpaste product by 2% over the 12 months following implementation of a rotation pane on the toothpaste description page”.


While this seems like a relatively straightforward and logical tool, the fact is, some companies still do not follow this practice of clearly defining value and there are many reasons for this, which can include:

  • Stakeholders or product owners may not be comfortable to stand over quantified data
  • Stakeholders not believing in the idea but have been asked to progress the idea
  • The data may not be available in the company easily enough for stakeholders to quantify
  • A culture of blame, funding cuts or sidelining careers if the targets are not met

When value is not fully outlined and decisions are made based on feeling, this can lead to:

  • Items being delivered which are not adding value
  • Items being creating which are not required and could be culled causing waste
  • Potentially higher support and maintenance costs for items not required
  • Implementation costs of items not required
  • Loss of customers/revenue by not implementing needed functionality

Furthermore, value needs to be defined from the outset in order to measure success/failure of the implementation after the time period stated in the objective. Without this measure there is no way to gauge if the item really added value.

Golden Rules of Stakeholder Engagement in Business Analysis

What makes business analysis on a project effective?1 Is it just about allocating a business analyst (BA) to the project to produce business analysis deliverables on time, or is it about effectively communicating and engaging with stakeholders? While both are tactical prerequisites, we believe that engaging with stakeholders is key to any effective project implementation.

Research proves that, in the long term, effective stakeholder engagement is good for any business.2 Organizations with a greater awareness of stakeholder interests and higher stakeholder engagement patterns are more likely to avoid crisis, simply because they’re in a better position to leverage opportunities and anticipate risks.3 Several compelling studies across industries on the impact of good stakeholder relations demonstrate that, over time, organizations focusing on building stakeholder trust are more resilient across indicators of value such as financial resilience, sales, cost reduction, time to market and control of operating costs.3, 4

So, who are the stakeholders? Stakeholders are individuals, or groups of individuals, who either care about, are actively involved in or have a vested interest or a stake in the project’s success. They can also affect the project BA’s ability to achieve his or her own goals.5 Stakeholders can be internal or external.

Internal stakeholders may include top management, project team members, a BA manager, peers, a resource manager, end-users, and internal customers/delivery partners. External stakeholders may include external customers, governments, contractors and subcontractors, regulators, and suppliers/vendors.

Stakeholder engagement is the practice of interacting with and influencing project stakeholders to drive the overall success of an initiative. Stakeholder expectations and perceptions, as well as their personal requirements, concerns, and agendas, influence projects, determine what success looks like, and impact the achievement of an initiative’s overall outcome. Successful stakeholder engagement is vital to effectively delivering value on a project.

Whether internal or external, the first thing to identify is whether BAs effectively engage with project stakeholders. This paper explores different levels of stakeholder engagement and the approaches that will enable a productive association and result in project success. Typically, stakeholder engagement falls into three broad models: high, moderate, and low engagement.


High engagement model

Stakeholder engagement is at its peak, in this model, meaning that BA and stakeholder thought processes align on project objectives, definitions, and benchmarks of success. They work in tandem to drive the project to its intended conclusion in an efficient and timely manner. This model is highly interactive. Ideas and suggestions from both sides are exchanged to evaluate the pros and cons and resolve any differences of opinions objectively through a process of mutual consensus. There is mutual respect, trust, and a sense of ownership over the decisions being made and risks being taken.

In short, this is the ideal scenario. In this engagement model, the stakeholder clearly communicates expectations, actively participates in project requirements, promptly responds to questions and communications, and engages with the BA and shows genuine interest in the analyst’s work.

 Best practices to help a BA sustain high stakeholder engagement

  • Work to become a BA on whom stakeholders can depend. Build relationships based on trust.
  • Demonstrate awareness of project timelines, efficiency and cost-related issues while prioritizing the needs of the project.
  • Maintain regular communication. Keep stakeholders informed of project progress and BA deliverables.
  • Address constraints and challenges on time. If there are time constraints or other challenges, meet stakeholders formally or informally (in-person or virtually) to discuss the issues and get their buy-in for feasible solutions.
  • Listen to and address stakeholder concerns in a timely manner.
  • Keep stakeholders engaged by involving them throughout the project. Always ask for stakeholder input and work toward implementing what’s possible.
  • Recognize stakeholders’ achievements and appreciate their support.

