What is a Project Stakeholder?

Project Stakeholder

A project stakeholder is anyone or any entity that plays a significant role in the project, could influence its outcomes, or might be impacted by its results. This includes individuals, organizations, or groups with a vested interest in the project's success or failure. In essence, stakeholders are those who stand to benefit or lose from the project's performance.

Types of Project Stakeholders

Project stakeholders are broadly categorized into two groups based on their affiliation with the organization: internal and external stakeholders.

Internal stakeholders

These stakeholders are part of the organization or business carrying out the project. They are typically engaged in identifying project risks and are actively involved throughout its lifecycle. Such stakeholders include team members who are well-versed in the company's operations, clientele, and strategic goals, often occupying leadership roles. Common internal stakeholders encountered by project managers include:

  • Project sponsors
  • Investors
  • The project manager and team members

External stakeholders

External stakeholders, conversely, are not part of the organization. They are individuals or groups outside the company, such as customers or end-users, whose interests the project aims to serve or impact. Managing communications with these stakeholders, while safeguarding sensitive information, is crucial. The project manager's role involves understanding and meeting the diverse expectations of these influential figures, providing transparency, and maintaining informed communication.

Identifying and engaging stakeholders is a fundamental aspect of stakeholder management, requiring clear communication of the project scope and diligent management of expectations and demands from all sides.

Common external stakeholders include:

  • Vendors
  • Suppliers
  • Customers
  • Subcontractors

Identifying stakeholders early in the project and effectively managing their expectations is vital for a project manager. This includes not just those directly involved in project planning and execution but also those who support the project team and are interested in its progress and outcomes.

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