Project Stakeholders: How Important Are They?

Project Stakeholders: How Important Are They?

Managing stakeholders is one of the most challenging tasks that project managers must undertake. It is about finding the perfect balance between different priorities, motivations, and expectations. Ignoring stakeholder management is a proven path to project failure. To gain support for a project, it is imperative to perform stakeholder analysis, regardless of whether it is for a business or an individual project. This article by Lucy Brown at Invensis Learning talks about the importance of stakeholders for a project.

Who Are Project Stakeholders?

Stakeholders are organizations, groups, or individuals that can affect or be affected by a project's decision, activity, or outcome. They may either directly participate in the project or have interests that project results may impact. The key participants typically include the project manager, the sponsor, the executive, or the customer. Therefore, it is essential and advisable to master stakeholder management skills and constantly communicate with stakeholders. Projects often experience conflicts among stakeholders that may interfere with the project deliverables and team goals. So, managers must treat every stakeholder uniquely based on their needs. Otherwise, they might feel left out, and the project may not be successful.

What Is Project Governance?

Project governance ensures that projects run smoothly on budget with timely deliveries and client satisfaction. It provides a framework to help project managers and sponsors make decisions that accommodate stakeholder needs and organizational objectives or take appropriate actions when the situation arises.

Various stakeholders are listed under internal (direct involvement) and external stakeholders (indirect involvement but are affected by the project's outcome).

The Importance of Stakeholders

  • Stakeholders have different levels of authority and duties, depending on project funding. This can range from occasional contributions to complete sponsorship.
  • Managers should ensure stakeholders engage and focus on achieving deliverables.
  • Identifying stakeholders throughout a project's lifecycle, evaluating their impact, and satisfying their needs, expectations, and demands are essential steps towards project success.
  • Stakeholders can perceive a project as having positive or negative results, just as they can affect objectives positively or negatively.

The author further describes types of stakeholders and their role in projects.

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