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New Post 4/13/2011 3:14 AM
User is offline Andrew vdW
1 posts
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Difficult IT stakeholders 


I hope this forum can help me.

I’ve written a functional specification for an enhancement to the system across the full business horizontal – new procurement, new storage, maintenance, new products, and five distribution channels.

All the business stakeholders have signed-off the specification +/- 20 people, with the exception of four signatories from IT, who will program the solution.

IT has sent the spec back four times for what I regard as relatively minor changes. I get the impression that the individuals there are being obstructionist. It’s starting to cause serious delays on this project.

Does anyone else have any advice about how I can get an obstructionist IT team to change to work with us rather than against us?




New Post 4/14/2011 4:58 AM
User is offline Kimbo
450 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: Difficult IT stakeholders 

 Hi Andrew,

Perennial problem. Too late to exclude IT as approvers but perhaps think about who should be approvers of a business document (depends what functional spec means in your company) in the future. Anyway, that's no help to you now. 

I suggest as a first step, getting them in a room and trying to get them to agree and to sign off the document in the meeting. If that fails then get your PM to escalate it to the project steering committee to resolve.

Good luck. Let us know how you resolved it!


New Post 4/28/2011 11:38 PM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
4th Level Poster

Facilate a discussion 

 Yep - maybe even bring in some of the key business folk to discuss the matter face to face direct with the programmers.

New Post 7/8/2011 6:30 AM
User is offline Carl Oellermann
6 posts
10th Level Poster

Re: Difficult IT stakeholders 

Hi Andrew,

I sometimes get similar issues. IT stakeholder usually do not agree because it is not detail enough or requirement cannot be met. Best bet is to identitfy where the issues are, who the requirements owners are and then get the IT stakeholders together to facilitate discussion between the stakeholders with the objecttive to agree on requirements. If it is minor changes, I ussually agree with them that if they requested more details that are the requirements understood for sign off . Details always can be added at a later stage. As I always suspect, developers will always come with questions that need clarifications in a functional spec anyway. It is never in enough detail.


Hope this helps!


Carl O.

New Post 7/8/2011 2:43 PM
User is offline dldelancey
61 posts
8th Level Poster

Re: Difficult IT stakeholders 
Modified By dldelancey  on 7/8/2011 4:52:25 PM)

I think it depends on what the "relatively minor changes" are.  What seems minor to you may be major to them.  Also, does "IT" mean the CIO and other executives?  Or does it mean the developers and testers?  Regardless, an in-person dialog needs to happen now so that you can get to the bottom of it.

IT executives more times than not are on the same page as the business folk.  Developers and testers, on the other hand, are already thinking ahead to execution and implementation.  From their perspective, they are reviewing the spec of something they have to make work.  If it turns out they can't make it work, for whatever reason, they think they'll get blamed for failure because they signed off on your spec.  You need to provide for them EITHER the details they need OR assurances that this is not a contract committing them to deliver a product they don't know for sure yet how they'll actually implement.

Finally, I disagree that you should plan to exclude IT from this process in the future.  The earlier you involve them the better.  Then they know from the get-go what the objectives of your spec are and what the business is truly trying to accomplish.  They become active participants in the process rather than that group of people who get a project dropped in their laps and are told hey the business has already decided this is what they want so perform some magic and make it work.

(It probably shows that I'm a Business Analyst that reports to both IT and the business.)

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