 Moderate engagement model

Stakeholder engagement is average in this model, meaning that the BA and the stakeholder agree on the vision and objectives of the project but don’t understand the impact their respective actions might have on its timelines and success. They work on the same team but don’t always collaborate, attend meetings but don’t actively participate, provide input and feedback but not in a timely manner. In this model the stakeholders aren’t clear on the BA’s expectations and deliverables. In other words, to achieve a higher level of engagement it requires active collaboration and participation between the BA and the stakeholder.

So, there is hope with this model. But if the BA doesn’t work to improve the relationship, things are likely to quickly reach a point from which it will become harder to recover.

Best practices to help a BA improve the stakeholder engagement level

  • Drive conversations and meetings that are interactive, constructive, and engaging for both parties.
  • Communicate effectively to engage stakeholders. Leverage collaboration tools and continuous brainstorming workshops that enable stakeholder participation.
  • Set realistic expectations with stakeholders from the onset of the project.
  • Be mindful of and flexible to accommodate stakeholders’ schedules and preferences. This includes engaging with stakeholders formally or informally, as well as during work or off hours.
  • Listen to, heed, and execute stakeholders’ feedback and demonstrate its impact on the project.

BAs can leverage several tools and strategies to enhance stakeholder engagement (see Table 1). Once they understand the project, they will become more receptive to what a BA has to offer. And then they will want to know how the initiative will be implemented, whether and how their concerns will be addressed, and how they can contribute to the solution.13 At this stage, it’s important for BAs to manage the relationship to set the right expectations and agree on roles without losing the already established level of engagement.

IIBA BABOK® Guide Technique Purpose
Functional decomposition Explains key components of business analysis to create transparency within an initiative, specifically in how a BA works and the role stakeholders can play.
Mind mapping Enables BAs to gather and summarize participants’ thoughts and ideas, as well as any ancillary information, and then determine interrelationships.
Process modelling Defines the solution and describes how the business analysis will be executed. This technique can include actors and information flows to illustrate what’s expected of each stakeholder during various stages of the process.
Roles and performance matrix Maps each stakeholder’s role and permissions across business analysis activities. For example, which stakeholder will shape what part of the solution, approve the solution design and implement the solution.
Stakeholder list, map, or personas Documents stakeholder responsibilities, defining how each will shape the solution and all will collaborate.
Brainstorming Fosters creative thinking around project challenges and possible solutions. The goal of brainstorming is to produce new ideas and derive themes for further analysis.

Table 1 – IIBA Reference 5,6

Low engagement model

Stakeholder engagement is below average in this model, meaning that BA and stakeholders thought processes don’t align regarding project objectives, definitions, and benchmarks of success. The BA and stakeholders don’t work in tandem to drive the project to its intended conclusion in an efficient and timely manner. In this model, there’s no constructive exchange of ideas and suggestions with the objective of evaluating the pros and cons. Differences of opinions aren’t resolved objectively and lack mutual consensus. Respect is a lacking and there’s no sense of ownership of decisions being made and risks taken.

This results in conflicting requirements and deliverables, delayed project timelines, dissatisfaction on the project progress and eventual failure to meet expectations. In this engagement model, the stakeholder:

  • Asserts authority
  • Doesn’t actively participate in meetings
  • Provides minimal to no feedback
  • Quickly critiques deliverables
  • Resists change

At the beginning of the project, especially a change initiative, there may be resistance for various reasons.6 Chief among these is fear. Because the business case behind a change initiative is often restructuring, reducing headcount, or introducing automation — all of which may lead to the loss of some jobs — people will naturally be concerned. That may lead some people doubt their ability to develop new skills, learn new things or maintain an acceptable level of performance in the new system. Projects that lack clarity at the start are also concerning. While it’s always difficult to anticipate the direction of a change initiative, in the early phase, most stakeholders aren’t sure of their role or how or where they’ll fit in the overall process. And without established norms or processes in place, an initiative is almost always likely to change the environment. At times it’s this discomfort, or a lack of justification for this change, which causes resistance.

 Remember: Be prepared. Be flexible. Be ready to escalate.

