Identifying Project Stakeholders

Effective project management requires detailed stakeholder identification to be performed. This includes internal and external individuals or groups, such as business executives, leadership teams, SMEs, team members, departments, end users, vendors, customers, partners, and regulators.

In a previous post, we covered the essential element, create a project charter. A charter should identify key project stakeholders, but this is only on the high level, so let’s dive more deeply into what it takes to effectively identify all of your stakeholders.

Who Are Stakeholders?

Stakeholders are people and organizations who:

  • Are involved in or impacted by the project or product
  • Can positively or negatively impact the project or product

It is important to identify anyone who can affect, or be affected by, the project or the product.

Anyone who has any interest in the project, including those who might be opposed to the project or portions of it, are also stakeholders.

To help you identify more people, ask them: “Who do you think are the stakeholders?” You don’t want to miss any.

Also, when identifying individuals and teams, the project manager must elicit, document, and evaluate stakeholders’ product, project, and project management requirements and expectations. These have to be evaluated against the charter and project management plan to make sure the project stays within scope, builds the needed solution, and delivers to the business need.

Learn to Work with Stakeholders Successfully

Successful project managers identify and properly involve key groups and individuals in the project planning process, and continually engage those stakeholders throughout the project as well.

Good project managers also understand their stakeholders’ requirements, expectations, influence, and impact, and use that analysis and planning to engage them throughout the project.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about working with stakeholders? RMC offers a two-day course, Collaborating with Stakeholders for Better Results. This course teaches you how to use project management tools (such as the project charter and statement of work) to identify gaps in expectations and requirements, and how to propose modifications.  RMC’s PM Crash eLearning course teaches you the fundamentals of project management in a digestible 8 hour class.

Balancing the science and art of project management requires that project managers know how to collaborate with key individuals and groups and meet their expectations. Contact us for more information about our collaborating with stakeholders class.