A project cannot be carried out by a single individual. Irrespective of the size of the project, several individuals and organizations are involved in performing project-related tasks. Such individuals and organizations are defined as stakeholders. To accomplish the goals and objectives of a given project, project managers should understand their relationship with stakeholders. Therefore, identifying project stakeholders is an important aspect of project management.
Who is a Stakeholder?
A stakeholder can be defined as any individual or organization who are directly involved with a given project. In addition, a stakeholder can also be defined as a person whose interests can positively or negatively impact the project. As a result, there are different types of stakeholders who can be involved in a specific project. Also, these stakeholders keep varying for different kinds of projects.
Project Managers collaborate with project stakeholders to take the project from its initiation to completion. Since there are several types of project stakeholders with varying levels of interest in the project, identifying project stakeholders should be approached from the start of the project. This process of identifying stakeholders in project management is crucial to understanding the involvement of each project stakeholder.
Usually, the identify stakeholders process is the first step and the project stakeholders are mentioned in the project charter or any other project planning document. This document will have the full list of the stakeholders of the project on it, at the start of the project. This will also include some stakeholders that get involved in the project at later stages of the project life cycle. As a project manager, it will be your responsibility to predict these project stakeholders and outline their involvement in the project before their actual involvement.
Who are the Different Types of Stakeholders?
Generally, stakeholders can be defined as internal stakeholders and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders are individuals who are directly involved in carrying out project activities and are generally present within the organization. External stakeholders comprise individuals who operate outside the organization. However, internal and external stakeholders can be further classified into separate categories.
Types of Internal Stakeholders
- Project Manager
A project manager is an individual who accepts to develop the project taken up by the organization. He/She would be responsible for picking the project team members who can carry out project-related tasks efficiently. Project manager’s role will be as a team leader while performing any given project for the organization. Also, without the guidance of a project manager/team leader, a project team cannot develop the deliverables.
- Project Team
The project team is responsible for developing the project and delivering intended outcomes. It consists of several individuals who possess specialized skillset. Every team member has to coordinate with other team members while carrying out a project. In addition, project team members should report to the project manager in case of project-related issues.
PMOs or Project Management Offices are instilled with large organizations. Such offices define and maintain the standard for managing projects. PMOs indulge in specifying the policies, practices, and procedures for the effective management of projects.
Management refers to the higher authorities present within the organization. Higher authorities oversee the progress of the project at regular intervals. In addition, without the approval of higher authorities, a project cannot be executed by the project manager. Every project related decision should communicated with the higher authorities by the project manager.
Types of External Stakeholders
Suppliers can be individuals or organizations that provide resources for a given project. Every project requires certain inputs in the form of raw materials, IT services, spare parts, and so on. Therefore, suppliers become external stakeholders for supplying resources whilst operating outside the organization. In addition, without suppliers, a project will not have the necessary inputs for delivering desired outcomes.
Customers can be a single individual or an entire organization who proposes the project. A project is built entirely upon the customer’s needs and requirements. As a result, customers are capable of directly affecting the success rate of the project. Unless a customer is content with the outcomes of the project, project success cannot be determined.
- End Users
End users are individuals who ultimately use the end results of the project. Such individuals act as beneficiaries of the project outcomes. A project’s success depends on the satisfaction level of end users. If the intended outcomes of the project do not meet the needs of end users, a project becomes a failure.
- Regulatory Bodies
Regulatory bodies indirectly affect the outcomes of the project. A project manager should follow all the regulations while developing the project. Not conforming to the regulations applicable for the project leads to project failure. In turn, an organization that does not follow the regulations loses its fame in the industry.
- Governing bodies
Governing bodies are also known as project sponsors. A project sponsor is responsible for governing the management, project team, and other stakeholders. Without a project sponsor, a project cannot exist. In addition, project sponsors can be within the organization or outside the organization. Such individuals oversee the development of the project and its deliverables from the planning stage to the closure stage.
Apart from the common stakeholders and their roles mentioned above, there can be other stakeholders as per project needs. Project Management Professionals (PMPs) must play a leading role in identifying project stakeholders and managing their relationships with every stakeholder. Every type of stakeholder plays a critical role in the success of the project. As a result, project professionals indulge in developing different strategies for each kind of stakeholder. By identifying stakeholders in project management, organizations can become more productive and deliver projects more consistently.
Professionals willing to master the techniques of supporting various stakeholders and identifying project stakeholders can enroll in PMP Certification Course. The PMP Certification is designed to assist project professionals in gathering advanced skills of project management. Taking up the certification enables individuals to gain knowledge of Project Management as a whole along with industry-standard practices. This PMP Training will help aspiring project managers to understand the roles and responsibilities of each project stakeholder and help them in the identify stakeholders process. Thus, helping organizations gain a competitive edge over the rest of their competition and reach long-term project management success.