To overcome these and other challenges, we recommend the following steps:

Step 1: Be Prepared

Send the agenda and any relevant documents prior to the meeting so that everyone has an opportunity to prepare for the discussion. Arrive in the meeting room (physical or virtual) a few minutes early, especially when the BA is the host. Follow the best practices for virtual audio/video calls, especially in a remote work setting.7 Invite a person of authority to the meeting for support. This could include the BA’s manager, the project manager, or a business process consultant. Be active rather than reactive in any situation. For a BA, it’s always important to take a few minutes before responding to an email or conversation. BAs should never take feedback personally and always be willing to reach out to their peers, core team or leader for help.

Step 2: Be Flexible

Accommodate the stakeholders who aren’t available to meet in person and in this case, the BA should try to address stakeholder requests by scheduling a conference call. If meeting during prime business hours is not possible then connect with stakeholders during off-hours or different times of the workday, within stipulated/acceptable business hours. This sort of availability supports a more informal setting, which in turn encourages stakeholders to share their concerns. It also demonstrates that a BA is eager to engage with stakeholders and understands their viewpoint. It will help the BA gain stakeholders’ trust and make them feel their voices are heard and their perspectives factored in.

Step 3: Be ready to escalate

Invite a person of influence — for example, a hardline manager or project manager — to meetings with stakeholders to get better guidance on how to maneuver the project as well as keep the manager informed of progress. Stay calm and objective throughout the process. Under no circumstance should a BA feel the need to pressure stakeholders on any matter since such behavior will only aggravate the situation and result in further damage to the relationship with stakeholders.


Our recommendations for a successful engagement model

We recommend the following engagement model that has been tried and tested and has resulted in successful and long-standing engagements with our stakeholders over the years.

Stakeholder analysis/mapping. Analyze stakeholder needs and expectations and think about how the project or the proposed change might impact stakeholders, as well as how they can impact the proposed change. Based on this analysis, select an engagement approach that best suits stakeholders’ needs for effective communication and collaboration.

Plan of engagement. Plan an effective approach to stakeholder engagement. The goal is to select an approach that will ensure the highest level of engagement throughout the initiative. Things to consider when selecting an engagement approach may include:

  • Style of communication during meetings. Keep the meetings interactive. Initiate and foster maximum participation.
  • Frequency and duration of meetings. Schedule short meetings with an agenda. When meetings are too long, participants lose their focus.
  • Format of meetings. Schedule virtual or in-person meetings as appropriate.

Set expectations. Set and communicate expectations with stakeholders. Make sure the desired outcomes are clear and well understood by the stakeholders. For example, if BAs request input on requirements, then they need to make sure that:

  • Documentation is sent to stakeholders on time, preferably well in advance of the request for feedback.
  • Documentation includes anything stakeholders may need, such as reference documents, process flows, data elements or use cases.
  • A timeline is set for when the BA expects feedback.

Engage stakeholders. Keep the focus on maintaining and improving the level of engagement. Keep stakeholders engaged through:

  • Maintain the frequency and level of communication. Keep stakeholders apprised of the progress and possible challenges.
  • Active listening. Listen to stakeholders’ concerns and feedback and address them accordingly.

Review and adjust. Review and adjust the plan based on stakeholders’ engagement and feedback. Revisit the approach and adjust for future interactions to maintain the level of stakeholder participation and involvement.


The general rule for any stakeholder engagement is the understanding that stakeholders care about their responsibilities and want to do their best. Despite that, there may be certain obstacles that prevent successful and beneficial stakeholder engagement. In that case, BAs will find it helpful to analyze the initiative to understand the cause of the roadblock and find a way to resolve it as early as possible. Handling the situation objectively and the demonstrating the initiative’s roadmap — including a clear picture of the initiative, its impact, and everyone’s roles — fosters a collaborative environment that will lead to a successful project.



1 “ The Habits of Effective Business Analysts.”

2 “Long term business health stakeholder theory.”

3 Enright, Sara; McElrath, Roger; and Taylor, Alison. 2016. “The Future of Stakeholder Engagement.” Research Report, BSR.

4 Witold J.Henisz, Sinziana Dorobantu and Lite J. Nartey. “Spinning Gold: The Financial Returns to Stakeholder Engagement.” Strategic Management Journal. 2013.

