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TL;DR

What is a "Business engagement framework"? Are there similarities between this and a stakeholder engagement plan?

Background

  • I've been asked to put a proposal forward a business analyst that will create a "business engagement framework" as part of a (vague) RFQ (Request for quotation).

  • The brief reads as below. It's the bolded bits I'm uncertain about...are they asking for methodology to generate stakeholder engagement plans? Or a similar methodology to engage business units? Has anyone heard of the term "engagement framework" in the context of the below?

  • Lead workshops and engagements with business stakeholders to elicit, capture, document and re-engineer business processes, requirements, rules and acceptance criteria
  • Ability to create an engagement framework, business process maps, and governance documentation
  • Act as the conduit between business and technical teams to delivery outcomes
  • Proven ability to create productive working relationships
  • Proven ability to analyse, aggregate and conceptualise discrete business requirements into enterprise level capability requirements to inform strategic direction
  • Undertake interpretation and translation of business requirements into viable business solutions aligning with enterprise architecture
  • Experience with TOGAF or equivalent business capability models

What I've tried

  • Running it by colleagues (I work in a consulting company)

  • Search terms re business engagement frameworks. I've found this document, but wonder if it's going to lead me astray. I really need to know if "Business engagement framework" is a thing and what that thing is!

3 Answers 3

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TL;DR

I've been asked to put a proposal forward a business analyst that will create a "business engagement framework" as part of a (vague) RFQ (Request for [Q]uotation).

You're tying yourself in knots over something that isn't even mentioned as a singular phrase in the material you shared. The specific phrase business engagement framework is never actually used; instead, you've conflated their request for an engagement framework that interfaces with business stakeholders and their organization's governance (whatever form that may take) into a neologism. Don't do that.

Communications Plans and Engagement Management

All engagements require some sort of management process. All projects require a communications plan. All they're really asking is whether you can document your process, and integrate some process maps and governance documents into that engagement plan.

The other highlighted bullet is just asking if you're capable of consolidating and presenting your requirements at the strategic level. That's generally code for:

Can you blend all the conflicting departmental and business unit requirements into a comprehensive set of integrated, enterprise-level requirements along with PKIs/OKRs that can be effectively communicated to executive leadership for decision-making?

Again, this is just standard project initiation and communications management stuff. They're just being explicit about the fact that they need you to articulate how you would do that, as it seems likely they either lack a defined process for that or aren't able to implement it themselves for any number of political, organizational, or interpersonal reasons.

In other words, think of the bullets as things to be explicit about. Based on the posted text, they're not actually asking for anything that isn't standard operating procedure for a consulting engagement or project initiation. They're just being really blunt about the details, which is (likely) a red flag that this is where they've had issues before, and they want you to address it head-on in your RFQ.

Pro Tip on Red-Flag Bullets

You may want to address engagement plans, communications plans, governance, and other customer-bulleted line items in such a way that your RFQ is not only responsive towards their concerns, but also in a way that protects your company within the engagement. That often means spelling out scoping assumptions about those bullet points, and articulating any associated change management policies or processes.

In particular, if they're already signalling that there isn't internal alignment on the project's requirements, then you should:

  1. Document the assumption that all solicited requirements can be reconciled by a third party (meaning your company) without the involvement of their executive leadership team.
  2. Note that changes in process, governance, requirements, executive priorities or decision-making, et al. may trigger a change management process and a review of the scope, assumptions, timeline, and costs associated with the project.

This shouldn't be different than what you're already doing, but when there's a bright red flag involved then you need to take extra care not to run afoul of whatever danger signals the client is clearly sending you. Ignoring signs that say "Danger! Bridge out ahead!" is never a good idea, and that's something I would read into various bullets you've presented. Plan accordingly.

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I think Occam's Razor applies here. I think it would be unwise to try to find a different meaning for "business engagement" than how we, in the consulting world, define stakeholder engagement. The bulleted statements are consistent with stakeholder engagement principles.

I would define what they mean by "engagement framework" as nothing more than methods and techniques to maximize participation, input, and effort and to minimize resistance, risks, and costs.

The most simplest, logical interpretation should prevail here.

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    I upvoted this as a concise and likely accurate answer, but also posted my own because I think there's an X/Y in the question and some meta-communication from the client that needs to be addressed too.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Jan 19, 2023 at 21:39
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TL;DR

Don't get stuck on the wording. Consider the stakeholder engagement and business engagement as synonyms. Plan for stakeholder engagement - as business analysts do - and then the framework will just be a supporting structure for this.

Business engagement is a limited view of stakeholder engagement. It's usual talk for those who see product development as organized into "the business" people on one side, and the development (or implementation, or execution) team on the other. Looking at your user profile, it would be IT vs "the business".

Business people are the ones that define the product, decide on the vision and direction, make all the business decisions basically, while IT is just building it as instructed. You can see this in the following statement you posted:

Act as the conduit between business and technical teams to delivery outcomes

A business analyst in this kind of setup sits between IT and "the business" to bridge the gap of communication that tends to occur between the two parties (see the Business-IT divide for example). A project manager is similar in this regard, although their skills cover a different aspect of the product development. A Scrum Master or Product Owner might play a similar role for broken Agile implementations where you still have "the business" and the development team, as opposed to one product team.

So from this regard, you could say that the business analyst manages the business engagement.

But like I said, this is a limited view, because "the business" people are just one type of stakeholders. If you only focus on business engagement, you can potentialy lose track of other stakeholders. Not a good thing!

So business analysts need to plan for stakeholder engagement. And then the framework is just a supporting structure for this plan (together with tools, techniques, processes, etc.).

I wouldn't get stuck on the wording here. Consider the stakeholder engagement and business engagement as synonyms, but always keep the broader view in mind.

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    I think your last two paragraphs are very much on target. Not to detract from the rest of the post, but I think you might benefit from hoisting those two paragraphs into a summary at the top, with the rest as supporting info. --Feel free to ignore this advice if it seems like bike-shedding. I think the main point should be emphasized rather than left as a conclusion. Just my $0.02, though.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Jan 19, 2023 at 21:42

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