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When managing a project, no matter how big or small, one of the most essential parts of the planning process is the identification of the relevant project management stakeholders and the listing of all individuals and groups involved at each step in the life cycle of a project.

Defining project management stakeholders

When it comes to defining who those stakeholders are, the mind usually goes to the people who will make use of the provided services or product of a project. Though this might seem to paint a reasonably full picture, the end users actually comprise just a small fraction of the bigger image, just a few trees on the margins of the forest.

According to the PMI (Project Management Institute) the term refers to “an individual, group or organization that is actively involved in the project, anyone who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, product or any type of outcome of the project”. In simpler words, anyone that has an interest in the project or is affected by its outcomes or whose input can impact the outcome.

Types of stakeholders

There are several types of project stakeholders and they can be grouped into two categories: Internal and External

Internal Stakeholders are those directly involved in the work of the project, such as:

  • A project manager – the person responsible for managing the project
  • A project team – the group of people that is performing the work of the project. They usually perform under the project manager’s leadership
  • An organization – the enterprise whose employees are directly involved in the work of the project
  • A sponsor – the financier, an executive in the organization with the authority to assign resources and enforce decisions regarding the project and provide the financial resources for the completion of the project.
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External Stakeholders are linked indirectly to the project, though their contribution can be essential to its completion such as:

  • Costumers/Users – this includes the individuals or the organization that will make use of the project’s product or outcome
  • A supplier – a person or establishment that provides any type of supply essential to the completion of the project, such as equipment, goods or services needed for the execution and success of the project
  • A subcontractor – an entity which renders services or provides necessary materials for the performance of the project whose affiliation to the project is through a contract
  • The government – which authorizes the realization of the project or might be and end-of-line consumer of the product or service
  • Local community – the people of the community where the project was performed or are in any way impacted by it
  • Individual citizens – people that make use of the outcome or product of the project or are affected by it

 

To ensure the success of the project you should identify the project stakeholders at the earliest stage of the project, noting down their characteristics and requirements, in order to create a strategy and manage them. Stakeholders are those impacted by the project or have any kind of interest in it and in order to ensure the smooth operation and success of the project, one has to manage all of them carefully and fulfill their expectations.