5 International Institute of Business Analysis. “A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide).”

6 Rahul Ajani. “Engaging Stakeholders in Elicitation and Collaboration.” International Institute of Business Analysis.

7 Ken Fulmer. 2020.Working Virtually – 10 Tips for Management.

Further reading

Ori Schibi. “The role of the BA in managing stakeholder expectations.” Project Management Institute. October 26, 2014.

Kenneth W. Thomas. “Making Conflict Management a Strategic Advantage.” Psychometrics.

Robyn Short. “The Cost of Conflict in the Workplace.” Robyn Short. February 16, 2016.

Association for Project Management. “Communicate: the first principle of stakeholder engagement.”

Ian Haynes. ” 4 Strategies for Dealing With Difficult Stakeholders.” wrike. September 25, 2020.

Breaking Through the Stakeholder Surface

The Stakeholder Blueprint

Stakeholders are an important component of the business ecosystem, and especially important to initiatives, as they include any individual person or group that has any sort of connection to the business need or change at hand. Stakeholders can have a straight-forward connection to the initiative, or be a more complex and challenging piece. Stakeholders are not always the person or group with the easiest road of access, and overcoming challenges and barriers with stakeholders can build trust and facilitate meaningful business relationships and engagement.

Speaking the language of stakeholders is about understanding not only what is obviously promoted and agreed, but also about listening to what is not said. Within stakeholder silence can be hesitation, but it could also be unspoken agreement and support, or even untapped input. Not all stakeholders speak the same language, and it may depend on the initiative and accompanying environment. Understanding environment is important, as well as having self awareness to ensure no assumptions are made on perception of stakeholders.

Everyone knows the phrase, “watch out for those quiet ones”. In the landscape of stakeholders, it is not always a reliable approach to accept the loud voices of support as loyal, and the quiet ones as adversity. Understanding different communication needs can help to elicit not only requirements, but important business information to help with the initiative. This means not only thinking, but also performing and prioritizing outside of the box.

The Unlikely Mentor

Within stakeholder groups, there could be many different types of business relationships. Mentors can come in all shapes and at all career milestones. You may have spent some time focusing on one particular area of your organizational structure to find a mentor, only to happen upon your best ambassador and catalyst of growth from an unexpected network connection.

Mentoring as a professional input has changed over the years, and no longer is represented by the one-dimensional approach of an employee with seasoned expertise providing wisdom to a junior, within a specific organizational facet. Mentoring can be from one or many blended sources, allowing the optimal blend of experience, perspectives and advice to inspire multi-directionally. It is no longer the formal, stuffy documented professional connection and more modernly exists in a fluid, dynamic environment that fits more to the organic professional environment and multiple avenues of existing career paths.

Cohesion and the Business Need

Mapping stakeholder personas is an important Business Analysis technique in identifying specific sources, decisions and choices for involvement to the initiative. Keeping touchpoints open and approaches objective helps to elicit valuable information for projects and maintain a team’s engagement and value.


When leading teams through initiatives and keeping communication central, there may be times when information is not always easy to unpack. Depending on the initiative, challenging group conversations about outcomes may come up time-to-time, such as the sometimes “unpopular” outcomes of:

  •      Doing Nothing
  •      Accepting sunk cost

These outcomes can divide stakeholders, make some nervous, and may even inspire a reaction to perceived setbacks, even if they are indeed the best options. With the right communication though, these may actually allow for important reconfigurations for stakeholders to find a new perspective. That environment of honesty and trust can directly impact another future initiative, or even exist in understanding business needs, and how something such as “doing nothing” may prevent loss from continuing to pursue an initiative that delivers low-value.

Keeping stakeholders informed and direction honest can:

  •      Enhance elicited information
  •      Build trust
  •      Create better business relationships
  •      Solidify cohesion in the delivery of any outcome

When the team has the same view, the road to travel there is easier.

Why do we self-censor?

Obviously No One Says EXACTLY What They Are Thinking All Of The Time, But Why Do We Hold Back What We Believe To Be Valuable Contributions? In The World Of Remote Working, It Is Important To Understand This Issue.

In this context, it’s when we make a decision not to put forward our idea, question, opinion, objection or point of view. In same-room meetings, it was easy to see when someone’s body language changed, or when someone began to look confused, thoughtful or hesitant. Good meeting-chairs, and good colleagues, would pick up on this and invite the contribution. In video calls it is much more difficult to pick on these cues, so many contributions are being missed.

