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3 August 2008

Developers as stakeholders

Assumptions... 


This came up in a conversation today;  Are programmers/developers stakeholders to the project?  And of so, do they have a voice inthe requirements?



My view?



Yes developers are stakeholders.  Their personal reputations and future job opportunities are related to the quality of the project.  So yes, they should have a voice in requirements definition.



Even if they weren't stakeholders their opinion matters.



Some requirements managers take a view that the full requirements set should be deliverred to the solutions team (ie the developers, or a solution design team) and it's up to them to work out what can and can't be done within the constraints of the project.



That leads to two problems that I can think of off the top of my head;

  1. Developers can do anything given the time (they truly are magicians) - so the answer to "Can we do it?" is always yes and the cost aren't properly addressed, and

  2. Requirements prioritisation is not mapped to do-ability.  So hard, high risk requirements are addressed first because the client wants them, even though they may derail the whole development process.

But developers are stakeholders, so Analysts MUST discuss the business requirements with them up front and fctor in their views into the product vision.