PMI 5 – Project Stakeholders

This is the fifth post in a series where I will write down what I learned about project management.

The project stakeholders are any individual or organization actively involved in the project or whose interest may be affected. They usually exert influence over the project’s objectives, that can be positive or negative (for example, groups which see a harm on the project’s outcomes).

It’s very important for the project manager to identify them, determine their expectations and accordingly manage their influence. This could be quite difficult as they may have different or conflicting objectives.

The key stakeholders are:

Customer / User: Who will use the project’s products.

Sponsor: who provides the financial resources and is interested into the business outcomes.

Project organization: who is directly involved into the project as the project manager, the team members, the PMO and the other organizations of the enterprise that may influence or collaborate to the project.

Influencers: who is not directly related to the use of the product but can influence, positively or negatively, the course of the project.

For example, a company decides to redesign its main product (a web application) to make it more social and engaging.
The sponsor could be the product manager, which has a list of wished features bringing more money. The software architects may instead emphasize technical excellence and new technologies, the contractors may be most interested in maximizing their profit, the users may want to have an easier to use product, the engineering director may desire low costs and the operational department may wish to have a systeam easy to maintain and with less live issues.
Finally, if the new  system of the product allowing user to leave comments is not checking for the negative, racistic or injurious some external organizations could complain and take actions against the company.

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