BAs need to be aware of self-censoring from two perspectives 1) our stakeholders may not provide the information or insight we need from them 2) we may be stopping ourselves form contributing due to a variety of underlying causes.

Here are some of the reasons people hold back.Here are some of the reasons people hold back.

Don’t rock the boat

Many of us prefer to maintain the outward illusion of a harmonious team than face some of the more difficult questions. Unfortunately the disharmony will spill out in other ways, impacting relationships and productivity. To further extend this metaphor – checking that everyone knows where we are headed and is rowing in the same direction is not the same as ‘rocking the boat’!

Confidence of convictions

If someone makes a very confident statement we believe to be wrong or disagree with, it’s difficult to voice another idea if we feel uncertain. Some people sound very confident all of the time, and leave no room for alternative interpretation or doubt. This can leave others feeling “there’s no point arguing with them”. This is not a positive outcome for organisations. Research shows that when people are “100% certain” of something, they are only right about 85% of the time.

Level of investment

When we don’t really care about the topic or issue, its more likely we will hold back. Sometimes a topic feels off track, unnecessarily detailed or covering old ground. Particularly in long meetings, or towards the end of meetings, people have mentally moved on and we are unlikely to making the best quality contribution. 

If we find ourselves consistently uninterested in the outcome of discussion, perhaps it’s time to look for a new room and a new discussion.

Discomfort and fear

Many of us avoid conflict, because it feels uncomfortable. We worry that relationships may deteriorate or be affected. We need to invest in relationships to create the trust required to constructively disagree, the security to express dissenting views. We also fear endless debate, and may feel unwilling to prolong the discussion further! People also worry about looking foolish or deliberately uncooperative. Fear is a major factor in self-censorship.

Assuming everyone else agrees 

When everyone else stays silent, it is easy to assume they all agree. When we believe we are the only one ‘out on a limb’/ ‘willing to stick their head above the parapet’ (whichever analogy is more prevalent in your organisation) we are less will in to speak our minds. 

The most innovative and productive teams have competing ideas and multiple perspectives.

How can we avoid it?


Good facilitation

Online meetings need different facilitation skills to face-to-face meetings. Getting the best contribution from every participant, keeping everyone engaged and not simply seeking quick-agreement are essential.  The ability to exchange questioning glances or clarify positions on the way into a meeting  have been reduced – we must make it easier for people to speak when they have a different point of view.

Inviting a minority opinion with phrases such as “Is there another way of looking at this?”, “What could we be missing here?” and “Let’s hear from some who is not totally convinced” make it much more acceptable to voice dissent than questions which don’t really invite further contribution such as “So, are we all in agreement?”.

Also consider:

  • Not all contribution needs to be verbal – encourage or make different types of contribution though chat function and collaboration tools. 
  • Not all contribution needs to be ‘in the room’ – provide or take opportunities to contribute before or after sessions.


It is useful to reflect on our contribution with questions such as:

  • “Am I happy with my level of contribution in that session?”
  • “Did I encourage others to speak?”
  • “Is there something I stopped myself from saying? Was it important?”
  • “How can I progress that contribution outside the meeting?”

Create a culture of reflection by posing some of these questions at the end of a session.


As business analysts, we need to understand this issue, as it has the potential to significantly affect our work. Being alert to self-censorship means we can encourage participation and ensure we don’t miss out on an important contribution from others, and we can question our own motivations when we choose to stay silent.

The Unbiased Analyst

Whether it be interviews, surveys or questionnaires, business cases, observations, or root cause analysis – any technique can introduce bias into a business analysis initiative.

Bias can result in the collection and synthesis of erroneous information leading to the delivery of sub-optimal, discriminatory, and/or inadequate solutions. It is therefore important that Business Analysts are aware of the different types of bias and the risk they pose to any analysis.

The following outlines some common forms of bias, as well as provides some simple approaches for mitigating the risk of introducing bias into an analysis.

Selection Bias

In cases where there is a large group of stakeholders, it is often not practical to elicit information from every individual. Instead, information is elicited from a selection of group members.

Selection bias is where individuals are more or less likely to be selected from the larger group. The risk posed by selection bias is that the information solicited from the selected individuals is not representative of the larger group.

