Stakeholders Is a very broad category of people, and it includes everyone involved and negatively or positively affected by the project.
It can include users, consumers, departments, groups, managers, organizations, unions, companies, and even communities.
Proper identification of stakeholders early in the project is essential to its success.
This identification should also involve the stakeholder’s interest, influence, expectations, and requirements because the ultimate success or failure of the project rests in how well the stakeholders accept the project’s product, service, or result, and how well the project manager engages the stakeholders in the project.
Stakeholders are sometimes subcategorized into other groups, such as:
- Key Stakeholders: Those who have significant decision-making involvement in the project, or with the activity taking place. Customers are key stakeholders.
- Primary Stakeholders: Those who are directly impacted by the project’s objective or through one or more of its deliverables.
- Secondary Stakeholders: Those who are only indirectly affected by the project’s objective or through one or more of its deliverables.
Reasons to engage stakeholders in the project processes are:
Their objectives, goals, and needs must be heard.
This ensures that key functionality, deliverables, and expectations are included in the project.
Failure to perform this can result in scope creep as needs or requirements are found out only later in the project.
The project manager needs to determine what reservations might be voiced.
Their objections may provide opportunities for alternative approaches. If not given a chance to voice their opinions, negative stakeholders may later raise sufficient political obstacles that can cause the project to lose support.
When given a chance to participate, stakeholders are more likely to feel they have an ownership stake in the project’s objectives and that helps facilitate buy-in.
Stakeholders may identify risk factors that would otherwise have not been discovered until later.
Early involvement allows the project manager to determine their expectations about project communications.
Some stakeholders may prefer to receive regular and detailed updates while others may only want occasional overviews.