Stakeholder identification in Project Management
Stakeholder identification is an initial phase in project management. Stakeholders are individuals, groups, organizations who can affect or be affected by a project. They can be categorized as primary, secondary, internal, external, junior, senior etc. Stakeholders oftenly influence projects with their expectations and needs.
There can be many stakeholders depending on the type, scope and complexity of the project. Stakeholders should be identified and managed in order to satisfy their requirements in a project. In this article we will review the stakeholder identification process and tools used for this purpose.
What is a Stakeholder ?
According to PMBOK Guide “A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organization who may affect, be affected by or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project.”
As per the definition, stakeholders can be either an individual or a group. They have any kind of interest in your project or is affected by the project or its outcome.
Stakeholders can be:
• The Project Managemen Team, The Project Manager, The Project Coordinator
• The Customers
• Material Suppliers, Vendors
- National Authorities
- Local Communities
- Business Groups
- Non-governmental organizations (NGO’s)
Importance of Stakeholder Identification
Projects that come to a successful end most oftenly achieved with fulfilling the requirements of stakeholders. Stakeholder’s participation and expectations are not the same within a project. Also their degree of involvement and influence are different. For that reason it is very important to identify, classify and manage stakeholders for a successful end.
Stakeholder identification is a process of determining who your project’s stakeholders are and what can be their effects on your project. It is critical to identify the stakeholders in the early phases of a project and manage them throughout the entire project’s life cycle. Stakeholder identification is a perpetual process because as the project progressses new stakeholders arise and some of the stakeholders may disappear. There are many useful tools and techniques that can be used for stakeholder identification.
Below steps may be helpful for identifying stakeholders.
Review the Project Documents
Project documents may provide valuable information for identifying stakeholders. Reviewing contract documents, project charter, organizational process assets and documents of the past projects can be helpful. Historical stakeholder registers related to your project or region can provide you invaluable information that helps you to save time.
• The contract document provides the names of parties, public enterprises, agents etc. Also it will be helpful to determine the suppliers, vendors, organizations.
• The project charter can be used to get the names of your projects sponsor, the names of your top management and related people.
• Organizational process assets include information about your company’s past projects and stakeholders.
• Government regulations and industry standards may also provide some stakeholder information.
- National authorities related with your project are your project’s key stakeholders.
- Social impact assesment studies and environmental monitoring reports may provide stakeholder information.
Brainstorm With Your Project Team
Brainstorming is another method to identify the stakeholders. Conducting a brainstorming session with your project team provides different point of views.
During a brainstorming session, try to answers to the following questions:
• Who are actively involved with the project?
• Whose interests are affected by the work performed ?
• Who has a fundamental impact on the organization’s performance?
• Who can play an important role in the projects success or fail?
• Who is the end user of the product ?
• Who are the competitors?
• Who are the shareholders?
- Who are affected directly and/or indirectly by the project?
- Who may affect directly and/or indirectly the project ?
- Who are the vendors ?
- Who are the local communities ?
Brainstorming helps the project team members to be aware of the potential project stakeholders. Organizing a set of brainstorming sessions will be helpful for stakeholder identification and classification.
Identification of stakeholder representatives and communicate with them may provide a large number of stakeholder information. Stakeholder representatives may be elected representatives, traditional representatives, politicians, leaders, religious leaders etc.
Establishing good communication channels with governmental authorities and keep them informed of the project’s progress may provide their support. Especially local governmantal authorities support can be critical for your project’s success because they may have close relationships with your stakeholder representatives.
It is not possible to communicate with all the project’s stakeholders. By communicating with highly influential stakeholders and experts you can gain a lot of information about the stakeholders.
Stakeholder register is an important project document which includes the information related with the project’s stakeholders. Stakeholder register is created together with the identification of stakeholders. Typically a stakeholder register may include below information;
– Contact Information
– Role on Project
In a project all the stakeholders do not have the same effect or influence and they are not effected in the same way. In addition to that all the stakeholders do not have the same benefit from the project. Stakeholders should be identified in the early phases of the projects and managed throughout the project’s life cycle.
Stakeholder identification process starts at the beginning of the project and ends at the end of the project. A stakeholder register which records all the information of stakeholders, should be prepared and updated frequently. Identification of stakeholders and determination of their expectations, requirements, interests are important processes for successfull project management. It should not be forgotten that stakeholders and their interests may change over time.