How to Identify Project Stakeholders?
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How to Identify Project Stakeholders?

Project stakeholders are individuals or groups with an interest in the project's outcome. Their impact, positive or negative, should be considered to improve the project's success.

Identifying and managing stakeholders is essential for the success of any project. Stakeholders can be individuals, groups, or organizations that have a vested interest in the outcomes of a project, whether they are internal or external to the sponsoring organization. Some examples of stakeholders include project managers, team members, customers, sponsors, vendors, government agencies, and community members.

The project manager is responsible for overseeing and ensuring the success of the project, as well as keeping all stakeholders informed of its progress and meeting their needs. Team members are responsible for completing project tasks and require regular updates from the project manager and communication with other stakeholders. Customers must be involved from the beginning to ensure that their needs are met. Sponsors provide funding and need to be kept informed of the project's progress to make decisions about its direction. Vendors need to be updated on progress and meet project deadlines. Government agencies may need to provide approvals or permits. Community members may be impacted by the project and should be informed and able to provide input.

Stakeholder analysis is necessary to identify individuals, groups, or organizations that may impact or be impacted by a project's decision, activity, or outcome. The project charter, procurement documents, environmental factors, and process assets are key inputs for this analysis. Stakeholders can be found at all levels of the project organization, including the project team and external parties. The project charter should identify key stakeholders such as project sponsors, customers, project team members, and participating groups and departments. Procurement documents can also provide valuable information on relevant parties, while environmental factors such as industry standards and organizational culture can dictate certain stakeholders.

To prioritize stakeholders and quantify their interests, expectations, and influence, it is important to analyze each stakeholder's role, department, interests, knowledge, expectations, and level of influence. This analysis should also consider the potential impact or support each stakeholder could generate and classify them accordingly. Tools such as the Power/Interest Grid, Influence/Impact Grid, and Salience Model can be used to record and prioritize stakeholders for a plan of influencing them.

Once stakeholders have been identified, analyzed, and documented, the project can move into the Organizing and Preparing phase of the Project Lifecycle. The Starting the Project phase is considered complete once all necessary approvals have been obtained, a project budget and cost center have been assigned, and all relevant documents have been filed for future reference. By managing project stakeholders effectively, project success is more likely.