The death of the stakeholder

Daniel Burm

Agile companies that want to create real ownership, have to say goodbye to traditional stakeholdership and embrace “joint company stakeholdership”. Remain to be an old-skool stakeholder in an agile environment and you will possibly act as a “stakekeeper” instead of a “stakesharer”, therefore withholding the company “staketakers” from focus on value and real ownership of results.

Many companies start their agile journey from within the IT-department. As teams advance on this journey, their sense of responsibility grows and the views on work tend to get more holistic. More emphasis will be put on doing the right things, right at the right time, all the time (thanks Edwin) for instance by putting more effort into alignment of the product owners within the company. These teams are the gems in your company and we can view them as real staketakers in your company

More focus on "the string of rights" generally brings a great deal of success but also a lot of stress to cope with. The stress comes from the fact, that if all capacity in our production system is focused on doing the "rights", that those "rights" might not always be the "rights" you are responsible and accountable for right now.

Dealing with the stress means stakeholders have to change their attitudes from viewing themselves as stakekeeper to stakesharer. Stakesharers put more value on the overall company results than the stakes they hold (semi) individually. This as opposed to stakekeepers. To facilitate "stakesharership" means, we have to scan our organizational context to see what elements are not aligned with the concept and to improve on them (e.g.; communication structures for dealt portfolio management, job descriptions, budget-management processes, leadership styles etc.)

Your focus on the string of rights increases if there are less stakekeepers around, as Burm’s formula for joint company stakeholdership shows us:

If there are also mature teams with enough sense of responsibility and involvement to become staketakers, chances are your increased focus on value and joint company stakeholdership are just around the corner.

Say goodbye to traditional stakeholdership. If you want to create real ownership in your agile company and maximize focus on value delivery, embrace the concept of joint company stakeholdership today!

PS: If you fill in Burm’s formula for your company right now, how would you score?

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