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Defining Project Stakeholders

Every project has stakeholders. Stakeholders are people who have an interest in the successful completion of the project. There are many different types of stakeholders, and the stakeholders vary by project. But the important thing to remember is that the stakeholders should have some part in defining the project objectives, since they are the people who will be affected by the outcome. When defining project stakeholders, the project manager and members of her or his team should carefully think through who will be the end users of the product, whether it be services or goods, and whether the product will have a positive effect, and how it is likely to be received.

Stakeholders come in many different guises, and, depending on your project, any or all of the following may be included among your stakeholders. Using project management software can help you organize stakeholder information and project objectives, and help you track your progress against desired stakeholder outcomes.

Customers/clients. These are people who will be using the goods or services that result from the project. Whether the project involves and actual product, or whether it is a project like integrating the systems of two banks that just completed a merger, the customers will be affected by how the project ends. It is important, if doing work that will end in the hands of a client or an end consumer, to think about whether the result will be user friendly, and the customer or client will approve the end result.

Sponsors. Sponsors are people who request the project. They fund the project management and all other aspects of the project. They are interested in the project because it will have some benefit for them. Sponsors of research projects often hope that the findings will benefit them in some way or that they will gain valuable information.

The company. A successful project completed may boost the image of the company, allowing it to benefit. Additionally, like sponsors, the company that takes on the project does not wan to waste money and time. Fulfilling the project objectives is very important, as it prevents waste, and it helps the company look good.

Team members and the project manager. Those who actually work on the project can be considered stakeholders. After all, if the project falls to pieces, it is the project manager who is in trouble. If a team member does not do a good job, it is reflected in his or her performance review and can result in unpleasant consequences. However, if the team does a good job, they look good, and may be asked to take on more important responsibilities or be rewarded in some other way.

When embarking on a new project, it is important to know who the stakeholders are and to get some input from them. This will help guide the project in a way that is beneficial to more people. It is not until most of the stakeholders voice their approval that one can really consider the project a success.

Article by Remedysoft, Inc.
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