IAF Methods

Business Context Diagram OD3

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The participants will create a drawing of the business context within which the project will be undertaken. The drawing will include key high level stakeholders and a high level description of resources ( money and personnel), and develop an understanding of the way stakeholders influence the project and the resources.

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The Business Context Diagram is part of an opportunity development process to determine if there is a shared understanding around the business context for a project.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • Marker and one flipchart per team.
  • Sample Business Context Diagram



Types of participants: There needs to be a mix of all the disciplines required to implement the project.

Pre-Work Required: An example of a Business Context Diagram should be prepared (see attached file for an example). A thorough understanding of the Business Context Diagram and its purpose by the facilitator is needed.  

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: Two facilitators are often used to this series of workshops: one a content expert/project SME along with a process facilitator.



1. Welcome the group.
2. Describe the Business Context Diagram, the proposed project and the intent of the exercise. Describe the more detailed work -- i.e. mapping stakeholders -- that will follow this work.

3. Walk through a completed Business Context diagram to provide instructions.


1. We will split into three groups. Each group will produce a Business Context Diagram. We will then compare them, and create a single diagram.

2. Divide the group into two or three teams. Try to have a balance of disciplines in each of the teams. Either use separate breakout rooms or arrange the flipcharts so that the teams cannot see each other's diagrams. Give them 30 minutes to create their diagram unless it is particularly complex.

3. When the teams are ready, have each of them report on their diagram.

4. Then conduct a plenary: What are similarities between the diagrams? What are differences in the diagrams? Which stakeholders should we should keep in the final diagram? What currency flows/budget should we keep? What about personnel?

9. Check to see if there are differences in opinion about Power to Influence, Power to Control and Power to Stop. 

Usual or Expected Outcomes: Agreement about the major stakeholders and their relative influence on the project, cash flows and personnel movements.

How success is evaluated: The diagram is complete and agreed upon by the participants.


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