What is a stakeholder and what you need to know about stakeholders?

In the world of business, projects constantly occur. Companies operate projects of all sizes and types with large companies often running projects concurrently. And one of the key components of any project is a stakeholder. They can best be described in the way they relate to the project in which they are involved.

A stakeholder can be:

• The source of funding of the project
• Someone with a hands-on involvement with the project
• Someone who has an investment in the project
• Someone who could benefit depending on the outcome of the project
• Someone who is accountable in some way for the project’s outcome

As you can see this covers a wide range of definitions. Some stakeholders are seriously committed while others may have less of an investment. But regardless of their input, each is still a stakeholder. And as a stakeholder, each believes and can lay claim to having their say in the running of the project.

So every project team needs to be well aware of who is a stakeholder in their project and how they relate to it. Knowing a great deal about every stakeholder and their involvement and/or duties is vital for the project manager. Knowledge is power and never more so in this situation.

There are many aspects to the relationship between a project manager and a stakeholder and here are several.

• Make sure you know each other’s expectations
• Make sure you know each stakeholder well
• Make sure you know their possible benefits
• Make sure you agree on channels of communication
• Make sure you know their priorities
• Make sure you know their politics

You will have your expectations for the project and the stakeholder will have their own expectations. If they differ it could mean trouble down the line. Discover what the stakeholder expects from the project before things begin.

The better you know each stakeholder, the better your chance of managing a successful project. Names as well as titles are important. Regular meetings will keep both of you in the loop.

What will the stakeholder gain from a successful project? Is there a career benefit for them? Knowing what they have to gain or lose can better help you understand where they are coming from.

You must agree on how you will keep in touch. An agreed method of communication before you begin work is essential. Once the method of communication is selected, stick to it.

You need to be sure about your stakeholder’s priorities for the project. If their list has different items or if you have the same items but in a different order, trouble looms ahead.

Do you know the politics of the stakeholder? Do you know what they stand to gain if the project is a winner? Knowing where your stakeholder stands should the project fail is equally important. This is a joint effort. You rely on your stakeholder. Get to know them well and plan to use their expertise for the good of the whole shooting match.

Leave a comment below and let us know how do you make sure you know your stakeholders?


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  2 comments for “What is a stakeholder and what you need to know about stakeholders?

  1. Pingback: What is a project?

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