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Analyze stakeholders and goals

In addition to customers and users, stakeholders are also persons or groups that can influence your project or have an interest in it. Therefore, it’s important to know all relevant stakeholders and to involve them as early as possible in the project.

Before you can identify requirements, you need to understand the goals of all stakeholders and what they expect from the system. There may be conflicts among stakeholder goals. These need to be resolves before you can derive requirements from the goals. 

In addition to goals and stakeholders, the system context is another important component of requirements engineering. Apart from stakeholders and goals, the system context shows you what is relevant for development and what is not part of the system environment.


System context

The system context can include stakeholders and stakeholder groups, i.e. persons and groups – or rather actors – who interact with the planned system. However, other technical systems, devices, processes, events, documents and special norms, standards and legal regulations can also be found in the system context. By defining the system boundaries, you determine which functions the system itself should offer and which interfaces to external systems are required.

You can display the system context using system context diagrams.

If the system context is known, you can determine stakeholders.


Stakeholders are also people who have influence on a project. Typical stakeholders are, for example, suppliers, customers or authorities who are categorized and evaluated with regard to their goals and influences.

In goal diagrams, you as the project manager can establish relationships between stakeholders and graphically depict which goals individual stakeholders have, how important the goals are for them and how the stakeholders relate to each other. The focus here is not on making things right for all stakeholders, but on becoming aware of the values, influences and interests of the individual stakeholders.

If the stakeholders are known, you can use them to determine goals.


Stakeholders pursue goals, but the overall goal is the business goal. Define the business goal or “vision” for the project and how each stakeholder will benefit. In goal diagrams, you can create and weight goals and relate them to each other. This helps you recognize conflicting goals and take measures to counteract these conflicts.

If the goals are known, you can derive requirements from them.