Any business analysis technique that involves selecting individuals to represent an entire group is at risk of introducing selection bias. For example:

  • Surveys and questionnaires often depend on individuals taking the time to respond, which may be depended on a range of variables, including being aware of the survey/questionnaire, having access to complete the survey/questionnaire, having the time to respond, and/or having the ability to respond.
  • Interviews usually involve selecting individuals or asking for volunteers from a larger group.
  • Observations may introduce selection bias based on when and/or where the observation takes place.

It is also important to be aware that any elicitation that involves self-selecting is inherently biased towards those who chose to be involved.

Response Bias

Response bias is a general term that accounts for range of bias that influence the response of participants away from an accurate or truthful answer. Some areas that may contribute to response bias include:

  • Recall – human memory can be unreliable, particularly if the information being recalled is complex, regards an event that took place a long time ago, or involves information that may be considered traumatic.
  • Perception – this is where a response is influenced by what is perceived as a ‘good’ or ’bad’ answer. The responder essentially changes their response or behavior based on what they think the interviewer/observer wants to hear/see, ultimately leading to the collection of erroneous information. An individual’s response can also be impacted by how a question is framed. For example, using overly negative language, positive language, or language that is associated with a particular ‘side’ can influence response.

Any business analysis technique that involves collecting information direct form stakeholders may be at risk of introducing response bias.


Personal Bias

Personal bias is where an individual unintentionally or unwittingly introduces unwarranted opinions and feelings into a situation, making objective opinions difficult. Business Analysts are at risk of introducing bias into an analysis because of their own views and believes.

Some particular areas of personal bias include:

  • Observer Bias – this is bias introduced when an individual’s point of view or understanding impacts how they perceive a situation. For example, an observer may misinterpret a situation because the language used has a specific meaning in the given context that the observer is not aware of.
  • Confirmation Bias – this is the tendency for an individual to seek out evidence that confirms their own personal views, while downplaying or discounting evidence to the contrary.
  • Overconfidence – this is where the credibility and/or knowledge of an individual or source is overestimated.

Introducing personal bias into analysis is a risk for any Business Analyst regardless of the technique being used.

Avoiding Bias

The following is a non-exhaustive list of ways Business Analysts can mitigate, counteract or avoid introducing bias into analysis:

  • Understand your stakeholders – take the time to understand your stakeholder groups, including understanding attributes that may impact the particular needs of individuals within a group. Attributes to consider include demographic information such as age, geographic location, socio-economic status, and/or access to technology. Techniques such as stakeholder maps may assist in identifying attributes and decomposing stakeholders into more relevant sub-groupings.
  • Don’t rely on a single technique – when eliciting information from a large population of stakeholders, consider using multiple techniques across non-mutually exclusive groups. For example, follow-up surveys with interviews, consider confirming results from an observation using a follow-up questionnaire etc.
  • Support with hard evidence – where you are soliciting complex or historical information from stakeholders, confirm with hard evidence wherever possible, such as using emails, audit logs, meeting minutes and/or policy documents.
  • Census, not survey – where possible and practical, consider making responses to surveys and questionnaires ‘compulsory’, essentially turning them into a census. This approach can also be applied to interviews and observational studies where a stakeholder group is small.
  • Use advisory groups – where available, include advisory groups, unions, or other available advocacy group in your elicitation exercise to represent stakeholders. Advisory groups are more likely to have in-depth knowledge about a stakeholder group that may allow them to identify areas analysis may have failed to address. Advisory groups may also be useful when validating the findings of an elicitation exercise and understanding if further elicitation is required.
  • Understanding the context – take the time to understand the full context of the situation you are analysing, including the terms, acronyms and phrases that have a specific meaning to stakeholders. Consider keeping a glossary of terms and making sure it is validated by stakeholders to ensure language isn’t taken out-of-context.
  • Be self-aware – take the time to reflect on your own personal perspective and how it may influence your analysis. Where you are aware of a personal bias, consider finding and confiding in a colleague who can critique your approach to ensure it remains unbiased. Consider removing yourself from initiatives where you have a clear conflict of interest.


Bias is a risk to any business analysis initiative. However, with a little planning and self-awareness, any risk of bias can quite easily be mitigated or avoided.