What do you mean by project stakeholder?
A group of entities that have an interest in a project is called a project stakeholder. These entities could be a group of people who may belong from within the organization or perhaps outside. For example, members of a project team could be typical project stakeholders. This could comprise of project managers, resource allocators, the end customers for whom the project is solely intended for, and company executives could be examples of being important stakeholders in a project.
These entities or bodies have a say in these projects which is coined as interest. A project may be affected to a large extent because of their positive or negative influence on the completion of a project. Project stakeholders are particularly careful in involving themselves right from the beginning of the project to its’ launch so as to not hamper their own interests and suit their choices and perspectives.
Project stakeholders have a key role to play
- They may help raise or contribute funds for a project or may sponsor it themselves
- They have a very strong interest or profit (gain) upon a successful project completion
- Might have a negative or a positive input on the outcome of the project completion process
Let us look at some of the major project stakeholders
- Customers: They are basically the users of the product or service that the organization is offering, which may include internal or external customers. Since they are the clients who have invested heavily in the project, the timely launch of the project would help them increase their revenues from their business services, operations, and offerings to avoid the consequential cause.
- Executives of the company: These executives are responsible for the timely completion of the project without missing the deadline. The timely launch of a project saves on avoiding time overrun, cost overrun, and other factors like keeping the inventory idle. Proper manning of human labor is well-planned and executed in advance so as to carry out the project effectively.
- Project Manager: is the project leader who handles and leads the entire team, managing people, resources, budgets, and finances
- The team members: who actually work on the project under the leadership of the project manager
- Resource level managers: who at all times monitor and control the different kinds of resources that would be needed during the development stages of the project
- Sponsor: the one who invests in capital to launch the project and takes it up as a contract
How do we approach project stakeholders?
Ensuring that your stakeholder is heard and their needs are met, helps make your job much easier in the long run.
- Identification of the potential stakeholders: The first step to being taken before signing up a promising project is to find out and make a list of the stakeholders. Figuring out what motivates them is crucial to serving their best interests.
- Listening to what they would like to say: Communication channels are to be kept wide open so as to not miss out on minute details. Understanding their objectives can only be possible by listening to them in person by practicing open communication. Efforts are to be made to understand their points and perspectives. We need to keep in mind that this point covers all those people (who are stakeholders) that each one of them might have a different temperament, tone, talents, and interests.
- Meeting them face to face: Timely meetings should be set up to meet your stakeholders more often so as to avoid conflict later on during the end of project completion. Negotiations could be cut off by a large percentage when face to face meetings are routinely conducted.
- Understanding what they want: Is it the budget that is too much of a concern for them or the raw materials and resources to be provided to the manpower? Understanding what is going on in the minds of the stakeholders paves the way for a hassle-free execution and launch of a project. This is a win-win situation for both the client and the company.
Stakeholders can be put into three different categories
- Primary stakeholders: Customers and users majorly fall into this category. They are the direct beneficiaries of the project. They are the primary stakeholders as they are affected directly by the project.
- Secondary stakeholders: These stakeholders are the ones who are indirectly affected but whose perspectives and motivation still count to a large extent when it comes to taking up the project. These are usually the teams providing support to the project, supervising and monitoring at the same time.
- Key Stakeholders: Top notch executives of the company fall into this group. Their inputs have a strong influence and they have vested their interests into it.
Stakeholders can be further put in subcategories through a more simplified representation
- High-power and high interest: It is extremely important to engage with this category of stakeholders as they show much interest in your work and has a powerful position to help you succeed.
- High-power and low interest: These stakeholders do not have much involvement in the work but do hold a powerful position. They are to be kept satisfied by telling them how your work can positively affect the project. Their ideas, insights, and interests are to be won over so as to establish relationships based on trust and mutual care.
- Low–power and high interest: These are the stakeholders who have a lot of passion for the project but could barely do much for the project. One needs to keep them in the pipeline and engage them with any major development in the project. Also, these stakeholders are always keen to help the project teams out, so it isn’t a bad idea to shake hands with them.
- Low power and low interest: They are the potential detractors who have very little interest in knowing what is going on in the project. Also, they are not at all affected by the work and take up minimal of your time and attention.
This has been a guide to Project stakeholders. Here we have discussed the basic concept, key role, categories and sub-categories of the project stakeholders. You may also look at the following article to learn more –
- Project Stakeholders Management
- Phases of Project Management
- Importance of Project Managers
- Project Management Methodology